Scratch performance: Lipstick - a fairytale of modern Iran, Omnibus Theatre
Review: The web of friendship in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Menier Chocolate Factory

Q&A: Josh Roche on directing 'thriller' Plastic and who he'd 'commit crimes' to work with

JMK Trust 2017 award winner Josh Roche (My Name is Rachel Corrie) is directing Kenneth Emson's new play Plastic at the Old Red Lion, here he talks about working on the play, 'entertaining' theatre and who he'd really like to work with.

Tell us a bit about Plastic and what drew you to the project.

Plastic is the most eloquent play I've ever read on the subject of adolescence. 

I'm twenty eight, so I don't know if this will change, but my teenage years are the toughest years I've had to get through.

Josh RocheThe combined pressures of sex, loneliness, self-image and a hundred other things, create a brutal cauldron of self-defence and bitterness. It's competitive, nasty, vengeful and manic.

Plastic makes us feel deeply how the seeds of our adult insecurities are planted in our teens.
This is a new play by Kenneth Emson with whom you’ve worked with before, does that help with bringing the piece to life and how collaborative is the rehearsal process?

Yeah we've got pretty efficient with our work. We can usually get the important notes done on the first pint these days, which frees up time for complaining about the industry for the rest of the meeting....

More seriously Kenny is an incredibly experienced writer, far more experienced than me. He's humble and exacting in equal measure, which makes him a dream to work with.
You say you like to produce 'entertaining political work’, how do you define ‘entertainment’?

Well entertainment makes you feel something, whether that's laughter, tears or horror. We're all humans and extreme feelings are novel, unusual and important to us. My aim is to move audiences to feel, using political stories.

How they respond to the story is up to them, but the main aim of entertainment is to move people.  If you don't enjoy being moved, then I'd give Plastic a miss.

Who do you think gets it right and are there any playwrights you aspire to work with?

As far as directors go James Macdonald reigns supreme at the moment, closely followed by Bijan Sheibani.

Natalie Abrahami is always pushing the envelope. For me her work is a bit like watching a scientist conduct experiments.

I'm excited about the new things coming at the Globe.

The Royal Court is back to doing challenging, subtle new work I think, and Vicky Featherstone is a great leader for the industry; B by Guillermo Caulderon was superb, as was/is Gundog by Simon Longman.

Writers I'd commit crimes to work with include Tena Stivicic, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, Ella Hickson and Anne Washburn.
Why should people come and see Plastic?

Plastic is a deeply moving thriller that talks about our teenage selves. The story is as gripping as anything on the telly but the content offers something more, a deep insight into youth, memory and violence.  Added to which, for any nineties teens, it's a trip down memory lane to a land of Poggs, Pulp and Reebok Classics. 

Plastic by Kenneth Emson, Old Red Lion Theatre, 3-21 April, 2018 and then Mercury Theatre, Colchester, 26-28 April, 2018.

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