The writer spoke to Love London Love Culture about her play Sugar, playing at the Tricycle Theatre as part of Mapping Brent 2018. 

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Hi Yasmin thanks for talking to Love London Love Culture. Could you tell me what Sugar is all about? Sugar is a play set in Brent, taking place in a not so distant dystopian future, where the women and girls have staged an uprising. They’re tired of being treated unfairly and have seized the town hall, refusing to leave until the local men meet the terms of a new manifesto.

What we see is the journey of a group of young boys, trying to make sense of a world without women. Clamouring for a sense of purpose they’ve formed a sort of army. To start with their world is fun, lawless and macho but through a series of investigations (role plays that investigate the girl’s terms) power struggles begin to emerge and they’re forced to choose between pride and compassion.

How did the idea for the play come about? For the past six months I’ve been working with Justin Audibert (Director), Stevan Mijailovic (Assistant Director) and a company of nine of the world’s best teenage boys. Our topic of interest was ‘women’, our relation to women and their experiences in modern society. We’d have discussions that were recorded and then explored practically – my job was to use all of this as the basis for our play.

How excited are you about audiences getting a chance to see it? Proper excited! The boys have worked incredibly hard and were so open throughout the process. We’d have these conversations that would just meander; we’d cover so many bases… from consent, to politics, masculinity and aliens. This play was about finding a way to consolidate all of these ideas. I think they’re all pretty proud of it because they can hear their own voices, and I’m really looking forward to them sharing that with an audience within their own community.

What would you say is the main message at the heart of the play? That trying to be a good human is work and often requires stepping outside of your own experience. Also that you’re never too young to possess strong values and take yourself seriously.

What would you imagine the world to be like in reality if there weren’t any women? Really miserable, violent and disorganised. Expensive too.

What would you like for audiences to take away from Sugar? To question some of the ideas that we’ve internalised about gender, to reflect on how much of that is projected onto children and young people and how damaging that can be. I also want them to have laughed a bit!

Sugar is part of Tricycle Theatre’s Mapping Brent. The theatre will see four community venues across Brent to deliver six new plays, 6 April – 14 April. For more information visit – http://www.tricycle.co.uk/festivals/mapping-brent-2018/

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