RT @CamdenPT: "Safety is a priority. Comfort? No. Which is not to say Trigger Warning is just uncomfortable, it’s a lot of things." Check…
 
view counter

'Things I Know to be True' Co-Directors Scott Graham and Geordie Brookman talk Shop with Jesse Stanley

Jesse Stanley: How did your respective companies (Frantic Assembly & State Theatre Company of South Australia) join in collaboration and how have you managed to carry out this long distance relationship!? Jesse Stanley: How did your respective companies (Frantic Assembly & State Theatre Company of South Australia) join in collaboration and how have you managed to carry out this long distance relationship!? Geordie: We got to know each other a number of years ago and always thought it would be great to work together if we had the chance. When State Theatre Company was in the process of commissioning Andrew Bovell to write a new play, Andrew mentioned that he wanted his normal creative process to be challenged somehow. I saw an exciting potential synthesis with Frantic's work and luckily Scott was enthusiastic!
 

On 10 September the co-production between Frantic Assembly & State Theatre Company of South Australia Things I Know to be True, premieres at Lyric Hammersmith. This highly anticipated new work is written by Andrew Bovell and has been in development for the past 3-years under the directorship of Frantic's Scott Graham and State Theatre's Geordie Brookman. Jesse Stanley chats to Scott and Geordie about their process and cross-continental partnership.

 

Jesse: How did your respective companies join in collaboration and how have you managed to carry out this rather long distance relationship!?

Geordie: We got to know each other a number of years ago and always thought it would be great to work together if we had the chance. When State Theatre Company was in the process of commissioning Andrew Bovell to write a new play, Andrew mentioned that he wanted his normal creative process to be challenged somehow. I saw an exciting potential synthesis with Frantic's work and luckily Scott was enthusiastic!

Jesse: What about each others' work/approach to the creative process excites you the most? 

Geordie: For me, it’s Scott's mix of physical precision and expression and his determination to always put the text first. Frantic's work in regards to stage movement is unique but part of the reason it is so special is that it is always there to reinforce, support and extend the text.

Scott: I love the way Geordie interacts with his cast. He has a lovely way of empowering them and opening up their thoughts. I love the way his eye comments on the movement too. We both have a deep love of the text and both recognize that we have the opportunity to learn from each other. This is not a bonus. It is a necessity if we want to develop. As artists with a history of making successful work, it is thrilling to meet someone who shares that desire to be challenged and to be inspired by what we don’t yet know.

Jesse: Has playwright Andrew Bovell been present for much of Things I Know to be True's development or was the text something that remained a constant after its commission 3 years ago?

Geordie: Andrew has been very much part of the process. We went into the first creative development session in 2014 with the two of us, Andrew, designer Geoff Cobham, six actors and a book of photographs by Gregory Crewdson called 'Beneath the Roses', nothing else. We did a lot of long form improvisations that the three of us would guide, and elements of the text sprang from that. When we came back together in 2015, Andrew had written maybe two thirds of the play and we continued to refine the ideas and expand upon them. He finished a full first draft a couple of months later.

Scott: He's continued to remain very present in rehearsals, tweaking and refining the text. This process has continued here in London with the new cast.

Jesse: You have 2 separate casts working on the show both in Australia and now the UK. Have they worked together in the same space and shared in the devising process?

Geordie: A group of six Australian actors led the development process in Adelaide. Four of them ended up staying on in the Australian production. The UK cast was confirmed in May of 2016 so no, they've been largely separate processes.

Scott: That said, the British cast has been massively influential in the creation of Things I Know To Be True. It was always our ambition to allow the UK cast enough space to challenge and inspire our thinking about this play, to be just as influential.

Jesse: If your audience were to leave the show asking themselves one question (prompted by what they had seen), what would you hope it to be?

Geordie: As long as they leave talking, thinking and feeling - I'm happy. About what is entirely up to them...

Things I Know To Be True is at the Lyric Hammersmith 10 Sep – 1 Oct, before embarking on a UK tour. Book tickets online.

 

Tour locations post London are as follows:

Oxford Playhouse: 4-8 October 2016

Warwick Arts Centre: 11 – 22 October 2016

Liverpool Playhouse 2-5 November 2016

The Lowry (Quays Theatre): 8 – 12 November 2016

Chichester Festival Theatre (Minerva Theatre): 15 – 26 November 2016

Things I Know To Be True UK rehearsal images ©Helen Maybanks

view counter