What inspired you to write Existential Fish and Dread? Why this story?
Martha: I’d been thinking about the title for a while, but the idea really came together when Stephen Hawking died. Turns out that as ridiculous as it might sound, I really believed that he would figure out where the universe came from and what it all means, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. I wanted to capture that stomach-dropping moment where you realise that actually, you’re probably never going to find out – and whether that actually matters.
I think questions and worries about who we are and whether life means anything simmer beneath the surface for a lot of people, and I’ve always thought of the theatre as the best place to tackle these massive, often unanswerable questions. For me, theatre is a space to take a step back and ponder something from a safe distance. That’s what I wanted to do here – to create two authentic characters to think through the question, come up with as many angles as they could, and leave it up to the audience to decide what they think, if that’s something they want to decide at all.
Having just completed the Emerging Director’s program, how do you feel this has helped you on this project?
Gwenan: I can’t speak highly enough about the Emerging Director’s program, it really has changed my life. The Bread and Roses theatre have provided me with the knowledge, guidance and confidence to create my own work and I am so happy to be taking Existential Fish and Dread to their amazing venue. The program provides such a great platform to meet and work with other creatives – I would highly recommend it to any new director!