The director spoke to Love London Love Culture about her upcoming production of Grotty, playing at the Bunker Theatre from 1-26 May 2018.
Hi Hannah, thanks for talking to Love London Love Culture. Could you explain what Grotty is about?
Grotty is a piece that explores the experiences and challenges faced by women in the East London lesbian community, including themes such as confused identity, loss and intergenerational tension within. The piece shows us the behaviour and ways in which these characters act to cope with adversity, such as compulsive tendencies for cruelty, shallowness, gossip and damaging sexual relationships.
And yet, despite these challenging topics, the play actively tackles this story through a satirical lens with wickedly funny characters, including the reckless and wilfully problematic protagonist Rigby. Rigby finds herself in a downward spiral of unadvised sexual relationships with older women, patterns of substance abuse, glimpses of fetish nights and some comically strange situations.
How are you feeling about bringing the play to London?
I’m excited, but also acutely aware that the play may be divisive, and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Female sexuality and behaviour portrayed at its most ugly or raw is something I think we are less acclimatised to seeing – we’re more used to sitting back and watching a lot of men misbehave… But it feels vital to put these queer female stories on stage, especially unfiltered through rose-tinted glasses.
My hope is that the fast-paced comedic tone of the piece and the vibrant characters, as well as moments within the piece that are infused with emotion and even glimmers of hope, will lead audiences to enjoy and connect to the material.
What would you like for audiences to take away from Grotty?
Always a hard one. Of course, an audience entertained and engaged by the story is key. I do also hope that audiences will leave with their eyes opened to an aspect of queer female culture that they may have rarely, if ever, been exposed to. The production will also ideally move and impact audiences in the moments of sadness in the play, whilst also surprise by how much comedy there can be found in the darkness.
How would you describe the show for potential audiences? A helpful sum up I hope – Grotty is a provocative, caustically funny piece centred around East London’s lesbian scene. The story is driven by Rigby, a young woman coming to terms with her sexual identity and to do so, making a lot of self-destructive choices and hanging out with a pretty unforgiving crowd. Expect 70 minutes of witty fast paced dialogue, wonderfully weird environments, and bad behaviour from a lot of fun but fraught female characters.