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Interview with Clem Martini -Callum Hughes


Behind every notable piece of work, whether its literature, film, or design, there will always be a reason behind why the creator decided to make what they had. In essentially every situation, the most important question that should be answered first is why. Why, a single word, is what sparked the questions the interview. Why did the author write about this, and not that? Why did the author decide to have a certain theme in many of their pieces of work? The answers to these questions are what the interviewer had attempted to bring out.

Q1:  I believe it is safe to assume that your play, “The Colour of Coal”, can be seen as a metaphor for an individual dealing with certain troubles in their life. With this assumption, combined with your history at Wood Homes, it’s safe to believe that the home helped inspire your play. My question is to how your experience, and possible accounts from the youth, could have helped inspire you to write your play?

            What is the catalyst for a story or play that one writes? Sometimes you don’t know until years after you have written the story or play. Sometimes you think it was one thing, and then find out it was another. The creative impulse isn’t necessarily as clear or direct as you might imagine.

Q2: Your two pieces of work: “Illegal Entry”, and, “The Colour of Coal”, are both about looking deeper into oneself, in order to either accept one’s fate, or to find the will to survive. I’m curious as to why you chose to work with such philosophical ideas, especially when other authors will tend to steer clear from those topics?

            In the case of Illegal Entry I was inspired by the work I had done with young people at Woods Homes. The youngsters I met in the drama program I coordinated came from troubled backgrounds, certainly, but they were complex as well. They were often damaged and angry, often volatile, but they were also perceptive, and funny, and yearning for some kind of new and better outcome.  I wanted to capture some of that complexity in a play. In the case of The Colour of Coal, I had read about a tragic mining accident. An explosion had ignited in a coal mine, killing most of the workers who were underground at the time. They spent days trying to escape, and finally, only a few hundred yards from the exit and freedom, they encountered a pocket of poison gas and perished. That struggle seemed so sad, and yet so heroic to me. To strive against such impossible odds, and nearly succeed – it struck me as a story worth telling. I’m sure the struggle embedded in the play represents many things to me – perhaps it’s about the essential human condition. All I know is that these stories seemed important, and I wanted to share them with others.

 Q3: I’m inquiring as to whether you’ve changed as a person since your first piece of work.

            I have certainly changed over time. It’s difficult to offer an objective assessment, however.


            Through the author’s answers, we can see that the question why, plays just a huge part in not just their pieces, but also the pieces of ancient writers all the same. Behind every action, every thought, and every piece of work, there will always be reasoning behind it; whether it’s apparent, or not. With a combination of the questions, and the respectful answers, one can get a better image as to why the author wrote the pieces he had.

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