Deborah Bruce is one of the writers selected to take part in Inside, the first part of Inside/Outside from Orange Tree Theatre .
Inside/Outside is a collection of world première short plays by six emerging and established writers, performed and livestreamed from the Orange Tree Theatre’s auditorium. The first three plays, written by Deborah Bruce, Joel Tan and Joe White, focus on the theme of Inside, and will be streamed live 25 – 27 March 2021. The final three plays by Sonali Bhattacharyya, Zoe Cooper and Kalungi Ssebandeke explore the theme of Outside, streamed live 15 – 17 April 2021.
The collection, directed by Anna Himali Howard and Georgia Green, cover stories of estrangement and loneliness; of connection and redemption; of despair in confinement to hope found in life outdoors.
You’ve written a piece for Inside (part of Inside/Outside), what can you tell us about it?
I’ve written a piece for Inside about a middle-aged woman who gets scammed buying a cat bed on the internet. Her mother has died and she’s clearing out her house by herself, it’s the middle of lockdown, and everything gets tangled up inside her head, and she starts to unravel.
It’s a play about grief, and how easy it is to become disconnected.
What was your first reaction to finding out you would be writing for Inside/Outside?
I was pleased! I love the Orange Tree, Paul Miller programmed my play The Distance in 2014, and I have seen many excellent pieces of work in the theatre. It’s a great, intimate and inclusive space to produce, and watch a play in.
Why are these collection of plays so relevant to us today?
This is a very particular moment, we’re tentatively emerging from a period of extraordinary collective shock. Our individual experiences of the last year will range from bizarre inconvenience to life-changing trauma – I think it will take years to process and recover. Inviting six writers to write plays on the brink of transition into the next few months should offer a fascinating insight into a range of lives and experiences.
How does it feel to be having work staged again?
It feels a relief, a privilege, it’s emotional to be back doing my job again. The same but crucially different, an abnormal normal. I feel conscious of the world in a more profound way. A lot has changed in this long year. There are big questions to ask – who’s stories are being told, who’s deciding who’s stories are being told? Who’s telling the stories? I’m excited to see if the theatre industry can grab the opportunities that this moment is offering us, to examine itself, to evolve and grow into a more representative, inclusive, accessible place to hear stories.
Did you have to write differently knowing this was for a digital production?
It’s an interesting hybrid of a stage play and a piece to camera. Performed to a live audience, but in their own homes. I don’t know if I did think about that in the writing of the play, but we are certainly talking about it in the rehearsing of it.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Inside/Outside?
I would say, book a ticket. Grab the opportunity to see brand new work from six playwrights written at this historic time. Support the Orange Tree and soon we’ll be back in theatre buildings watching plays together.