Matthew (who wrote the play and stars in the role of Arthur) gave an exclusive interview to Break A Leg, here’s what he has to say about this new piece of writing that is set to take The Hope Theatre by storm.
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Matthew. Tell me about In Other Words and your inspiration for it…
Well firstly, I love music! I always have, and consider it so capable of provoking such a wide range of emotions in such a powerful way.
Then, in my last year at University of Leeds, I facilitated ten weeks of sensory stimulation and music based workshops in a dementia care home in Leeds. It was such an incredibly eye opening experience.
We would sing at the end of each session, and experienced residents who were seemingly unable to communicate, or were almost totally unresponsive, stand and sing along to a familiar song from their past. It was an incredible and totally inspirational to see these people come to life in that way.
Was it easy to put it all down on paper?
Yes and no. As a topic, it makes so much sense that it would be told in relation to a love story, and once you realize that, it begins to fall into place. Also, I had personal experience, and there is such a wealth of documentaries out there as well as other research, that it’s not difficult to really saturate yourself with information and emotional material.
Is it translating well from page to stage?
Totally. I’m not even sure it should be read at all! I mean, of course it can be, but this is a love story about music, and disease and it is so reliant on sound and a relationship between the audience and performers. With this in mind, it really is getting it on its feet that completes it.
Also , it’s been through a couple of development periods at The Lyric Hammersmith and The Arches in Glasgow, so we’re aware of what works and what we’re trying to achieve.
How is the space at The Hope Theatre lending itself to the piece?
I think it’s an amazing space. Intimacy is perhaps an overused word in theatre, but the hope has it in such a beautiful way, and to not use it to your advantage would be so damaging. There’s a lot of direct audience address in ‘In Other Words’. Our characters Arthur and Jane are telling you, the audience, their story, and hopefully we’ll feel right in the room and part of this with them.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?
Obviously I hope that they leave with some new knowledge, and experience of a new topic. Ultimately though, this is a piece of theatre and we want you to leave feeling something.
Finally, any advice for budding writers?
Umm. Trust your ideas. Try things out, and don’t be scared. I’m not sure… Probably the most reassuring thing I like to be told is remember to enjoy it all. Work with people you like on projects that excite you.
Thanks so much to Matthew for an insightful interview, wishing you all the best with the production.