Interview: The Love Bites plays

Since it began three years ago, Love Bites has produced over twenty new one-act plays by up and coming writers.  This years offering takes place at Waterloo East Theatre and features five new, short plays all set at the same cocktail party.  In a tribute to the Love Bites format Fourthwall caught up with two of this years writers, the youngest,  Edward Franklin and writer and Artistic Director Ziella Bryars and asked them five quick questions.

Edward Franklin has been  making waves on the London fringe theatre scene. He is a blogger and reviewer for arts website ‘A Younger Theatre’, and is currently directing an ensemble of 14 – 17 year olds in a showcase of drama inspired by the work of 20th Century poets. He is hoping for a place at university studying English and Theatre studies next year.  Until then however he is immersing himself in writing, directing and reviewing.

Edward, what motivates you as a writer?

I think if you choose to write for the theatre you have to make the most of the form – the sense of immediacy and intimacy that other mediums don’t offer. So my drive is to create work that can reach out to an audience by being tangibly present: there is surely no greater thrill for an aspiring writer than to imagine words on paper being developed into flesh and blood; motion and voice; the stuff of theatre.

This is your first time writing for Love Bites.  What attracted you to the Love Bites plays?

Because the theme of the Love Bites plays is one that can so easily become hackneyed, I was interested to find out whether I could think outside the box as a writer. Love is a timeless dramatic staple, but it was in considering the alternatives, the grey areas, the territories left to be explored, that Love Bites offered a real challenge.

How did you approach the love and modern relationships theme?

Agonisingly, and from many different angles before settling on the piece I’ve written! Ultimately, I wanted to explore the emotions and experiences that lie underneath and after love; whilst still placing a modern, recognisable relationship centre stage.

Give us a Twitter soundbite, in 140 characters, as to  what the audience can expect?

Two men on the fringe of friendship, some laughs, a liberal sprinkling of poignancy and one very pink cocktail. Fingers crossed anyway!

What’s your favourite cocktail?

A daiquiri – if it’s good enough for Hemingway!

Ziella Bryars has spent the last few years writing primarily for Love Bites, which she also produces and founded. Her plays for Love Bites so far have been Never Kill a Boy on the First DateThe Pitch, A Little Bit of Magic, Good Clean Fun and The Wedding Date – the latter two having also appeared at Southwark Playhouse last year. Her monologue A Room on Greek Street has appeared as part of “The Lost Souls of Soho”, at the Live Theatre Newcastle and in November this year will be on at The Red Room in New York. She is currently working on a full length play called The Drinking Party, a black comedy about four friends stuck in an isolated country house together, and a chick-lit novel on dating.

Ziella, what motivates you as a writer?

Watching great films and plays that tell real-life stories always makes me want to write. Films like the old Woody Allen movies are incredible, watching believable conversations and having that feeling that you’ve been there in a similar moment is very inspiring. It’s such a skill to achieve, so when I see someone do it well it always makes me want to try too. I love real-life, relatable stories. I think it’s a great way of understanding why people behave the way they do and how similar we can all be.

What appealed to you about the theme for this year’s Love Bites plays?

I love the structure of a good love story, whatever sub-genre it falls into. It’s always engaging and I always care about the characters. The stakes feel high when an emotion like love is involved. And it’s relatable, even if the story is about a crush and not some epic all-encompassing love, we all know what that feels like and watching someone struggle through it is powerful and gripping and, ultimately, great entertainment.

How did you approach the love and modern relationships theme?

With comedy! Living in London and hearing all the stories you do about dating – even the sweeter ones – you have to find the whole thing pretty funny. It all feels so random. Whatever system there used to be seems to have vanished. The rules and signals and subtle implications of text messages (was there a question, was there a kiss) has created a new insane creature in its place. And we all try so hard to be cool that it’s quite hard to even end up on a date or in a relationship in the first place. I think it must just be part of modern life right now, so writing about it feels naturally comedic. I should probably apologise in advance here for all the anecdotes I’ve lifted from friends’ real-life experiences!

If you were tweeting about it in 140 characters, how would you sell it?

Strong cocktails, Dutch courage, and two friends who’ve been wrong for each other for years.

What’s your favourite cocktail?

Margarita! I genuinely like Tequila, what that says about me I don’t know.

Follow the company’s progress to opening night on Twitter @lovebitesplays

Tuesday 29th – Saturday 3rd December 2011
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