The director chatted to us about directing Matthew Morrison’s DANCE at the King’s Head Theatre.
Hi Charlotte, could you tell me a bit about what DANCE is about?
Dance is a funny and unpredictable story exploring the after effects of a public shaming at a gig which goes viral, leading teenager Kemi and her Dad concocting a plan for revenge. It’s a powerful piece, told using energetic dark humour, looking at the impact of social media on mental health, particularly in young people.
What were your first impressions of the play when you read it?
I was captivated. Matthew Morrison is such a clever storyteller and I was lost in the twists and turns of the story, barely able to come up for air. I instantly knew how much fun it would be to direct.
How have you been finding the experience of bringing DANCE to the stage so far?
After directing an online film version of the piece last year, it’s been really wonderful looking at the play in a whole new light for the stage this time around. Having felt so isolated this last 18 months, it’s been just magical working with Christopher Harper and Saffron Coomber on a play which relies so heavily on the power of connection, and we’re enjoying weaving that through the way we stage the production too.
How does it feel to be bringing it to the King’s Head Theatre?
I’m a huge fan of the King’s Head’s always-eclectic programme of theatre, often reflecting many areas of forgotten society. Having seen so much work there over the years, I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of their Playmill Festival alongside a wealth of other brilliant productions which I can’t wait to see.
What do you think that audiences will take away from the play?
This play really sparks conversation: about our reliance on screens and social media; about the best ways to respond to bullying; and about where the moral line is with regards to avenging the pain inflicted on our loved ones. I hope the audience will be gripped, stunned and left full of ideas about what they’d have done in the same situations.
How does it feel to be creating theatre for live audiences again?
Joyful! As we all know, there’s been a huge void in live experience which only performance can fill. I have just loved sitting in auditoriums again, connecting with strangers, and so having the chance to rehearse something which I know can change each night, based on the feel of the audience in the room is just so special.
By Emma Clarendon
DANCE will play at the King’s Head Theatre from 12-17 July 2021.