The VAULT Festival is coming to town! From January 24th to March 18th, over three hundred new shows explode across a festival of festivals in their Waterloo home. With new venues, new bars, new food and plenty of surprises, VAULT 2018 is the biggest, fairest platform in London for artists to present innovative, daring work. Here we had a chat with Sara Joyce (director) and Isobel Rogers (playwright), masterminds behind Elsa, and asked them to do a quick Q&A with each other to discuss anything and everything to do with their play (if you want a quick sneak peek into the kind of humour you’ll be dealing with, have a listen to the wonderful I need a lover/photographer here).
Sara asks Isobel
Why do you think we need more stories through music?
For me I think it helps layer a character and comment on their complexity…the music can play a person’s internal monologue or the part they project to the world.
What do think we need more of on London stages?
I think with cuts in funding comes a sense of competition when theatres ethos lies in community and empathy. Ideally I’d like to see a change in process and more opportunity to affordably collaborate. This in turn will affect the work we see.
Why did you start writing songs and how do you do it?
I started writing songs because it felt like an empowering way to talk about places of vulnerability. Its so easy for women to make themselves the joke rather then the hero in comedy and being in control of the music and lyrics on stage feels like a good way to reclaim that story.
Isobel asks Sara
What would be your ideal play to put on?
Hmmm…right now? I’d like to do a rep event with Hedda Gabler, Phaedra and Medea – adapted of course, no old school costumes and no over- egged language. It’s the plot and those characters that get me. I know that’s technically three plays but fuck it, that’s what I’d like to do.
How do you think the theatre landscape is changing?
Well, I think on one level there’s a move towards the individual in the way work is being made and theatre has always been about community so there’s something disconcerting about that. Theatres and makers feel like they’re becoming more separate and in competition with one another. But there’s an almost total opposition to that way of thinking from a predominantly younger generation who are making work in any London crevice they can afford. It’s mostly brilliant new writing out of necessity to write more roles for broader representation. I think we’re on the brink of a great time in theatre when talent reaps the opportunity it deserves. For now we’re still the clutches of an anarchic system of hierarchy, nepotism and privilege. But that will change, it has to.
Have you ever pretended to be anyone else in order to survive?
Oh yeah..and just for fun too. My friend Bibi and I used to go for tea after youth theatre and we’d do new characters every week. I think I act ways of being though more than a new person – so versions of myself. You know like, really playing confident in situations where you need it etc. I think we all do that to survive, don’t we?
Elsa runs at the VAULT Festival from the 14th -18th of February at 18:15. Tickets and more information can be found here.