In this blog post, We Are Kilter reflect on the political landscape in the last couple of years and its effect on young Londoners. Don’t miss The Others on Friday March 16 at 9pm as part of Sprint 2018.
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Sometimes we feel like we’re screaming into a black night sky; like we’re giving it everything we’ve got but there’s no one there to hear us. We think this feeling is something that is echoed in so many different ways in so many different people. The Others is our attempt at a collective shout at everything that feels almost impossible to solve. We use imagery and fractured conversations to express the feeling of not making an impact. That everyday frustration at the world and all its darkness, channelled through three derelict clowns.
We spent a long time trying to find a way to articulate what The Others was about. The three of us had a sort of mutual understanding of what we were doing, but it took us some time to be able to pin it down. We eventually realised that it was about this feeling of being systemically ignored, of your voice being unheard, and of any chance for positive change being snatched away at the last moment. When Grenfell Tower burned, when the voice of the younger generations went unheard in the Brexit referendum, and when the voice of the majority maligned and rejected the millions of refugees left in camps at Calais and across Europe, we felt reverberations.
The Others springs from a determination to untangle that feeling, and extricate ourselves of it through a shared experience with the audience. These are stories for Londoners, yes, and also for those beyond. They are stories of the indefatigable resilience of humanity in the face of apparent powerlessness – of continuing to try despite change seeming almost out of our grasp.
This resilience is the spirit of the clown; of desperately trying to be the best in the face of failure. Of not being afraid to laugh at our own fallibility. That is why the clown is the foundation for this show. This open-hearted optimism is something that we think we need more than ever in such an incomprehensibly fucked world. It is also a way of attempting to deal with these issues without falling into the trap of academic debate or old fashioned political satire. This is a piece that connects with the heart and soul first and foremost, and the intellect second.
Making the show has been exciting, difficult, empowering and ever-changing. We started developing this show just after Article 50 was triggered last year, beginning Britain’s painful exit from the EU, and it feels only fitting that we should be performing it almost a year to the day. As a company we are very influenced by play, and our rehearsal room is fun, eclectic and explorative. We often write from self, improvising or even start simply with an image we feel resonates. For this show, we have also drawn on verbatim testimony. In the rehearsal room we experiment with every idea and every way of expressing something until we find the one that feels it fits the best. During the process we have discovered that the seemingly most disconnected image can have the closest resonance to what we are saying. This is often found through trial and error; it can begin as the smallest of ideas then together we build it into a scene or recurring motif for the piece. And of course this can go the other way when we spend hours on something and decide it’s actually better as a thirty-second moment – or perhaps doesn’t even make it into the show at all!
We hope that this piece does give some hope – that no matter what happens, the others will continue and we will rise. The Others is abstract and fragmented; sections are linked by theme rather than a chronological narrative. The characters, their stories and their circumstances evolve but the same feelings linger. We want our audience to take away a feeling. We hope that with these feelings – whatever they may be – you can apply them to your own lives. And then… we can continue to shout together.
Gabriella Leon, Phoebe Stapleton and Ed Theakston are part of emerging company We Are Kilter, and collaboratively devised The Others, which will be performed on Friday 16th March at 9pm as part of Sprint 2018.