“You know, I just wish life was a little more John Lewis”
Poleroid Theatre is a fresh, new venture of recent GSA graduate Molly Roberts.
After a tweet storm of admiration for the piece following its first performance in Theatre503, I made my way along to Camden’s Etcetera Theatre to see what all the fuss was about. I had intended to book days before but, as usual, numerous things got in the way, and I regretfully adopted the cavalier attitude, as we all sometimes do, in regards to fringe performances: “There’ll be tickets left”. Low and behold I was mistaken, not only was it sold out but I was third on the reserve list. Disheartened, I bought a pint, grabbed a stool and waited for the performance to finish.
Flickbook is described as a “fast-paced 60 minutes of new writing and different takes on relationships in modern society”.
Although I didn’t see the piece, I was fortunate enough to chat with the producer Molly Roberts and actor Scott Arthur.
What inspired the creation of Flickbook?
SCOTT: With theatre like it is at the moment, where you need to be a name to get into things and you have to have a great CV to get anywhere, it initially creates an opportunity for actors to put on their own work.
So tell me about the piece.
SCOTT: It’s pockets of life, pegging up a series of polaroid photographs…a flickbook of life.
MOLLY: I was keen to cast the right people who could play to the strengths of the characters, certain people literally slotted into it. I wanted to make it as naturalistic as possible.
For you it’s all about the reality then?
MOLLY: In drama school you have to play such ridiculous stereotypes and kind of out of your castibility. I want to bring it back down to give people an opportunity to showcase themselves for what they truly are.
You’ve listed six writers here. Was this a collaborative piece?
MOLLY: We had so many submissions from new writers that I didn’t want to just pick one. We chose writing that had similar themes and some of the actors wrote some stuff so it really was a collaborative effort. I was worried about pieces jarring but it worked.
Have you got any advice for people wanting to start their own companies?
MOLLY: Well, I was very lucky because I had some money put away, I had saved up a little bit. You have to promote it in the right way, it’s all about the design. You have to think you’re more than you are at the start or you’re not gonna get anywhere. There’s no point in planning it and saying “I want a company and maybe we’ll do this in a year”, just go for it.
What vision do you have for the type of work Poleroid is going to produce?
MOLLY: I want to create comedy with a darker edge. I know it sounds wank but it has to be edgy, unconventional writing.
It has to be real?
MOLLY: Not even real it just has to be a bit…um….off-beat. It has to make a statement. I want the audience to be laughing one minute and then to have the rug completely pulled out from underneath their feet, so they’re like “Oh shit! That just happened” [she clocks imaginary spectators around her with an awkward, unsure look].
So what’s next for Poleroid?
MOLLY: We’re doing a new development of Flickbook at the White Bear in January and a new piece of theatre based on Adam O’Brian’s work on the the high amount of disappearances and killings of women in London at the moment.
SCOTT: Adam, who I was in college with, is a really good writer, writes fantastically complex comedic things and Molly said they wanted to get new writers on board and I really thought his writing should get seen.
MOLLY: It’s kind of a thirty minute portrayal of the darker side to loneliness and that’s going to be a prologue to the newly developed Flickbook. So we’ll do that, maybe get a transfer? We’d love to get to Latitude Festival.
This may be a really controversial spelling mistake but…
MOLLY: Pol-ER-oid? Copyright reasons. Spelling it slightly differently will help incase there are any issues and people may think they’ve spelt it wrong but to be honest, I genuinely thought that’s how polaroid was spelt to start with…[a sly smile creeps across her face, as she mocks her earlier words]…it’s edgy man!
It is evident that this company has a lot to give, their enthusiasm and eagerness is overflowing as they try to beat each other to answer the next question. Two sold out premieres and a transfer already secured, I think we are going to see great things from Poleroid Theatre…let’s just hope the next piece I actually do get to see.
Directors - Gareth Aled and Molly Roberts
Writers - Gareth Aled, Helen Armes, Peter Groom, Adam O’Brian, Kandyce Walters, Katy Wix
Cast - Scott Arthur, Joanna Bool, Chris Kinneston, Molly Roberts, Ben Riddle, Kandyce Walters
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