As part of the run-up to the Fringe we’re going to provide you guys with some interviews with our cast and crew to give you a more insightful view of the development of the play. Below is our first interview with the writer of ‘Young Pretender’ – E V Crowe.
1) What made you choose to write a play based around the character of Bonnie Prince Charlie?
I wanted to find a way to write about what it means to set out to do something in your twenties, to become the person you imagine you’re going to be and then to be forced to accept that it might not happen. And I've had a protracted interest, call it a 'history crush', on Bonnie Prince Charlie for years. Most English people don't know who he is, or that he almost led a successful invasion against Scotland and England. He's a kind of activist of his time, someone willing to put himself on the line for an idea. It's easy to be dismissive of someone in retrospect, when their plans fail, but often the margin between loser and winner is pretty small. To me, that feels politically very resonant right now, but also reflective of every person I know in their twenties. What it means to try and back yourself and to live bravely, or fail to.
2) Whilst still at a very early stage, how are you finding the rehearsal process and the transition of your script to stage?
It's great to see the idea of the play taking shape in the actors' processes and Joe Murphy and I have worked closely on the development of the script, so that moment of transition from sitting in a room on my own to being with lots of other artists is pretty galvanizing.
3) Have you written for the Fringe before? If so, what was your experience like?
I wrote and directed a play for Edinburgh at the end of university. Edinburgh Festival was a fearsome beast, but hopefully the gods will favour the brave. .
4) What draws you to writing for theatre over other mediums?
I think theatre is the only medium for people who don't grow up with a camera or a sound kit. You don't need anything to start making theatre, and for me it retains that honesty and simplicity as a form. It just is what it is, it's real, it's happening in front of you and can't press pause.
5) How crucial was research in your writing of the play?
I did a fair bit of research into the Jacobites and Bonnie Prince Charlie himself also about revolution, the 'Arab Spring', the Scottish Independence movement, talked to activists. But this is a play that seeks to dig beneath who did what when, and looks at the heart of the matter. The only reason I'm interested in 1745, is for what it tells us about being alive right now.
I think you'll agree - very perceptive and interesting answers there!
Her reasoning behind choosing such a dynamic and interesting character really highlights how much this play tries to bring history to life and deliver something new to the audience. Clearly the reality of Bonnie Prince Charlie holds a lot of dramatic material.
Also, Emma’s hope/confidence in both the fringe and theatre highlights the highly human and almost ‘natural’ feel to the medium of theatre – that association of directly presenting something to an audience in person and giving them a fresh experience is what the Fringe is all about in my eyes.
Wise words from a writer already going far, and very likely to make a big name for herself…
We’ll have more interviews up soon!
Underbelly (Belly Button), Cowgate.