Lucy Foster's new play Lobster opens this week at Theatre503, here she talks about the play and writing comedy.
Tell us about Lobster - no spoilers please
Lobster opens at a party in January, where a bubbly and bright J is introduced to a hungover K. The only problem being: these two only just broke up a few months before. As J and K run through their relationship we see the love and heartbreak of these two women, who are trying so hard to love each other - and realising that love isn't always enough.
I imagine that writing comedy is no joke - just how challenging is it?
For years I didn't touch comedy as it really scared me. I think when you're sat alone at your laptop it's so hard to know if something is actually funny. It's only been in the last few years that I have started putting humour into my work, and realising - oh, this works! I often find that the funniest lines come straight from real life - in the same way that you'll laugh the hardest with your friends, the best comedy is completely relatable.
What I've found to be the most important thing about writing comedy into my plays is finding the balance between the funny and the dramatic. My favourite plays are ones that really contrast that light and dark, as the heartbreak is always sadder when it's set against the humour of the characters. I'm hoping I've been able to do the same with Lobster.
The rehearsal process is so important in developing this, as it brings out moments that you didn't even realise were there. I've been blessed with an incredible director and cast for Lobster. And, by having a team like this, who really understand the characters and the journey of the play, has meant that they can explore each of these moments throughout and bring their own characterisation to the writing.
No spoilers - but one of my favourite moments came entirely from the rehearsal room.
Why should we come to see Lobster?
It's rare on stage that we see a love story that happens to feature two women, and these are stories that are so important to tell and be seen. Theatre503 is doing an incredible job of this - with plays such as Rotterdam, and their current season which doesn't just include Lobster, but also Her Not Him and Juniper and Jules.
If that's not reason enough, I hope very much that on a cold January evening, J and K can warm your hearts.
On opening night what will you be doing?
Holding my director and producer's hands and trying desperately to breathe.
Any advice for other budding playwrights?
Showcase your work whenever you can, you never know where it might lead.
From the Introduction to Playwriting Group at the Royal Court, I was able to meet an incredible group of writers. We wanted to be able to showcase our work and, unsure how to keep getting it out there, we decided to do it ourselves and set up Short(s)Wave -- an evening of short plays. In 2015 we did our first night at The Bread and Roses in Clapham, where I met the Creative Producer of a company called Encompass Productions. He chose my short play to be performed as part of their "Bare Essentials" new writing evening. It was there that Kayla Feldman, my director for Lobster, saw my play and asked if I had any full-length pieces that she could read. I'm now an Associate Producer for Bare Essentials, and the second short play I wrote for Short(s)Wave was the original version of Lobster.
Always keep trying. Always keep writing. And showcase whenever you can.
Lucy Foster wrote her first play in 2008 under the guidance of playwright Matt Charman, a rehearsed reading of which was performed at the NT Studio. Early writing credits include 'If Only to Dream' (Warwick Arts Centre, 2011) as well as two plays for Freshfest Festival, whilst studying Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She was part of the 2014 Royal Court Introduction to Writing Group. Most recently, Lucy has written short plays for Short(s)Wave (Old Red Lion, 2017) and Bare Essentials (Seven Dials Club, 2016). Lobster is her first full length, professional production.