"Newly written works help us to understand the society we are living in": Richard Wilson on the premiere of GIG
"This guy ordered seven pizzas and then when I called him to buzz me in, he was like “yeah mate, just keep them – we’re not in the mood for pizza any more”. Who’s not in the mood for pizza?" GIG by Atiha Sen Gupta.
When I started directing in the Stables Theatre Club in Manchester in 1968 it was with a new play, Disabled by Peter Ransley. My next play was Commitments by Dusty Hughes at the Bush Theatre in London starring Alan Rickman. Since then I have continued to concentrate on new works including my first production at RADA in 2014, New Labour by Marcelo Dos Santos.
I have always believed that newly written works help us to understand the society we are living in, and it is the theatre’s job to encourage and give voice to plays that are seeking to achieve that.
I also think that it is good for drama school students to have the experience of understanding what might be expected of them when entering the profession, including what will be expected of them when it comes to dealing with a newly written piece of work.
So I was delighted when Edward Kemp asked me if I would like to meet Atiha Sen Gupta and talk about the possibilities of collaborating on a new piece for RADA. The meeting took place and we both agreed that we would be delighted to make a go of it... so GIG was born.
Well no, that’s not right, we didn’t have a title then. We first of all met the final year students and found out a) who they were and b) what sort of play they might want to do. We watched their other final year shows. We both agreed we would like to do a show where they played their own ages and what was happening to young people today. Then GIG was born!
Atiha came up with the title before she wrote the play because the publicity brochures had to be printed! But GIG seemed to allow the right sort of approaches... the GIG economy... every young actor wants a GIG etc. etc.
So our actors have left a drama school eleven months ago and life is not quite what they were expecting...
Richard Wilson, Director
GIG is playing in RADA's Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre from 14-23 March.