In November 2016, a week after the election of Donald Trump, I chaired a post-show Q&A at Philip Ridley’s Tonight with Donny Stixx. That one-man show, which follows a would-be magician who embarks on a shooting spree, captured so much of the rage I felt at the time (and still do).
And now we have this ‘new’ work ANGRY at Southwark Playhouse. In fact, the six monologues collected in the piece are part of upwards of 70 playlets (Ridley refers to as “vespers”) that he’s been writing on and off for decades, initially for he himself to perform when he was a student.
But, while not written as a response to our own dark times, like Tonight with Donny Stixx in the immediate aftermath of Trump and the European Referendum, ANGRY acts like a “tuning fork to the world around it” (a quote from the Donny Q&A).
In the opening titular monologue, the character rants to we watchers in the darkness:
“I am really, really angry. I don’t think I’ve ever been this fucking angry. You don’t know what I’m capable of when I’m as angry as this. You’ve got no idea.”
At the first of three post-show Q&As to ANGRY, Ridley also articulated for me what I so often want to say to people who shrug their shoulders about Donald Trump’s latest assault on human decency. (More on this below.)
In addition to Ridley, director Max Lindsay and the show’s two stars Georgie Henley and Tyrone Huntley took part in the Q&A. The wide-ranging discussion covered the history of the playlets, gender equity and neutrality (all six monologues are performed by each actor in two different versions), the actors’ double debuts (Georgie making her professional stage debut, Tyrone making his non-musical debut), directing techniques, writing tips and performing in the round.
At the end, borrowing the line from ANGRY, I asked all four what made them “really really angry”. Answers included “just about everything”, smoking in the street, “intentional ignorance”, talking in the cinema, the “shitgibbon in the White House”, train timetables and failure to recognise that Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the greatest film ever made. And then, on a more serious note, Ridley summed up my feelings and, based on the huge round of spontaneous applause, those of everyone else:
“It’s a very serious question in the times that we’re now living in. The most angry I get at the moment is with people who are not angry. That’s what we should all be thinking about. We’re going through something that could be very special in many different areas. And the only thing that’s going to motor that through is anger. It’s a time to mobilise that anger, aim it, direct it and not lose energy for it.”
Stay angry, stay outraged, act on it. My next ANGRY post-show Q&A is on Wednesday 28 February with director Max Lindsay and other members of the creative team. Then on Monday 5 March, I’ll reunite with Ridley, Lindsay and the actors again, after a performance of the alternative version of the collection. I hope to see you there. Details of the full post-show series here. See TerriPaddock.com for Q&A photos and live-tweeting…
ANGRY runs at London’s Southwark Playhouse until 10 March 2018, with performances (90 minutes) Mondays to Saturdays at 8pm, Tuesday and Saturday matinees at 3.30pm. Tickets are priced £20, concessions £16. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!