The Engine Room Cafe
Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Sunday, May 13, 2012
A World Premiere by Luke Barnes for Latitude Festival 2012
A HighTide Festival Theatre Production
A free event.
We value truth in this family. Carpe Diem. Seize the day. We’re all just food for worms.
Charades is fun, right, with those people, yes, your family, the ones you try to get away from at Christmas. For the Pilgrims though it’s not simply a family affair, this is more than a game, this…. Is an Eisteddfod.
During the Festival we will pitch a tent and invite you to an intimate performance giving a flavour of this major new work. Meet Luke Barnes and join Director Rob Drummer at this bespoke installation in the Engine Room Café.
Written by Luke Barnes
Directed by Rob Drummer
Meet the Playwright
Tell us in a sentence why we should see Eisteddfod at the Latitude Festival 2012.
It's got music, dancing, poetry, willy jokes and some serious stuff as well... it's like a family drama underscored by a saxophone with Irish dancers.... that makes it sound shit... it's good.. is that a way of saying it? Can I say you should come and see it because it's good?
Why did you decide to become a writer?
I'm also an actor, although I haven't done much recently because I've got carried away with the writing, I wrote my first play when I was on a TV job sitting in a trailer... But really my fascination with writing started with a director called Vicky Jones. She taught at my drama school and introduced us to lots of writers (Ed Hime, Joel Horwood, James Graham, Frazer Flintham, Penny Skinner, Amy Rosenthal etc..) and, for the first time, since I left drama school writing became relevant. In drama school you do a lot of classics, a lot of Shakespeare, Williams etc.. but suddenly it became... relevant. She introduced me to Suzanne Bell (now at the Royal Exchange) and Lindsay Rodden at the Liverpool Everyman Playhouse and they got me in to read a lot of the young writers' plays which I found fasinating in terms of the variation of voices... then my friend started a new writing festival in Croatia (Nu:write if you want to check it out) and I went to a fundraiser and I saw a piece by Joel Horwood (who I mentioned earlier, and is probably a massive influence on me without knowing it), about two office workers produced by nabokov and it was so simple, effective, primal. It was literally just a story told in a room and that clicked with me and I went away and started writing my first play that night.... naturally it got abandonded until I was in that trailer later on... but that's how it started.
What inspired you to write this play?
When Rob and I sat down to talk about Eisteddfod, the thing that excited me most was writing for a festival, the idea of people being pissed and lary (hopefully), a charged atmosphere... or, alternatly, something that will keep a lot of pissed and sleep deprived people awake for an hour. But I was really excited by the idea of the festival and, more specifically, Latitude. I was really excited by creating something in the wild, in the open air right in the middle of the country so we started talking about folk tales and oral traditions and how that would work as a narrative... then, after lots of talking and workshopping, we found out about Eisteddfods and started working on that... then the deadline for a title came and it very quickly got called Eisteddfod.. which is one of those happy accidents that forces you to act of impluse and not let the brain do too much talking...
Who inspires you and how do they inform your work?
The biggest influence of my work are 3 people: 1) Bill Shankly 2) my Grampa and 3) my Mum. Bill Shankly was the first great manager of Liverpool football club, the place where I'm from, and he said a million things that I hold really close to my heart, but there are a few that i think really hit home with playwriting.
-"the big men use words that only 5% of the population understand, they try to confuse people, but we, we are professionals because we understand simplicity, we use the language that everyone understands, I would never call a man avaricious... I'd call him bloody greedy"
- "if everyone does the little jobs to the best of their ability then that's the way to a better world. in the army we had to do some terrible jobs, we had to clean the latrines, but I would want my latrine to be cleaner than the man next to me's and if everyone thought that the world would be a better place. If I was a binman I'd want my streets to be the cleanest in the world so the people could come out and be proud of the place they live"
... I could go on but I'll leave you with this.. in 70/71 season Liverpool lost the FA cup final, so Shankly gathered his team on the steps of St George's Hall (the finest neo-classical building in the world) and the fans all came to see.. it was rammed more than expected turned up he gave a speech that began.... "since I came here, to Liverpool, I have drummed it into my players... Time and Time again... that is is their PRIVILEGE to play for you. And if they don't believe me... They will believe me now."
And that's the philosophy I hold onto theatre, tv, film, radio etc... it is your privilege to have people spend an hour or two with your imagination... so you'd better do something worth engaging with.
I won't go into the rest in as much detail. My Grampa because he is a constant reminder (even though he's sadly passed away) of where I come from. And my Mum because if she ever says "oh I don't like the sound of that" it's probably worth writing.
A free event. Drop in to the Engine Room Cafe at The Cut anytime between 12-7pm.