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Guest Blog: Writer Matt Wilkinson On Revenge Play PSYCHODRAMA

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This drama premiere is a monologue performed by Emily Bruni

Guest Blog: Writer Matt Wilkinson On Revenge Play PSYCHODRAMA
Emily Bruni in Psychodrama

About 18 months ago, I learned of a WhatsApp group created by a small group of actress friends. All of them are experienced professionals, some of them could even said to be stars, and they were sharing accounts of industry abuses and injustices which they had personally encountered.

It was a kind of self-help group for a collection of very smart, very self-aware women who loved a laugh. And the stories, though often painful, were extremely funny. There were the usual power plays meted out in auditions: "I was forbidden at any point to speak to the director"; casual abuse of time and money: a mother-of-two who was told to board a plane to LA, where she would have a one-on-one with a famous Hollywood director who loved her tapes - only to pay the fare, get on the plane, stay in the hotel, walk into the room, and find out he wouldn't be showing up. Ever.

There were those who had proposed and created theatre and TV shows, only to be left on the casting room floor when the roles were dished out. And those blacklisted for insulting a director or casting director by daring to say "No". And these anecdotes are, of course, by far the most innocuous.

To me, though, they remained vivid as I began writing Psychodrama, a monologue play about an actress in her 40s under investigation for the murder of an auteur theatre director. Cool and witty, the actress's tale weaves lightly from the initial police interview, through the world of her flat, shop work, auditions, to landing, against all odds, the role of Marion Crane in a soon-to-be-ground-breaking stage vision of Alfred Hitchcock's iconic film, Psycho.

Gradually, she becomes enmeshed not only with her character, but her director too. And as the drama reaches its peak, we sense what truly drives her - a passionate desire to break out of her isolation and truly connect.

In part, it's a kind of revenge play. Lots of nods to what it's like to be a female artist in an industry obsessed with stardust and youth. But more than that, I think it's about anyone who's experienced betrayal in the workplace or in love. And it should be totally gripping and very funny.

Psychodrama was originally scheduled for the Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, but then the virus struck. After some discussion, we thought let's do it where we live in Kentish Town. After a few dead ends, a very cool local bar and restaurant ,with a spacious downstairs room, heard about what we were doing and invited us in.

With our producer Pádraig Cusack, we went about assembling the most fantastic team we could think of, which now includes Emily Bruni (Peep Show), designer James Turner (Toast), lighting designer Elliot Griggs (Fleabag), and sound designer Gareth Fry (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

These past few weeks have been thrilling, turning our found space into a theatre as well as creating a totally Covid-secure experience for our audience. In Emily's hands, the play is hilarious, moving and filled with suspense. The lighting is stunning. The soundtrack is gorgeous.

And if you want to speak to the director afterwards, this one would be really delighted.

The world premiere of 'Psychodrama' is at Never for Ever (formerly Pizza East) in Kentish Town on 12-22 November. Tickets can be purchased by visiting
https://neverforeverkt.com/psychodrama



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