Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu directs the UK premiere of Robert O’Hara’s startlingly provocative and outrageously funny, Bootycandy, a whip-smart, high-octane, roller coaster ride about growing up black and gay.
The full cast is Prince Kundai as Sutter playing alongside Bimpé Pacheco, Damilola K Fashola, Luke Wilson and Roly Botha.
Bootycandy is a semi-autobiographical, kaleidoscopic, black queer fever dream of connected vignettes exploring childhood, sexuality, fantasy and reality. It runs at Gate Theatre 13th February to 14th March 2023.
You’re directing Bootycandy at The Gate, what can you tell us about the show?
It is a wild queer dark colourful theatrical experience. A little-known fact is it was originally written as twelve separate plays, which Robert O’Hara then pieced together through the central character of Sutter to create play full of vignettes exploring childhood, sexuality, fantasy. We meet Sutter at various moments in his life, non-chronologically, spanning 40 years. It’s energetic, full of light and dark, and brilliantly messy.
What did you think when you first read Robert O’Hara’s semi-autobiographical script?
I felt like it was very brave and full of a rage that I recognised and have felt before. As a semi-autobiographical piece, it is not Robert’s story in whole, but it still brilliantly interrogates the idea of trying to communicate and explore yourself through theatre and unlocking some of the darkest and most vibrant sides of yourself.
How do you think audiences will identify with the characters in the play?
The play is intentionally broad, so you recognise lots of these characters, but it is more than recognising, it is questioning, criticizing, and challenging these characters that we have seen or imagined before. I think the audience will have to constantly ask themselves what is real and what is not, and then afterwards ask themselves why.
What do you think will be most challenging about directing Bootycandy?
So many things. We are playing with so many styles in one show, and it is a show that goes from dark to light very quickly, sometimes subtly and sometimes very boldly. And as a Director it’s a challenge to negotiate how much an audience can feel in any one moment.
Tell us a little about the cast, and what it’s been like working with them?
The cast have been incredible, they have been so generous with their hearts and their minds in creating this piece. I am working with incredible creators. There is such an energy in the room when they work, and all the performers tap into the heart of every single character that they play. All these characters are multifaceted in some way, no single person in the play should feel one dimensional and I’m grateful to have a cast that are fantastic multirolers.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Bootycandy?
Just take a seat, and take what you take from it, feel what you feel, questions what you question and celebrate what you celebrate. It’s a play of so many ingredients, so I want audience to know that whatever they take from it is exactly what Robert wants, because after you take you will talk.
Bootycandy directed by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu is at Gate Theatre 13th February to 14th March 2023