The We Plays will start at The Hope Theatre http://www.thehopetheatre.com/ on 27 September and stays there until 15 October 2016.
I chatted to Andrew Maddock who wrote The We Plays, to find out what the audience can expect.
Hi Andrew, thank you for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about The We Plays, how the production came about and what the audience can expect.
The We Plays are a continuation of a series of Monologues I wrote in 2014 titled ‘The Me Plays’. Those plays ‘Junkie’ & ‘Hi Life, I Win” were semi autobiographical in nature and framed into a character of ‘Me’. Which I wrote and performed. Very Meta. After they were finished, I realised that I still had a lot of stories left to write in the style which I wrote them so set to work on what was going to be ‘Even More Me Plays’. Through my process, I realised that I wanted to explore more themes outside of the character of me and I wanted to do another pair of plays, but focus on a Male and a Female Character, as such the We was born.
The We Plays are again two monologues, the first ‘Cyprus Sunsets’ this piece which is performed by John Seaward focuses on a guy who is travelling to the island of Cyprus in order to recapture some of the happier moments of his life, while I don’t want to give away a lot about the piece, it essentially is about depression and especially depression in our society where men are expected to be men and not connect with their feelings or talk about what makes them sad. It’s also in a way a celebration of one person looking back nostalgically on happier times, which is a theme that always flows into my work, what was special about the original Me Plays were the moments where the room would connect with the pop culture references that we look back on fondly, it’s a real way to connect with an audience and a conversation starter at the bar afterwards!
After that 45 mins and a short interval, you can expect Irn Pru. Pru is special as it’s the first one of these plays I’ve written in a female voice, and not only that, but it’s a scottish voice, set in scotland, played by a Scottish actress named Jennifer O’Neill. Pru is a real fireball and you will follow her over the course of a day as she tries to get herself a new job. It’s based on members of my family, and about the things I’ve noticed about Scotland, they are fiercely proud of where they are from and with good reason, it’s a beautiful part of the United Kingdom, but a place I feel is criminally overlooked.
When I was up there two years ago, there was a super Waitrose opening up in a suburb just outside of the city centre and as most of these places do, as I’ve gone back over that time, they were targeting and shutting down the local business, peoples livelihoods and the way they potentially feed their families. But people weren’t complaining, they were pulling up their bootstraps and getting on with it, I wanted to write something that celebrated that. At the same time, Pru is a person who while she can be outwardly strong, is still human, and much like the character of ‘Me’ in Cyprus Sunsets, might not always talk through their problems and let them build up. I really hope people can get across and see it!
What are the main themes that are explored?
Without giving too much away, one is about Loss while the other is about Life. They are two stories but when you watch them as a whole, hopefully you will see what I was attempting, it touches on stuff like Depression & Austerity but I’m not trying to absolutely hammer these home, I want you to come and get what you want out of them.
What was your original vision for the production and has that altered?
The original idea was another set of plays I would write and perform called ‘Even More More Plays’ as a follow up to the Off-West End nominated shows I performed in 2014. I realised into the process that I wanted to work with some brand new actors and write a pair of shows from two new perspectives and I wanted to honour strong women who have battled adversity, like my sisters.
How does the space lend itself to the piece?
The space is perfect for the piece, intimate, not in your face, but close enough where it becomes a dialogue with the audience, and there’s a great bar downstairs, which is always a must. Since it’s two separate pieces, it was important to find a space that would allow us to create these worlds, which I think we’ve managed to do,
What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?
We’ve produced a show which pays it’s cast and crew, it’s a completely 50/50 gender balance in terms of our cast and creative. We’ve selected the best actors for the role. It’s two subjects which I think are extremely relevant to things happening right now and it’s been produced with a whole lot of love, it’s funny, it’s sad, it might make you hold a random strangers hand.
Thanks to Andrew for a great interview, all the details are below if you want to know more about The We Plays.
Critically Acclaimed Writer Andrew Maddock Brings his Double Bill of Sharp and Entertaining Monologues to The Hope Theatre, London in September
THE WE PLAYS | 27th September – 15th October 2016.
Written by Andrew Maddock
Cyprus Sunsets is Directed by Phillip Croft
Irn Pru is Directed by Ashley Winter
PRESS NIGHT: 7.45pm, THURSDAY 29th SEPTEMBER 2016 | The Hope Theatre, Islington, N1 1RL
Following the critical success for IN/OUT (A Feeling) including an Off-West End Award nomination of 2016’s best new play, writer Andrew Maddock returns to the Hope Theatre for the second time in 2016 with a double bill of monologues and a further stand-alone instalment of the Off-West End Award nominated The Me Plays with The We Plays [Cyprus Sunsets and Irn Pru].
Cyprus Sunsets: The blistering heat of the island of Cyprus is the backdrop into the psyche of a man retreating to the island after a bitter breakup. Package holiday woes, screaming children, Keo Beer & Madonna all factor into his challenge to witness just one perfect sunset, before we discover all is not what it seems. Cyprus Sunsets is performed by John Seaward
Irn Pru: With another local business closed because of a new Waitrose in nearby Bearsden. Drumchapel native Pru desperately needs a job, she also needs tae stop swearing. And why is she wearing a viking helmet? Irn Pru is a love letter to the city of Glasgow as our heroine follows the mantra of Michelle Mone, plays us some Salt-N-Pepa and battles the elements, herself and the prejudice of other people in order to come out on top. Irn Pru is performed by Jennifer O’Neill.
The We Plays are a celebration of love, life, loss and the daily struggles we all face, no matter where we come from..
Running time: 95 Minutes (Includes 15 minute interval)
Phillip Croft will direct Cyprus Sunsets starring John Seaward (The BFG, Phillip Pullman’s Grimm Tales, The Inbetweeners)
Ashley Winter will direct Irn Pru starring Glaswegian actress Jennifer O’Neill (The Kitchen, Alice).