The director spoke to Love London Love Culture about the National Youth Theatre’s upcoming production of The Fall, playing at the Southwark Playhouse from the 28th April. 

The Fall

Hi Matt, thanks so much for talking to Love London Love Culture. Could you tell me a bit more about what audiences can expect from The Fall? The Fall is a brand new bit of work from the ever brilliant James Fritz. Over the course of three stories we draw a very direct line between the young actors the audience see on stage and the people they’ll be in 60 years time – asking what conversations do we need to have before they get there?

What attracted you most about The Fall that made you want to direct it? It hit that real sweet spot of combination between writer and theme. The social care crisis and society’s perception of its older members feels like a story that needs to be explored, using young bodies and voices to do this also felt like an interesting gift of a challenge.

I’ve been a long term admirer of James’s work – his style of writing gives great freedom and ownership to the director and actors so the chance to develop work with him was too good to miss.

How are preparations for the production coming along? We’re currently mid way through rehearsals and it’s going really well. As we speak the full company are aching from a street dance choreography call. It’s a rehearsal room full of fire, stories and sweet treats, which for me is perfection.

What would you say is the message at the centre of The Fall? I think at the heart of he piece is a desire to open up a conversation – we have a growing number young people in this country and the reality is that they will got older and more and more people are living longer. As a society we need to start speaking very seriously about how we’re going to manage that.

How has it been working with the National Youth Theatre on the production? An absolute treat! – I was a member back in the day and as a company they’ve been so incredibly nurturing and generous. Working with NYT has given me access to the most wonderfully talented, diverse and open group of actors. They are fierce and brilliant just like the company they are a part of.

How would you describe society’s attitude to the older generation these days? I fear that there can be a big empathy breakdown between the younger and older members of society. I think we all need to challenge our preconceptions of people at different stages of their life to us. We need to draw a very strong line between us and them. To not shy away from the fact that we will get older and fight to ensure all members of society have access to the support they need at the beginning, middle and end of life.

What would you like for audiences to take away from the production? I hope they leave the theatre feeling full – whether it is full of questions, feelings or just snacks. I hope the piece resonates with them in some way, but most of all I hope they have a good time. The show they see will never be the same again. It will never be that exact mix of audience, space and time. They’ll share something unique and special and that’s pretty magic.

By Emma Clarendon 

The Fall will be performed by the National Youth Theatre at the Southwark Playhouse from the 28th April until the 19th May. For more information visit: http://www.nyt.org.uk/whats-on/the-fall

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