What inspired you to create this show? Why this story?
George (Writer, Co-Director): Mental health and the way the mind works has been an influence on the things I create, deliberately or not, for as long as I’ve been conscious of it. I think that’s probably the case for a lot of artists and I’ve found that the concept of how the psyche drives people's decisions has inwardly influenced my writing, just as it has outwardly influenced my thoughts, feelings and actions, for as long as I can remember.
This play has been a long time coming.
I’ve been desperately wanting to write something about my own experiences and struggles with mental health, as well as the events that have affected that, for better or for worse, for a long time. As previously mentioned, I’ve touched on themes and events in other pieces of writing, but I’d never properly dived into the concept as a whole. I think a big part of this was the fear that I just wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Mental health is such a sensitive subject (and rightly so) for so many people, including myself, that I worried by translating it to stage it would seem as if I were making light of it, or it would tip the other way and that I would end up writing something that was too heavy and almost seemed preachy and both of those outcomes would be unworthy of what I wanted to communicate with this play and just felt...fake. So, after a lengthy period of going back and forth, swapping ideas and characters and gradually developing a world that increasingly became more detached from mine, the first draft of BEGIN: came into life. This version of the play, which would eventually metamorphosise into what you see on stage, has elements of the real: some story beats are semi-autobiographical and at their most fundamental, the characters are amalgamations of extreme characteristics drawn from people that I have known. However, by creating an absurdist piece which blends acting, movement and live music, alongside characters whose extreme traits transform them into caricatures of their own psyches driven by their worst qualities, I believe we have created a world alien enough for the audience to lose themselves in the story, but with enough similarities that they will leave the theatre able to see their own reality mirrored in that which we have created on stage, able to assess the relationship they hold with their own mind as well as those around them and perhaps begin to see the little changes they can make, in their lives and their communities, for the betterment of themselves and those around them.
What do audiences have to look forward to?
Carmen (Co-Director, Stage Manager): An exciting piece of new theatre from an emerging theatre company! We are incredibly excited to present BEGIN: for its first run at The Bread and Roses Theatre. Born from the brain of George we have spent months bringing this show into reality. BEGIN: explores themes of mental illness in an absurd and funny way from the perspectives of the character B, M and E. Having performed earlier in the summer at the Barnstaple Fringe Theatre Fest and having fantastic feedback we are ecstatic to share it with the audiences at the Bread and Roses.
Alfie (Performer: B): The audience should be prepared to see the dystopian framing of a fractured mind, where reality decays to separation alongside moments of alleviating stillness.
Justine (Performer: E, The Boss): BEGIN is definitely a very interesting, original show with great directorial choices and a complex story that engages the audience
George: This is only our second show as a company, but I believe that one of our strengths is that we all come from such varied backgrounds and draw inspiration from so many different places that all of these elements somehow blend together to create explosive performance that has a little bit of a lot! Expect live music, naturalistic acting blended with surrealist movement and hopefully a play that will leave you thinking.