When did you first start creating Two Short Stories and how long did it take to make the production?
Ryan: The production is still being created as we speak. We have been trying to find a platform to debut a Bag of Beard production since leaving Drama School last year and when this slot arose we thought it would be fit our style perfectly. But the individual pieces are relatively new.
Alex: ‘Torn Apart’ started life as a dissertation piece at Italia Conti, so it’s had a workshop production before, but it’s playwrights are performing it in it’s current version. Whereas ‘Bath’ was only written a few months ago, so it’s pretty hot off the press.
Ryan: We see ourselves as a grassroots theatre company, so it’s proper rehearsing in living rooms and bedrooms whenever we get a chance. Both plays are in full swing, and we’ll come together as a whole company in the next few weeks and start running the show in its entirety.
Alex: Dynamic new writing was always the inspiration for our first piece. Two Short Stories is our statement as a company, that we’re out to create theatre that hits an audience, and leaves them wondering before we outstay our welcome.
Ryan: And Torn Apart is really gritty, modern theatre that is going to be as touching as it is funny, and wouldn’t be out of place at the Royal Court, that kind of style. London characters, with heart.
Alex: Bath is more surreal, almost Pinter-esque. Lots of fast dialogue and out of control characters, about gambling and spivs in the 60s. Both pieces have a driving intensity and rhythm behind them.
Ryan: It all started in our second year of training when Alex and me discussed the sort of theatre that we found most powerful and enjoyable to watch and perform. Discussing new interpretations and ideas for the kind of classic texts we were working on then.
Alex: And we went from throwing these ideas around to workshopping bits of new writing that we came across, writing stuff ourselves and planning for the future, after we’d graduated.
Ryan: In our final year, we wrote a play together that we created by improvising between the two of us over a couple of beers, and that eventually became our dissertation. And we decided that we’d try and continue this partnership.
Alex: And beyond this production, we’re looking to start something really immediate and exciting, theatrically. In this current political and social climate, theatre needs to have that utter immediacy, where you can’t look away from it, it’s a car crash, but a great one, and leave the audience with as many questions as answers.
Ryan: Revolution, in a way. The intensity. It’s too easy to whimper at all that constant scaremongering, it’s better to make a statement and try and articulate something that might register with the audience. But the bottom line is, we want to tell stories - well. We don’t have an agenda, we just have stories that we think people would want to hear.
Alex: And we don’t know what the next thing is yet. But the ideas that are up in the air for the next project are incredibly exciting. Let’s see how this one goes.
Alex: It’s the fact that the plays are set in a flat, a pub and a massive mansion full of antiques, and we’re creating these worlds very minimally. We’ve got to be imaginative.
Ryan: But if we do our jobs, it’ll be seamless.
What can we most look forward to from your production?
Ryan: It’s our first show, both plays have a lot of humour, but both have a sting in the tail, either emotionally or with a sense of danger.
Alex: Both of them should raise a smile, then have a tinge of reality, of threat. They’re dark and thrilling plays.
Ryan: We hope you enjoy it.
Two Short stories runs 6th to 10th March at 7.30pm.