Interview with…Stella Taylor

Stella chatted to LLLC’s Emma Clarendon about co-creating Greyscale, which plays as part of the Vaults Festival from the  2nd February. 

Thanks for talking to me! Could you explain a bit more about what Greyscale is about? Greyscale tackles the issue of consent in a post #metoo era. It looks at the roles men and women play (and have been conditioned to play) when it comes to sex and dating. Greyscale tells the story of a date, through the two participant’s perspectives. The audience will hear from both Lou and Jaz, separately, whilst also being privy to the date itself. They will be led around the VAULT Festival, meeting and spying on our characters. (No relation to the dodgy disease in Game of Thrones! Sorry GOT fans.)

How did the idea for the show come about? The inspiration for this piece came from an article last year alleging that Aziz Ansari was guilty of sexual misconduct. A woman, ‘Grace’, had alleged that she felt pressured into sexual activity with him. What really fascinated me about this story was the text messages they exchanged after, with her expressing her discomfort and him being seemingly oblivious to it. The Ansari story broke about a month after a fictional piece in the New Yorker, ‘Cat Person’, went viral. This short story hit a nerve with women and men, it told the story of a bad date and a following unsatisfying sexual encounter. There was a universal feeling that there is a point where it is too late to say no to sex. That pressure doesn’t necessarily come from force, it comes from embarrassment, a need to please, or expectation. These two pieces, although different in form and reality, overlap in content and they were both very divisive. We wanted to explore this further, hence, Greyscale.

How are you feeling about bringing Greyscale to the VAULT Festival? Really excited. And nervous (ahh, emotional cousins!). But mainly excited.We have an incredible team, it’s about bringing all aspects of the show together and making sure it works. And it really is working!

What can audiences expect from the show? When I talk to friends or strangers (or literally anyone who will listen!) about Greyscale, I always get a personal story back. A ‘me too’ moment. It’s amazing how universal this is. All genders really relate to the themes of this show, and this is why we want to talk about it. We want the audience to be challenged. We want to encourage debate.

How did you find the whole experience of creating Greyscale? It’s been like throwing a whole lot of ingredients into a stew. All the individual facets are incredible on their own (the writers, actors, hosts, set, VAULT Festival) but until they all fuse together, we have no idea what exactly it will taste like. We’re so excited to test it out in previews where we can shape it and make the best dish possible! (I promise, no cooking or bad metaphors in the actual show. A bit of cocktail making, but no food).

Was there anything in particular you wanted to portray for audiences? We want the audience to make up their own minds. Our two characters are not bad people. They are in a particular situation (one that happens to many every day), and there is a lot left unsaid. It is for the audience to fill in the gaps with their own experiences.

By Emma Clarendon

Greyscale will play as part of the Vault Festival from the 2nd February until the 17th March.

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