A matter of consent

Playwright and long time Whoop ‘n’ Wail collaborator, Dan Horrigan, tells us about his play, Face the Camera and Smile, which features in this month’s 50/50 at the Arts Theatre, London as part of the Women In The West End Festival.

The 50/50 Festival caught my attention because it’s a welcome and required concept – present work where the balance of genders is equal, what you see on the stage is a parity. In it’s way it is contributing to a sea change taking place right now in British Theatre – to do with representation.

I am currently redrafting my play Face The Camera And Smile, a scene from which is part of the 50/50 Festival. It was previously shortlisted for The Kings Cross Award for New Writing in 2009. It was also treated very kindly by Writers Avenue with readings of the first 20 minutes at The Rosemary Branch, The Pleasance, and Soho Theatre.

At the time, there was a lot of pressure to redraft the play for its various readings at each venue. I held off the deep redrafts, providing only a few tweaks and a bit of polish. I have always been fascinated by how things change over time, and at the time the question was ‘how do you end conflict responsibly?’ – we were coming out of Afghanistan and the question seemed pertinent. I wasn’t ready to end the play, because there was no end in sight.

A repeated comment on my play was it may no longer be of interest because the war in Iraq was old news. I knew these comments were hopelessly limited. Sometimes a play has a deeper question than that posed by the buzz of the zeitgeist. Writers are often put under pressure to comment in the present tense.

Coming back to the play I now see that the actual drive for the play was consent.  The fact is we went to war without a mandate, and the dodgy dossier was a pack of lies. The Government did not have our consent to go to war. The people of Iraq did not invite us to destroy their lives.

I hope Face the Camera and Smile will be a salient reminder that when the simple things are not given their due recognition the consequences affect us all. Going to war without a mandate or proper justification is part of a long line of transgression by continuous governments in the UK that led to unmitigated disasters and untold humanitarian suffering.

Working on the 50/50 Festival is an opportunity for me to re-ignite the powder trail that leads to the play’s themes – themes which are played out through consent on a micro and macro level and are gendered. In doing so we hope to inspire our audience to ask questions about what is done in our name, or not, and where it is taking us.

The changes to the script are the result of waiting. As such I feel a deeper commitment to the story and what I am trying to put out there for your consideration.

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Dan Horrigan (@DBHorrigan) is a writer and director working in film and theatre. His play Three Women and a Music Box recieved a five star review when it was performed at Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…The Launch in 2014 and then in 2015 Dan returned to Whoop ‘n’ Wail for Represents…Desire in 2015 but this time, as a director. His work on 3AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich was also reviewed with five stars.

Face the Camera and Smile by Dan Horrigan, directed by Zachary James, will be performed by Ali Kemp (Sarah) and Fergal Phillips (Danny) on Wednesday 30th March at 3pm & 7.30pm at The Arts Theatre, London. Click here for tickets and for more information about Women In The West End, head to the Anonymous Is A Woman Theatre Company website.

 

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COMING SOON: The writers’ submission brief for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…

Here at Whoop ‘n’ Wail HQ we are taking one last look back at Represents…Desire with a very big thank you to all the fabulously creative people who came together to make it all happen.

“A celebration of feminist theatre that explodes any notions that it’s predictable or restrictive.”

James Waygood, Grumpy Gay Critic

We would like to give particular thanks to the writers, and not just those whose work was included, but all those who took the time to create and submit their work for consideration. With submissions from across the globe and three US writers included in the lineup, it has truly been an international adventure and look forward to seeing the relationships that have been forged flourish into the future.

Here are some pictorial reminders of the pieces, courtesy of George Riddell to whom we are very grateful – the quotes are taken from the review written by James Waygood and published on grumpygaycritic.co.uk.


 

Heart’s Desire by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman, directed by Emily Bush

“Kemp and Klayman do a wonderful job of using game rounds to establish the main characters backgrounds and intentions…the twist is quite a surprising one and is worth the pay off.”

Heart's Desire

(L-R) Caroline Loncq, Georgina Panton, Isobel Wolff, Jonathan Akingba


The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso, directed by Norman Murray

“An absolutely blistering and affecting piece, and possibly my favourite for the evening.”

Hidden Room 2

Radhika Aggarwal & Ariadne Barnes


Three AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, directed by Dan Horrigan

“Acted superbly by Klayman and Charlotte Couture as the two women on the edge, it’s a snappy little piece of bite and humour.”

ThreeAM

Deborah Klayman & Charlotte Couture


Nice Jumper by Daniel Page, directed by Alice Bonifacio

“Page’s characters have a wonderful little repartee going on throughout, and a slow reveal that has you wondering what on earth is going on right up to the last minute.”

Nice Jumper 2

(L-R) Anyebe Godwin, Dani Moseley & Lizzie Bourne


Would You Let Me Finish by Leon Kaye, directed by Sarah Davies

“Kaye’s lambaste of the TV psychic circuit is bang on form and incredibly witty.”

