We spoke to E V Crowe about her play BRENDA – a compelling and unconventional new play that will premiere at HighTide Festival 2015 from 10-20 September before transferring to The Yard Theatre from 22 September – 17 October. BRENDA is a Daniel Brodie Productions and HighTide Festival Theatre co-production and is directed by HighTide Artistic Associate, Caitlin McLeod (And I And Silence – Signature Theater, New York).
Broke and losing hope fast, this story is about Brenda and Robert. Brenda doesn’t think she’s a person. Robert thinks he knows what it will take to change her mind. He’s ready to try anything.
Tell us in a sentence why we should see your play.
I suppose we hope that it’s something new, but also very real.
What inspired you to write this play?
One morning I woke up and I didn’t feel like a person and I know I’m not special as in I don’t have special feelings that are particular only to me, so I knew that other people must have felt it too. During the process of writing and making the play I’ve tried to honour that feeling and not to be cynical about it.
I really love how people carve out strong moments of theatre in their own lives. Theatre is so natural to us. I’m interested in showing normal people using the tools of theatre in every day life, and then using ‘Theatre’ to show that happening and what it might reveal about us.
What’s your favourite play of 2015 so far and why
I think the Velveteen Rabbit at the unicorn was my favourite play this year. I like plays that acknowledge and accept they are plays. And we are all pretending together. It was very subversive and moving and surprising. I also didn’t feel like it was wrong to be crying on my own at a children’s play. I would like to see more hard core children’s theatre. It’s like starting at the beginning.
Which emerging writers currently excite you?
I don´t know if they are emerging, maybe forever emerging…I like the makers like Tim Crouch, Alexander Zeldin, Anthony Neilson and Purni Morrel. I like Debbie Tucker Green, Penelope Skinner, Caryl Churchill, and Arnold Wesker and Arthur Miller and Edward Albee. American writers like Amy Herzog, Annie Baker, Anne Washburn. I like anyone who puts themselves on the line, takes a risk and exposes a truth about their experience of the world. I am also reading Nell Zink and Paul Bowles.
What are you looking forward to most about HighTide Festival 2015?
The Sea. Fish. And talking to Anders and Al and other people who are into the world and also theatre. People making theatre, taking risks on new work seem very exposed and very under supported for the most part and although it makes life hard in a practical sense, it also sometimes makes them most likely to be able to say something risky that changes something inside an audience member or just right to your face afterwards. I hope something happens to me that I couldn’t have predicted.
BRENDA premieres at HighTide Festival 2015 from 10-20 September before transferring to The Yard Theatre from 22 September – 17 October.