Mary Higgins chatted to Emma Clarendon about her and Ell Potter’s new audio play called Lem N Ginge: The Princess of Kakos, narrated by the Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke.

Thanks for talking to me. Could you tell me more about Lem N Ginge: The Princess of Kakos? Hello! Yes. I’m Mary, co-creator of Lem N Ginge with my life-long creative partner and best friend, Ell Potter. Lem N Ginge is a four-part audio drama that Ell and I wrote and recorded over lockdown. It’s a queer feminist buddy-narrative about a princess who has her voice stolen and the two out-of-work actors – played by Ell and myself – who take up the quest find it in the hope of winning a big cash prize. It stars Sharon D. Clarke as the narrator. 

How did the idea for the play come about? Good question. Well, just before lockdown, we did a UK tour of our stage-show HOTTER. And one night, in a Travelodge in Edinburgh, mere days before Boris announced lockdown, we both woke up in the middle of the night filled with a feeling of existential dread. To comfort ourselves, we watched Shrek 2 and honestly that film just reminded us how powerful silly & fanciful storytelling is in times of distress. We started reading loads of fairy tales, and we became obsessed with the recurring theme of mute women. So Lem N Ginge is sort of a hybrid of Shrek 2 and Angela Carter. 

How did you get involved with the Written on the Waves project? We have a long-standing relationship with Ellie Keel of Ellie Keel Productions. Some would say she’s our producer, we would say she’s our guardian angel. She teamed up with 45North to put this incredible season of audio plays together over lockdown and introduced us to the wonderful team, who helped us create Lem N Ginge. We owe a lot to them for providing us with work during this time. 

What are you missing about live theatre? Oh hell, everything. The jam-packed theatre bars, the buzzy feel of a Saturday night, hearing loads of people laugh at once, connection with the audience! Dancing with the audience!! Honestly, we are so desperate to be on stage again, the next time we roll out our pink HOTTER stage-floor I’m gonna give it a massive kiss. 

Does it feel different writing for an audio play as opposed to for the stage?Very. In some ways, Lem N Ginge feels like the first real play that Ell and I have actually written because HOTTER and FITTER spring from verbatim material. We’re also used to making lots of visual gags on stage, so that took some getting used to. 

How does it feel to be part of the Written on the Waves project? We’re absolutely chuffed. It’s really impressive what 45North and Ellie Keel Productions have been able to pull off. You know, storytelling has turned out to be so vital during the pandemic. We need escape, and when you can’t escape with your feet, you’ve got to escape with your mind. 

By Emma Clarendon

Lem N Ginge: The Princess of Kakos is set to be released on the 5th October. Find out more here: https://www.forty-fivenorth.com/writtenonthewaves