Ahead of their show The Drive in the Great Hall on Thu 08 March, we caught up with Lynne Forbes and Tamsin Fessey of Angel Exit Theatre to find out more about the show and their essentials for a long road trip!

Tickets for The Drive are on sale here.

Why did you choose to set The Drive in the ‘90s?

It’s actually set predominantly in the present day, but an event occurred while our characters were at Manchester University in the 90s which has sent tremors through their lives and they are still dealing with the consequences of it now, so the 90s are very present in the play. We both also went to university in the late 90s and so the characters lives are contemporary with ours. The play examines memory and how we remember and mis-remember things. Apparently you have a memory spike in your early twenties, around the time you’re at university, and memories of this time are often particularly vivid.

Where did the inspiration from the play come from?

We wanted to make a show which had female friendship at the centre of the narrative. A show which is not about men basically. As 40 year old women we very rarely see ourselves represented on stage and that was an impetus for making this show. We were also inspired by the story a friend told us about having to drive a dead friend’s stuff back to their parents in Germany and we thought the image of car full of someone else’s things and two people being trapped together on a long road trip could be theatrical. We read a lot of research about memory too – and this is woven throughout the writing. A lot of our shows have been historical and creating something contemporary was also important to us.

The show contains projections, how did you work those into the show?

We knew from the start that we wanted to use projection and that we wanted use it for more than scene setting. We wanted to look at the different ways in which we remember things and see if this could be represented through projection, hence the flashes of memory, the bleeds from one image to the next, the difference in colour and chronology of some of the sequences. We use two projectors and two screens so we can play with two points of view in some sections. We worked with two different video designers from the early stages of development of the show, and so the projection has always been integral to the show. The designer Yoon Bae worked closely with video designer Elliot Manches to achieve a set design that accommodated the needs of the projection.

Why should we come and see your show?

If you’re interested in new writing, visual / physical theatre, contemporary storytelling and a story which is both moving and funny – then come and see The Drive. It’s only 70 minutes long too.

As actors on tour, you’re on the road together, what’s that like? There is quite a lot of crossover between the characters of Nat and Becky and the actor-directors Tamsin and Lynne as you will see if you come to the show anyway, and yes, we have indeed spent a lot of time on tour together and so those hours spent travelling alongside each other on long road trips have definitely been influential. You find yourselves having conversations you wouldn’t otherwise have when you’re cooped up together on a long journey. You become used to each other very quickly and invent ways to pass the time. We keep catching ourselves saying lines from the play in real life. Reality bleeds into fiction and vice versa. It’s quite freaky!

What essentials do you have in your glove box for a long drive?

Snacks! Our current favourites are chocolate cinnamon tortilla rolls from M&S (Plug – do we get any commission for that?), fruit and nuts, liquorice and we always have our Keep Cups lined up across the dash board for coffee stops (we don’t use disposable cups!). We also have lots of playlists, and recently we’ve started listening to more podcasts and audio books.

Which 90s tracks would make it on to your road trip playlist?

All the classics – Pulp, Blur, Oasis, Wannadies (anything from Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo and Juliet), Lemonheads, Supergrass, PJ Harvey, Radiohead… Oh and a bit of Spice Girls and Take That thrown in for a good old singalong!

The Drive by Angel Exit Theatre is on Thu 08 March, 8pm. Visit our what’s on page to find out more and book tickets

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