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Flotsam a new play by Claire Erasmus at the King’s Head Theatre

Flotsam a new play by Claire ErasmusFlotsam is a new play by emerging writer Claire Erasmus. It is a gripping exploration of our own mortality explored through the undeniable power of female friendship starring Jennifer Aries of BAFTA award-winning Call the Midwife, The Tunnel and Ripper Street.

When an eternal optimist goes for her early morning swim in a quiet seaside town she encounters a messed up misfit who has stuffed her pockets with rocks.

What develops between them is an unlikely friendship that challenges each of their views of the world and ultimately changes their fate.

The King’s Head has a reputation as a hotbed of new drama and hosts a one-off production of a new writer and new play about friendship between two very different women. Claire Erasmus recently chatted with LondonTheatre1 about her new play.

Q: Can you tell us about the play
Laura: It’s about an unlikely and spontaneous friendship, inspired by the life and suffering of a childhood friend. Women can open-up to one another quickly and have a community of experience that encourages this. Jo and Ann bond in a single night, despite huge obstacles, and that’s what fascinates me. The play is about risks women take to connect with one another, to save a stranger, drawn magnetically towards a reflection of themselves.

Q: What values underpin your writing?
Laura: I believe that, communally, people can be a force for good. That connections and fellowship matter, they make us human. I want my work to bear witness to ordinary, extraordinary lives. To those forgotten voices, to their struggles and courage in the face of adversity.

Q: What other artists inspire and inform your work, who would you want to be?
Laura: Those who are ballsy enough to be honest, and challenge the status quo without caring about the impact on their own careers. Frieda Kahlo, Tony Garrett, Paul Abbott, Ken Loach, Caroline Aherne, Emma Thompson, Michael Sheen.

And I don’t want to be anyone else, it’s futile. Ok, occasionally my golden retriever, when she is still snoring, and the alarm goes off.

Q: What’s your view on gender equality
Laura: It feels like things are changing for women in the arts, and that’s exciting, and yet frustrating that it’s still even an issue. If you look at the stats for film or tv written, produced or directed by women there is still a huge gap. Change needs to come sooner.

Q: What have Jenni and Ciara brought to their roles and how have the characters changed from the draft on the page?
Laura: Jenni Aries brings a haunting vulnerability to her portrayal of Jo and an edginess that grips you; she keeps you wondering just what she is capable of. She lurks in the shadows, exhausted by her internal struggles; tired of wearing the masks society demands; tired of reliving the past and, on this night, seeking oblivion.

Ciara Pouncett is a joy, and brings an authenticity and sincerity to Ann. Her exquisite timing and delivery bring out the subtle humour in the text and provide important moments of light for the audience. She loves life, she squeezes the juice out of it; sees the best in people and is drawn to light and beauty.

And then everything changes in an instant when she meets misfit Jo on a beach, on her beach, in the eye of the storm. As their friendship develops, she decides to do something remarkable, something extraordinary.

Q: Which book would be your fantasy choice to adapt as a screenplay, and why?
Laura: Plainsong by Kent Haruf. It gives me hope. It makes me weep.


Flotsam has a single performance at the Kings Head Theatre, Upper Street on Saturday 8th September at 5.00 pm.

Directed by Evy Barry an award-winning film and theatre director who has directed work at The Southwark Playhouse, The Old Red Lion and The Space. Her last short film, Exposure was a finalist at the BAFTA Cymru qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival. She has directed documentaries for all of the main TV channels.

A collaboration between members of Directors Club a creative community-based at the Southwark Playhouse.

King’s Head Theatre Pub 5pm Saturday 8th September 2018
115 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN


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