Three weeks ago, my Scottish comedian chum Janey Godley was on a Virgin train in the UK and heard an argument between a couple called Tim and Freya (their real names) which started even before the train had left the station and continued pretty much throughout the journey.
Knowing I am not an everyday Twitter follower, she tweeted me from the train carriage to take a look at her ongoing live commentary #traintales on the relationship disaster happening before her very eyes/ears. I was agog as the saga unfolded and I was not alone.
Janey got an enormous number of people following the soap opera as she Twitter reported it live and many re-Tweeted her tale to their own followers as it unfolded. That was three weeks ago.
Then, last Friday, the UK’s Guardian and the Independent newspapers both ran pieces about the saga and the thing went viral with people suddenly blogging and Tweeting about it and, between them, Janey’s blog and Tumblr and Storify got over one million hits between them in three days.
“I think it’s the first time a Twitter fight went viral,” Janey told me, “and I got lots of interest from the big agencies and news folk and it opened a debate about personal privacy because I had used the couple’s real names.
“I am planning to dramatise it into a 40 minute play and perform it for one night only at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. Anthony Alderson at the Pleasance venue wants to stage it. Ricky Wilson, the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs wanted to play Tim but can’t and comedian Alan Carr wants a cameo but probably won’t make it – he and I are still hoping he can, though.
“I want to do it as one night work in progress event and I know how to adapt the tweets into a dramatic stage play. My daughter Ashley Storrie will be the ticket collector who makes the asides which I made in my original tweets and there are other watchers and the audience will be invited to tweet throughout the play.
“It will be the first time a Twitter fight has been made into a play…”