Can You Hear Me Running? which will be playing at the Pleasance as part of their Autumn season. It will open on 4 October and run until 23 October 2016: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/can-you-hear-me-running#overview
I chatted to Steve Grihault who directed the piece, here’s what he had to say:
Thank you for chatting to Break A Leg. Tell me about the piece and your vision for it…
The show explores the real life experiences of Louise Breckon-Richards – a performer who lost her voice to a rare condition and decided to overcome it by running the London Marathon. My interest in the piece stemmed from the fact this was Louise’s actual story and more importantly she would be the one on stage sharing it. This blurs the line between real truth and theatrical fiction and brings a greater authenticity and intimacy to the piece, making it more immediate. Jo Harper developed a powerful script that reflected Louise’s story and we looked for further ways to theatricalise this.
The two dominant strands running through the piece are both the voice and running and how they became interconnected. I wanted the audience to experience moments of what it may have been like on her journey through these events and connect their own experiences to hers. I worked with Dan Glover our Musical Director who composed and created an emotive and lively score for the show, playing this live on stage every night. The music coupled with video projection and bold physicality helps create a visually inventive, entertaining show that never loses the authenticity of Louise’s story at its heart.
Did you have initial ideas about casting and what you wanted Louise to bring to the piece?
There was never any doubt, it had to be Louise in this piece not only because it’s her story but because she is a really versatile talented actress who brings truth, comedy and openness which is so important in a solo show. I want her to be playful and respond in the moment to what is really happening to her in front of the audience as she tells her own story.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?
I hope the audience will identify with moments in the show – be inspired, informed, moved and entertained. I think the story is ultimately a very hopeful and uplifting one about never giving up.
Have rehearsals altered your initial thoughts, at all?
Absolutely, the piece was continually developing and changing for the better. I think that’s what rehearsals are about, to collaborate and develop ideas and practices; approaching it from different disciplines but all working toward a common goal. One big change has been how the show developed into something far more universal in theme than I had initially envisaged.
What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?
This is the world premiere of this funny, moving and powerful story. Louise is a fantastic performer who quickly draws you into a world for seventy minutes, sharing her story in a visually inventive, imaginatively engaging and entertaining way.
Finally, any advice for budding directors?
Make your own work; no experience is a wasted one and you will always develop. Never let anyone say you can’t do something – human beings love stories so go find one, collaborate and be creative in the telling of it.
Thanks to Steve for this interview, much appreciated!