Festivals like VAULT are amazing for finding new talent, exploring new forms and seeing new work, and one of the best bits about being a theatre making is being able to share our work while we are making it. Sometimes the first time you know how something is gonna go is when you put it in front of a crowd, so having a place to share a work-in-progress is invaluable. We were lucky enough to have this experience with Camden People's Theatre's fantastic work-in-progress festival, 'The Shape of Things To Come', when making our new show A Clown Show About Rain, and VAULT Festival are supporting lots of new w-i-p's in their 2018 programme. Exploring themes of gender and feminist discussion, Katie Bonna returns to VAULT with her new work-in-progress, Paper. Scissors. Stone. and we spoke to Katie about making her new show.
What drove you to write Paper. Scissors. Stone?
I was reading about Mary Wollstonecraft (who I find simultaneously awe-inspiring and utterly confounding) and the essay talked about the roots of French Feminism versus British Feminism. Wollstonecraft (who was a total badass) decided to move to Paris during the French Revolution. She wrote in a letter to her sister that it was 'neck or nothing' from then on. The reason she went at such a dangerous time was because the French Feminist ideal was to truly celebrate women as equal for being what they are, naturally, as women. She walked into a war zone to be able to experience and understand that. In England the options were either to be a woman (and behave as was expected) or behave more like a man and gain something resembling equal respect. It made a lot fall into place for me. Those are the blocks our society is built on, our Feminism is built on. It made me think about how often I curb my feelings or behaviour so as not to be judged as too emotional, reactive, soppy, unreasonable - gender stereotypes around being a woman. Then I interviewed some amazing, fascinating, generous women who shared stories from their lives with me and I read lots about gender conditioning and the Greek chorus and now I (almost) have a play!
Who is Paper. Scissors. Stone. for?
Everybody! I find it difficult to identify a particular audience for my work, I hope there's something relatable and challenging for everyone who sees it. If you're unsure it does have reimagined Disney songs (if I say any more I'll ruin the surprise!) and some laughs along the way.
Why is discussion around gender important?
The conversation around gender is important, but I think the way we engage with the conversation around gender is as important. And who we engage in that conversation with. I'm very wary of echo chambers and theatre can easily become that.
What theatre ‘turn offs’ do you have?
Just anything that lacks truth. I can even deal with an untruthful script if an actor gives a truthful performance. I need to feel something to really enjoy a piece of theatre, I think, right in my heart!
What was the last show that moved you to action?
Theatrically it was The Gabriel's Trilogy, which I saw at Brighton Fringe. It blew my mind. The acting and writing were off the scale in terms of truth and emotion and it turned my head inside out in terms of why and how I make theatre. It made me re-think a lot of things. In terms of politics, it was actually Eat The Poor by Johnny & The Baptists. Those two are HILARIOUS, but they ended that show with such a strong offer of how to address the poverty gap, it was genuinely confronting and inspiring.
What shows at VAULT are you looking forward to?
Richard Marsh - Second Bests. Butcher & Dee - Boots. Sh!t Theatre - No Refunds. Georgie Morrell - Eyecon. Ben Target. Lazy Susan. Imogen Butler-Cole - Foreign Body. Mae Martin. Silent Faces. Shamia Chalabi - Burkhas & Bacon Butties.
Catch Paper. Scissors. Stone. on the 3 and 4 March at VAULT!