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Oh For F*cks Sake: Quick Fire Questions

27 April 2021

We sat down with the team behind the brand new audio play Oh For F*ck’s Sake (I’m in Love With You), to find out a little more about the play, its characters and how it’s been brought to life.

Answers are from Writer Samson Hawkins, Director Craig Gilbert and actors Ben Norris and Shaofan Wilson shortly after recording was finished.

So, what is the play about?

Samson: It’s a dystopian rom-com, it follows Robin a litter picker who has accidentally discovered how to grow food. Robin falls in love with a revolutionary from a rival republic and robin has the decision of whether to risk their current safety in monotony or to try to save the world with the person he loves.

Tell us about your character(s), what’s the best bit about bringing them to life?

Shaofan: Alex is a sparky character who has always been on the front foot in survival mode, negotiating the world around her. They are smart and quick-witted but also awkwardly vulnerable in their own way. It was great fun bringing them to life – working out how they navigate and develop their relationship to Robin, unearthing the comedy in the discovery of each other.

Ben: My character’s called Robin and they are absolutely enamoured with Santa Clause (the totalitarian leader of the People’s Republic of Kettering), and with all things Christmas. Robin is charmingly naive, and very enthusiastic about doing their state-sanctioned litter-picking day in, day out, in the hope of one day making it onto the good list. But when they meet Cortobian spy Alex and start questioning everything, their whole life blows up around them. It’s an immensely fun character in an immensely fun play.

­­­­­­­What made you want to create and then tell this story? What’s the inspiration behind it?

Samson: I had a breakup, and with all the spare time I started picking up plastic around my local area. Eventually I started dating people and that started getting in the way of my new found litter picking hobby. I was also living in Oxford at the time, and I find Oxford a bit like a creepy dystopia. I think listened to a Christmas song which, in singing about santa, says “he sees you when you are sleeping” and thought Santa sounded like an evil dictator. I think you merge all those things together and you get Oh for F*cks Sake (I’m in love with you)

What part of the play have you enjoyed the most – why do you think listeners will find it especially entertaining?

Shafoan: A highlight of mine is when Alex and Robin play ‘Ball sports’ – The concept of playing a game that is so recognisable to us and removing all the physics elements is a wonderful image. Just shouting at the ball almost willing it to play itself – it’s great fun!

Ben: It has all the scope of an epic dystopian allegory, but all the playfulness of a long-form sketch. There is physical comedy and linguistic comedy, and some really heartfelt moments too, exploring the power of human connection in a world where it is outlawed. I particularly love all the misremembered phrases that Robin comes out with; the earnestness and conviction with which they say them makes them all the more hilarious.

 From a director’s perspective, how does directing an audio play differ from something performed on a stage?

Craig: Well, I’ve never done it before but it’s a challenging experience because one of the most important storytelling tools you have as a director is the relationship of bodies in space, when making an audio play, that’s taken away from you.  You have to focus really hard on the text and make sure that the details of relationships and story that you’d normally rely on visual storytelling for are expressed in the dialogue and performances.

This play is born out of local talent; why should we support more East Midland creatives?

Craig: This play came from our annual Take Off Prize for New Writing that we partner on with IGC and Arena Wolverhampton.  Every year we see so many excellent applications from writers in the midlands, there is just so much talent in the region.  As a theatre that serves its region its vital we give opportunites to the myriad talented local artists out there and introduce our audiences to the artists making work in the Midlands.

Oh For F*ck’s Sake (I’m in Love With You) is available to listen to until 14 May 2021. It is free to access, with the option to make a donation to the Playhouse.

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