The writer and director talks to Love London Love Culture about his upcoming production The Sea, playing at the Camden People’s Theatre from the 1st to the 3rd March…
Could you tell me a little bit more about The Sea and what it is about?
‘The Sea’ is about London and loneliness; two things which seem to come hand-in-hand. Lots of people move to London because it’s ‘where it’s at’ and ‘there’s so much going on’, but then when they get there, there’s much too much going on and it can be difficult to feel like you’ve really got a hold on anything. There’s so much happening around us and without us that it can often feel like everything is going on without you and you feel disconnected. So it can be easy to feel lonely in London. ‘The Sea’ is about someone who tries to respond to feeling disconnected by ‘doing stuff that people’ do, even if this feels a bit forced some times. They meet someone, but communication is somewhat forced. The ending is a bitter-sweet, neither happy nor sad ‘that’s how it is’, kind of end.
How did the idea for the play come about?
I went for walks in Hackney Marshes and Tottenham Marshes and felt a really interesting difference from Oxford Circus and the Strand. London can feel crowded and overwhelming, but it can also be empty and open. I am from the Fens in south-east England and am used to not seeing anything or anyone for miles, a phenomena extremely difficult to find in London. The idea for The Sea came from the physical environment of London. I think people don’t reflect on how strange it is that in most parts of London, you can’t actually see the sky unless you look directly upwards.
What do you want audiences to take away from The Sea?
I want to suggest feelings of community and difference. In reading books about London and Londoners, most of the authors acknowledged that their project was somewhat hopeless: to write a book summarising the London experience, because it changes and moves and stops and starts. Londoners have a community of difference: we all share the fact that we share very little.
How excited are you about seeing it performed in front of an audience?
Oscillating between terror and joy.
How would you describe the play for potential audiences?
Potentially funny, potentially sad, potentially overall not-unpleasant.
What would you say is the main reason for people to see the play?
Most of the potential audience are London-folks. Play about London; people from London: nuff said.
The Sea plays at Camden People’s Theatre from the 1st until the 3rd March. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/the-sea/