Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Five writers: one play

It might not be the sexiest word in the English language, but just now "collaboration" has British theatre buzzing. Directors are collaborating with artists, musicians and choreographers to create work that is experimental and vibrant. Actors are seizing control of the stage and devising work themselves. About the only people who aren't doing much collaborating are playwrights.

Which is why Catch, a new play by five writers opening this week at the Royal Court in London, is such a tantalising prospect. Working together wasn't their idea. As one of them, April de Angelis, puts it: "Nobody would seriously think: 'What a good idea, to write with four other people.'" The idea was suggested by Ian Rickson, outgoing artistic director at the Royal Court. It came to him when raking through the theatre's archives for the theatre's 50th anniversary. A similar collaboration took place at the Court in 1971 between seven young men, including David Hare, Howard Brenton and Stephen Poliakoff. The group's aim then was to break out of fringe theatres into "establishment" spaces. The play, Lay By, succeeded in kickstarting their careers.
More from Maddy Costa in The Guardian.

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