WYLMF 3

Nichola Rivers & Laura Garnier


The Work-Love Balance by Tom Jensen, directed by Tom Neill

“certainly the boldest and most experimental piece of the evening,which it pulls off marvellously well.”

WLB

(L-R) Emily Stride, Lee White & Rachel Dobell


COMING SOON:

The writers’ submission brief for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…

The denouement of Desire.

Represents…Desire couldn’t have gone better. What a fantastic team of writers, directors, actors and technicians we had. And of course, all coming together at Waterloo East Theatre with the wonderful support of Gerald Armin. And then there were the audiences – the place was packed on both nights with friends and family; WET regulars and people who just wanted to know what Represents…Desire was all about.

As Debs was performing in Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich’s Three a.m., I took on the stage management duties. During Friday’s technical rehearsal, amongst welcoming a succession of directors with their casts; keeping a sharp eye on timings, making sure that everyone kept to schedule; running for teas and coffees; setting up the props table; and of course, feeding everyone Caramac cookies, I had a moment.

I suddenly became acutely aware of myself, where I was and what I was doing. Sitting in the auditorium, the tech for The Hidden Room by Californian based writer Patricia Reynoso was underway. I looked back to see director Norman Murray discussing lighting states with Paul Kevin-Taylor and Tom Neill – three men, who I originally know from completely different places. Looking to the stage, I saw two actors, Radhika Aggarwal and Ariane Barnes, who I had never met before, both were friendly and professional and as it turns out, sensitive and powerful performers.

Radhika Aggarwal & Ariane Barnes in The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso

Radhika Aggarwal & Ariane Barnes in The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso

And as I was sitting there in the auditorium, I felt such an enormous sense of pride. Little old me and Debs (actually it’s me that’s old, not so much Debs) had done this. We had brought all this creative energy into one room and everyone was so focused on the same aim  – a right good show, which it was.

But there is no time for all this self indulgent reflection. Represents…Desire has come to an end, today is Sunday and I for one can safely say I’m still in my pyjamas.

Tomorrow, however, is a new week and preparations will begin for the next Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents….

WATCH THIS SPACE

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What a dazzling display of dashingly desirable directors!

We are very proud to be able to announce our wonderful team of delightfully desirable directors:

Alice Bonifacio is directing Nice Jumper by Dan Page
Norman Murray will direct The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso
Tom Neill directs The Work-Love Balance by Tom Jensen
Dan Horrigan will direct Three AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
Sarah Davies is working on Would You Let Me Finish? by Leon Kaye and
Emily Bush has taken the helm on Heart’s Desire by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman.

Having introduced our directors to the writers, it transpired that (director) Tom and (writer) Tom are almost neighbours, which we hadn’t realised and is quite incredible really given the international nature of this showcase.

All are working hard together, casting is close to complete and rehearsals are underway. It is now time to reflect on what it’s like doing this a second time around.

What we realise as we work towards Represents…Desire is the importance of a thorough debrief.

Bringing together …The Launch in November was very much a learning process for us – with six plays, six directors and six casts – so after the event, we sat down and discussed every element of the production, from securing our venue to curtain up, and figured out what worked and what didn’t work. We looked at how certain things could have been done differently and acknowledged what really went well.

From these discussions we were able to start planning for …Desire and, so far, so good – a much more relaxed experience. However there is still much to do, so it’s time to go and get on with it.

Don’t forget, get your ticket in advance for only £10. …The Launch was a sell-out so don’t delay! Tickets are on sale here .

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Desire
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Friday 6th & Saturday 7th February 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / http://www.waterlooeast.co.uk

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Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…The Writers

Whoop ‘n’ Wail are delighted to announce the six successful playwrights for their February showcase:

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Desire.

We have been absolutely delighted with the response to our open submission brief, with almost seventy brand new plays from all over the world winging their way to the Whoop ‘n’ Wail submissions inbox.

Our reading team received scripts from Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK and the USA, and were overwhelmed by the innovation and talent shown by the writers as they generously shared their work.

After a lot of hard work, thought and soul-searching – as well as a few heated debates – the final six are:

Nice Jumper by Dan Page (UK)

The Hidden Room by Patricia Reynoso (USA)

The Work-Love Balance by Tom Jensen (UK)

Three AM by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich (USA)

Would You Let Me Finish? by Leon Kaye (USA)

Heart’s Desire by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman (UK)

Congratulations to our successful writers

The directors’ announcement will be coming soon – so watch this space. The six writers will already been notified by Whoop ‘n’ Wail and will shortly be connected with their director.

In the meantime, tickets are already on sale from the Waterloo East Theatre’s website: www.waterlooeast.co.uk. There is a discount for advance purchase – to avoid disappointment please book in early as our last showcase sold out! 

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