Director Bex Law introduces our next production Wasted by Kae Tempest.
How did you discover this play and what about it inspired you to direct it?
Kae’s work has been on my radar since they made Brand New Ancients at BAC, and their Glastonbury set a few years ago was amazing. When I found they’d written a play suited to SLT I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! The urgency and honesty of Ted, Danny and Charlotte’s story is perfectly told. Kae’s writing encompasses both naturalistic scenes full of witty banter and home truths, alongside more poetic sections that are fresh and exciting to hear. The central theme of the play also struck close to home for me personally, and it’s been great to have the opportunity to explore those parts of life that often remain unspoken.
Tell us more about the characters we’ll meet and the themes we’ll see explored.
Ted, Danny and Charlotte are all Londoners in their mid-twenties, and have been friends forever. Wasted takes place over a weekend in their lives that has deep significance to all three, and explores the tensions and impact past events are still having on their friendship. They’re all at a precipice in their lives, and this weekend makes them wrestle with their baggage, each other, and potentially life changing decisions. The ‘wasted’ of the title resonates through the story, hinting towards getting wasted on drink and substances, but also exploring the concept of wasted lives.
What has been the biggest challenge of directing this show?
We’ve spent a fair amount of time playing with the poetic chorus sections. It’s been great fun working out all the different ways these sections can come alive. Everytime I hear them I notice different words and phrases coming to the fore, and the actors have been great at letting the core emotions and message bleed through the gorgeous structure and rhythm of the lines. Once you add in movement as well, you end up with lovely complex, knotty, funny, and poetic moments held together by Kae’s commitment to truth and connection. So, quite a challenge to nuture all that into fruition, but I think we’ve got there!
What’s been your favourite aspect of directing this show?
The people! Ben (Ted), Jacob (Danny) and Maddie (Charlotte) have been so much fun, and worked hard as well. And Awa (Assistant Director) and Mark (Stage Manager) are being such wonderful, generous members of the gang. The rehearsal room has been full of laughs, despite (or maybe because of?) some of the darker, deeper themes. And I’ve loved seeing the cast find the funny one liners and physical comedic moments – they’re mixed in there amongst all the emotional angst!
What do you hope audiences take away from seeing Wasted?
I hope audiences will have a fun, entertaining evening, as well as being moved by these brilliant, complex characters and their struggles. Hopefully they’ll be challenged a bit as well. It’s a very life affirming play, in the end. Kae says it best really in some of the closing lines… “Life wants you – it beckons – makes itself immense. Respect it – take it in your arms, connect and face it.”
Wasted runs October 26-October 30.