The writer spoke to LLLC’s Emma Clarendon about his debut play at the Old Red Lion Theatre.
Hi Tom, thanks for talking to me. Could you explain what Circa is about?
Sure! Circa is a play that confronts the blurred identity of gay relationships in the 21st century. The play follows the story of one man’s romantic life through the different relationships and the encounters he experiences over a period of 30 years; joining him as he experiences the joys and pitfalls of trying to find love and fulfilment as a gay man.
For heterosexual couples there is a clear ‘life’ blueprint set out which is reinforced by literature over hundreds and hundreds of years. For gay men, there is a history is of affairs/encounters in secret, shame and sexual freedom. It is only in this century that heteronormative ideals like marriage and parenthood are possible and therefore men are still finding their feet. With uncertainty, there are different ideas from person to person which can result in a sense of unfulfillment and, ultimately, loneliness.
How did the idea for the play come about?
My initial inspiration for the play stemmed from two things. One, how I felt relationships and encounters in my formative years have shaped how I now approach relationships. Two, I wanted to take the daisy-chain structure of La Ronde, and change it to follow one man’s relationship and struggles to find what he wants over the course of decades. There have definitely been times in my life where I felt very unfulfilled in terms of what I was looking for from a partner, and not particularly hopeful that it was possible to find. It was from this that Circa was born.
What would you say Circa as a play means to you?
I think it’s a play about life, connection and what it means to be human.
How are you feeling about bringing the show back to London?
I’m so excited. The play has really transformed in the two and a half years since it was last on. I cannot wait to share it with the audience and to see their experience of it. That’s always the most satisfying thing for me because every audience member will have their own individual experience of the play.
What do you hope that audiences will take away from Circa?
I think different people will take away something entirely different based on their own background and experiences. I hope people connect to the relationships they see on stage in one way or another and look inwardly at themselves and their own lives. I think it highlights the importance of celebrating the joyful moments of relationships and cherishing the various people who have impacted our lives one way or another.
By Emma Clarendon
Circa will play at the Old Red Lion Theatre from the 5th to the 30th March.