Following its critically acclaimed run at Theatre N16 last September, Torn Apart (dissolution) transfers to The Hope Theatre, we spoke to writer and director Bj McNeill to find out more about the show.
Torn Apart (dissolution) is at The Hope Theatre 4th – 22nd July 2017.
Torn Apart (dissolution) is coming to the Hope Theatre what can you tell us about the show?
Torn Apart (dissolution) was written and directed by myself and is essentially a love story. Spanned across three decades, it tells the story of three couples in three different bedrooms. Heartbreak, death, sex, love, laughter, abuse and more.
It had a successful run at TheatreN16 last year, what made you decide to bring it back?
No Offence Theatre’s ethos evolves around the idea of slow and meaningful process that enriches the work. We are not interested in putting on a show and then forgetting about it. In our work we are influenced by the continental practitioners such as Jan Klata, Tomas Ostermeier or even Jerzy Grotowski. In places like Germany or Poland the rep system still exists, which allows audience members to see the same production throughout years. It is extremely hard to work in this way in London, due to the commercial aspects as well as the financial costs of everything but growing artistically is what we are interested in most. After our N16 run, we approached Matthew Parker, the Artistic director of The Hope Theatre, who saw the piece and absolutely loved it and we decided Torn Apart (Dissolution) deserves another run.
Have you made any changes since it’s last outing?
The piece constantly evolves. I work very collaboratively and try not to get precious over discoveries or choices that I have previously made so that the show can constantly grow. Since our last run I completely re-wrote one of the scenes. Even 2 days ago in rehearsals we devised around it and I then re-wrote part of it again. So that has changed. A lot of the choreography to the movement parts of the piece we have re-worked to the space too. We also have a new actor playing the role of Soldier, Charlie Allen, and that brings out a lot of new discoveries in. If there is a re-cast I never make my new actors try and fit the mould of the previous actors portrayal. It would be foolish of us to think that we can just ask someone to do what the previous actor has been doing. I put a huge emphasis on collaborating with my actors and finding a version of the character that of course facilities the message in the play but is also owned, lived and breathed by that actor, not just replicated. Perhaps that is why the characters seem so real and relevant to the audiences.
Why do you think it’s so important that there is more emphasis on women in the theatre?
Because there isn’t enough real female stories in theatre, most of the stories being told are based on stereotypes and archaic. Women have been marginalised for centuries and if there is a place that should put a stop to it, theatre is that place, but unfortunately this is not the case. Of course things are changing but they are not changing fast enough so its important for me to help break down these stereotypes with my work.
What do you think audiences will enjoy most about Torn Apart (dissolution)
Gauging from previous audiences I think people resonate with the raw nature of the characters. A lot of people love and hate all of the characters at one point or another. The whole play is set in a cage and that usually gets response. Some people love it some people feel they need to understand it more. But it definitely gets a response. Also the varied female voices on stage out of the 4 women in the cast they are all very different.