4 posts categorized "Interviews" Feed

Fringe theatre interview: Director Mark Maughan on finding humour in asylum play The Claim

Mark Maughan  director of The Claim - courtesy of Richard Davenport
Mark Maughan director of The Claim. Photo: Richard Davenport

Interview: Director Mark Maughan talks about about his work on new play The Claim which takes a satirical look at the UK's asylum process.

 
How did you get involved with The Claim and what drew you to the project?
 
Tim Cowbury (the writer) and I started researching and developing The Claim together back in 2015 and have collaborated on it ever since. I was interested in making a piece about migration, Tim about power and language.

Once we found out about the Home Office’s flawed asylum system, we knew that this was something that needed to reach a wide audience and the subject matter also had enough dramatic potential for us to be drawn to it as artists.
 
What was your approach in the rehearsal process?
 
Grit and grace. I am lucky to be surrounded by an absolutely first-rate cast and creative team, but we only had three weeks to rehearse before we met our audience, which went by extraordinarily quickly.

I shared key information from the research and development period with everyone who was new to the team, but most of our time was spent bringing our abstracted world of a real-life process to the stage.

It was also about breaking down the text into manageable chunks and repetition, as there are a lot of words to get through in a relatively short piece.
 
The Claim takes a satirical look at the UK's asylum process - what role does humour play and how do you balance that with the drama?
 
Sadly, my reaction to what we learnt about the asylum system was often laughter – at how completely ridiculous it is. Not including that absurdity would have been to misrepresent the reality of the process.

Of course, there is also a lot of drama in the Home Office interview as someone is using their words to fight for their lives, so the piece increasingly takes on this tone as it races towards its conclusion.
 

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Fringe theatre interview: Playwright Lucy Foster on her new play Lobster and writing comedy

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 Lobster500only 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. 

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Fringe theatre interview: Alice in Wonderland reimagined for the #metoo landscape

Alice three trees theatreJonna Blode Hanno, Laura Thomasina Haynes and Mollie Macpherson from Three Trees Theatre talk about the inspiration and process behind their new play Alice which opens at the Landor Space in Clapham on January 9.

How would you describe the piece?
It's a devised piece inspired by Alice in Wonderland, focusing on Alice's journey into the confusing and somewhat absurd world of adulthood. The piece deals with controversial rumours about Lewis Carroll's relationship with Alice Liddell, for whom he wrote the book, but set in our time of #metoo and countless testaments of sexual abuse. 

Why Alice in Wonderland?
Alice in Wonderland is such an iconic story, but after reading it we were most fascinated by the darkness in it, and Lewis Carroll's unique perspective on the world of adulthood. When the Weinstein scandal came out and #metoo started shaking the world we felt we had to join the discussion around responsibility and power in our own industry as so much of the controversy around Lewis Carroll is still so relevant.

Tell us about the process?
We cast everyone as different characters from the book but then examined what that creature could symbolise in our world today instead of having a literal portrayal. For example, we do not have the White Rabbit sat at Lewis Caroll's dinner table but instead take inspiration from the essence of his character.  Led by our director Or Benezra-Segal we worked as a company to devise a play based on who these people are and where we thought the night would take them.

 

 

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