Cuttings by Ollie George Clark and directed by Rob Ellis is coming to the Hope Theatre in Islington this June.
Relish Theatre is a previously Norwich based theatre company, founded by Director Rob Ellis, dedicated to creating work that would appeal to a non-theatre going audience, and showcasing the work of regional talent.
Cuttings is at The Hope Theatre 4th – 22nd June 2019.
Your new play, Cuttings is coming to The Hope Theatre, what can you tell us about it?
Well, Cuttings is a comedy set in a personal PR office, the morning after the Olivier Awards, where one of the agency’s clients, YouTuber turned Actor: Arthur Moses, has sworn (continually) during the ceremony’s live broadcast.
It’s all set in real time, from 8.30am to around 10, in one room with three people; and it’s a fast-paced and intense process of drafting an apology and attempting to contain the situation.
Any more might be spoiling what happens!
What inspired you to write about the theatre industry in this way?
I’ve always been fascinated by the theatre industry, both as an observer and as having worked in it too, so I wanted to write about it purely through a desire to write about that world.
But, I also think one of the themes of the play is performance and being told to pretend you’re one thing – in this case ‘sorry’ to abate an angry mob and for one’s career to progress – so being on stage, and in a theatrical setting could only stand to heighten that idea.
I hope too that the blueprints of PR on show here, and the puppetry that comes with that, can be seen as the blueprints of any PR’d industry – cue my next play about Pottery PR (though that may be taking the ‘moulding’ metaphor a bit far).
It was shortlisted for the Liverpool Hope Comedy Playwriting Prize what kind of opportunities has that opened up for you?
Yes, that was incredibly lovely news when I was told, and it’s since been very exciting. It’s a position which has let me meet with and speak to some incredible people about different things and I hope it may long continue.
Rob Ellis is directing, how did he get involved and how has it been working with him?
Rob and I met through OVConnect, the brilliant online platform run by the Old Vic letting different people within the theatre world connect and chat via Twitter. It’s phenomenal and I’d urge anyone who wants to meet new people in the theatre world to use it next time it swings round.
We met in around September/ October last year and I pitched him what was a rougher version of the script now and we worked on it a bit and tried to hone down the focus of the play. This then led onto a reading with the wonderful Theatre503 and getting feedback and guidance and ultimately deciding we had the right notes but they weren’t necessarily in the right order.
A few redrafts later (thinking now it must be five) and some further meetings and all of a sudden we open at The Hope Theatre on 4th June.
None of which would have been possible without Rob’s guidance, kindness and patience with this script and story. It’s been a complete joy and one I hope to repeat with many more plays.
What are you looking forward to most about seeing the cast take on your characters?
I think the cast that we’ve assembled are spectacular and I’m excited just to watch the three of them work and be in the same room together – I think they’ll really catch fire as a trio.
And through that, I can’t wait to see what else we’re going to create as a team in the rehearsal process. I’m not very precious with scripts so if something doesn’t work it has to be binned for something better/ funnier/ faster – and it’s that which I can’t wait to find.
What makes the Hope Theatre the ideal venue for Cuttings?
When Rob and I first visited the Hope the thing which attracted me most was its intimacy. It’s a very small, enclosed space and I thought: this is the venue for Cuttings. We’d spoken about wanting to create a ‘War Room’ aesthetic, and the feeling of confinement for these characters, like a pressure cooker, and this felt like the perfect room for it.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Cuttings?
Well, I’m well aware of the irony of doing a play about PR and myself moulding perception about the show ahead of time.
That being said, I’d say come and see Cuttings because it aims to be sharp, challenging and relentless summer comedy; satirising modern day ‘apologies’, public perceptions of celebrity culture and the ideas of fame and fandoms.
Plus, worst case scenario, hour twenty five, no internal – hard to argue with that.
Cuttings by Ollie George Clarke is at the Hope Theatre, 4 – 22 June 2019, Tuesday – Saturday 7.45pm