Following a smash-hit sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival, Penelope Skinner’s Fringe-First award winning play Angry Alan now transfers to Soho Theatre. This darkly comic play about masculinity in crisis is written and directed by multi-award-winning playwright Penelope Skinner and cocreated and performed by Donald Sage Mackay. Producer, Francesca Moody tells us more about the shows journey from Edinburgh.
Angry Alan is at Soho Theatre 5th – 30th March 2019.
Angry Alan is transferring to Soho Theatre, what can you tell us about it?
Angry Alan is a Fringe-First award winning one-man show. Set in modern day middle America, it tells the story of Roger – an ordinary American man who is being radicalised online by an extremist movement. Roger hates his job, his ex-wife torments him, his son is in trouble but won’t tell him why. And to top it all, his girlfriend just discovered feminism. Roger is starting to feel like the world has gone mad, until he discovers Angry Alan, online activist and so called ‘voice of reason’. Angry Alan is about men’s rights, how any extreme political viewpoint can take root in someone’s consciousness if they are vulnerable to it, and how those who propagate those extreme views aren’t necessarily all they are presenting themselves as. Written and directed by award winning British playwright Penelope Skinner, Angry Alan is a ruthlessly funny, timely, powerful and critical assessment of gender politics right now.
How did you get involved with the production?
Penelope and Donald (who plays Roger and co-created the show with Penelope) were looking for a producer to take the show to Edinburgh so to my great surprise and good fortune the play ended up in my inbox. When it comes to producing, trusting your gut instinct is everything – I had such a visceral reaction when I read Angry Alan that it was a no-brainer for me. I have long been an admirer of Penelope Skinner and so the opportunity to work with someone who I was such a huge fan of made the whole thing even more exciting.
How would you describe the response in Edinburgh?
We couldn’t have wished for a better response in Edinburgh. We sold out the run extremely quickly, were awarded a Scotsman Fringe-First and garnered some excellent reviews – most importantly though audiences were laughing and holding their breath during the show and waiting for us after the show to talk about it. People really wanted to continue the conversation so we couldn’t have hoped for more really.
What do you like most about Penelope Skinner’s writing?
Penelope finds an incredibly human, honest and often funny way of articulating huge ideas in her plays. Her stories are original and timely. Her characters are full of contradictions which feel truthful to the human condition. Her writing is anything but passive and I always come away feeling so much.
What has Donald Sage Mackay brought to the role?
Donald co-created Angry Alan with Penelope so his role has been intrinsic to the creation of the character of Roger. Having worked so closely on the play, Donald naturally brings a disarming truth to the character and in particular an amiability which means that the audience are constantly find themselves almost empathising with Roger.
Why do you think this is such a relevant piece of theatre?
Dialogue around gender politics has never been more polarised. Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Brett Kavanaugh, and the #MeToo movement have been sending shockwaves across the world. Men’s Rights activists are operating and have followers everywhere. Angry Alan is an important voice and story within the conversation.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Angry Alan?
Be prepared for a sucker-punch of a show. Searingly funny, incredibly important and extremely timely. Only an hour AND if you don’t believe how brilliant it is, just have a look at some of the reviews. See you there, I hope!