When Polly and Joan asked me to write a passage about a playwright who has inspired me my mind almost instantly turned to the great, and much derided, Edward Bond. Edward is most known for his seminal masterpiece, 'Saved', which includes the infamous scene of a group of young men stoning a baby. This play actually changed the censorship laws in this country and catapulted Edward to the ranks of great theatrical writers. What I would like to raise here is the fact that many of Edward’s works, particularly his most recent tend to get avoided and ignored by most of our major theatres.
Why is this? Supposedly Edward has fallen out with a lot of people in the past and this is regularly brought up when people attempt to mount one of his plays. I was incredibly fortunate to be given the chance to work with Edward on his rarely performed play 'The Under Room'. Before our first day I was terrified. I had heard all of these stories, he will be explosive, the second you do something that he doesn't like he will walk off. What I found however was the exact opposite. Yes Edward is blunt, yes he will disagree with your thoughts, yes he might say something you did is terrible but he does all of this because he cares. He cares about the effect his work will have on an audience and he cares about what the production has to say about it. Edward was completely accommodating towards me and my cast, and he fully collaborated with our work and was highly supportive. The three weeks I spent with him were rewarding, exhilarating and opened my eyes and ears.
So what I would like to say to you lovely Mono Box members is to check out his work, particularly his not so known work. Edward writes amazing characters that push boundaries and take their existence to extreme places. He is not big on subtext and writing subtle nuances around what lurks beneath, rather he smashes through this barrier with a hammer and presents on stage what is really going on in all it's uncomfortable glory. I encourage you to look at plays such as, 'The Children', an amazing post apocalyptic journey play about a group of children lost in the wilderness, it's like a cross between Lord Of The Flies and The Road. There's 'The Under Room', the one I directed, a mind bending battle between three characters and 'The Popes Wedding', Edward’s first ever play that is almost a precursor to 'Saved' but in a world where violence constantly threatens to burst out onto the surface.
There are wonderful characters, wonderful speeches and stories to blow your mind. So check it out!
Hamish is a director and regular collaborator with The Mono Box.