Sally Rogers is the writer of the upcoming premiere of The Still Room, which opens at Park Theatre from 29th April.
Rising star Kate James leads the cast as Janice, alongside Chris Simmons (The Bill, Hollyoaks, All Or Nothing) as Kevin, Jane Slavin (Clocking Off, Moving On) as Bernice, Zoe Brough (The Nether, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child) as Diane, Larner Wallace-Taylor (How Love Is Spelt, An Inspector Calls) as Karen and Jack Colgrave Hirst (Romeo & Juliet, The Winter’s Tale – The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company) as Dean.
The Still Room is coming to Park Theatre, what can you tell us about it?
A still room is a small claustrophobic room in a hotel, the antechamber that links the kitchen to the public banqueting area. This is a dark comedy about dreaming big. It examines class, attitudes towards sex and virginity through the concealed moments in the still room, where the waiters wait.
What inspired you to write this play?
I wanted to explore an era from my own life.
In the early 1980’s, I was a young banquet waitress for a hotel in Manchester.
It was a very dangerous environment in many ways, potential for scalding at every turn. Boiling hot gravy, huge baked Alaskas set alight for effect and drama, trays of lit Sambucas, angry chefs and live in staff who were always somewhere between cheeky and predatory.
This is your stage writing debut, what was the biggest challenge for you when writing it?
Creating characters that are flawed, unpleasant and troubled yet still likeable enough for an audience to care about them. Working with Martin McDonagh made me realise that rules can hold you back. I now thrive on pushing the envelope, ‘that would never happen’ has been replaced with: ‘what if it did?’
It’s set in 1981, why did you choose that year?
A fantastic year – story wise. Music wise. Fashion wise.
The UK was in economic crisis, unemployment, rioting, recession and depression, yet the country and indeed the world was braced for a Royal Wedding. Charles and Diana, a ray of royal romance amidst the gloom. Of course, we now know we were mis-sold a fairy tale.
What are you looking forward to most about working with this cast?
The cast are all incredibly talented. They have a natural feel for the rhythms of the writing and a tremendous instinct towards each of their characters. I can’t believe my luck, I honestly can’t!
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see The Still Room?
Nigel Douglas is brilliant director; he knows every beat of this play. He has found superb actors to tell the story. I think theatre should shake you out of your seat and you certainly won’t be bored watching this play.
Main Image: Sally Rogers