Spring Mischief: Part 2
Myth is one of a double bill of two new plays at the RSC's month-long Spring Mischief Festival, Wed May 24- Sat June 17.
Myth is a new play about the things we don’t want to see or say. Co-collaborators Matt Hartley and Kirsty Housley reveal all at Susie’s Cafe Bar in The Other Place.
KIRSTY HOUSLEY & MATT HARTLEY: MYTH
Myth centres around two socially mis-matched couples at a wine-fuelled London dinner party. Sarah is shocked when husband George, invites their slightly older, more established friends Tom and Laura around to their new home. Sarah hasn’t seen Laura since behaving disgracefully at Laura’s daughter’s second birthday party, and as the wine flows, their civilised dinner party descends into drunken chaos. Their lives may be irreparably changed…
Award-winning theatre director and writer Kirsty Housley explains: “It’s like Come Dine with Me – two worlds collide: a wealthy metropolis high earning couple ahead of the people hosting, in terms of living standards in London. The younger couple are living in a less desirable part of London. It’s about things we find difficult to talk about, what where you live says about you, how you judge people and success. Sarah is an account manager at an ad firm and George is a primary school TA; while Tom’s an account exec with JP Morgan in the city and Laura, a PR officer. They are part of a world we are very familiar with.”
“With a dinner party we wanted to lead the audience down a path of safety, then we pull the rug away,” she continues. “You think. you’re watching couples falling out but the play inverts – it turns on itself. The couples get trapped in the story. It’s ‘an experience’.” Ironically for co-collaborators Kirsty and Matt Hartley dinner parties are an “alien concept” at present. Kirsty, whose partner is Hot Fuzz actor Colin Carmichael, said: “I have two children under three and I just don’t do it. You can come to my house and you can have a takeaway or cook! Although I’m awkward to cook for – I’m, vegan.” Matt nodded in agreement: “I have a 10-month-old daughter!”
Kirsty and Matt met four years ago on a writer’s programme in Bristol, but this is the first time they’ve worked together collaboratively on a project. Kirsty is a recipient of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award and the Title Pending award for innovation at Northern Stage. An Associate of international touring company, Complicite, she recently co-directed The Encounter at The Barbican. The Warwick University Theatre and Performance Studies graduate said: “The RSC offered me a dramaturge and I needed someone who can write good dialogue, so we talked about who I might work with and they said: ‘Do you know Matt?’ and I thought’ that’s brilliant! We get on.” Matt’s recent work includes Here I Belong (Pentabus)), Sixty Five Miles (Paines Plough/Hull Truck Theatre) which won the Bruntwood Award, and Burning Cars, winner of Best Foreign Play at the French Theatre Awards in 2013. He said: “It’s given me the opportunity to try things we would not be able to do in another organisation. The RSC’s very supportive and The Other Place is a brilliant space. It does feel like you can be a bit freer. You appreciate moments like these.”
Another of Matt’s new plays, Deposit is running in London’s Hampstead Theatre at the same time as Myth – a thought-provoking comedy about Generation Rent, the exorbitant housing property ladder in the Capital and house shares. He and his wife, a BBC radio drama producer, are actually out of that modern conundrum – they live in Cardiff; while Kirsty’s just moved from London to Margate. The RSC has reallocated Kirsty, Colin and their two children to Stratford for the duration of the festival. “It’s less unsettling than me coming-and-going!” she says. Matt said: “The RSC has gone out of their way to manage family life and work, which is ridiculously progressive – they are leading the way. Having Erica at the helm, as a relatively new parent, has helped to get that forward.”
Myth is part of a double-bill with The Earthworks by another of Britain’s most promising playwrights Tom Morton-Smith. Read an interview with Tom here. Of Myth the RSC’s deputy artistic director Erica Whyman said: “Matt Hartley and Kirsty Housley are terrific collaborators and embody perfectly the spirit of Radical Mischief, of experiment, enquiry and playfulness which is at the heart of The Other Place.” Also showing at the festival are two Works in Progress:
Busking It, Michel Saint-Denis rehearsal space at The Other Place, Fri June 2 – A one-women show sharing a busker’s experiences from nearly 10 years singing on the London tube performed by Danusia Samal, 2.30pm, £5.
#WeAreArrested, Michel Saint-Denis rehearsal space at The Other Place, Fri June 16 – An account of journalist Can Dündar’s arrest and subsequent exile from Turkey following his newspaper’s decision to publish photographic evidence of covert arms dealing to Islamic fundamentalists in Syria, 2.30pm, £5.
The Earthworks and Myth run as a double-bill in the Studio at The Other Place from Wed May 24- Sat June 17, 7.30pm / 1.30pm, rsc.org.uk, Tel: 01789 403493