We chatted to the lovely Nick from Wilson and Hart about their Incoming Fest show, Breakfast.
Alongside talking about his idea for an immersive Mad Men show and the ritual of drinking coffee, we talked about tragic stories that happen without words... something we at Silent Faces base our work in!
What drove you to make Breakfast?
Breakfast was inspired by a conversation about the ritual of drinking coffee. Marah pulled an old book of Prévert poems out of her bag, and showed me Déjeuner du Matin, a heart-breaking story of a couple having breakfast one morning in late-1940s Paris. The language is simple: “He poured the coffee into the cup, he poured the milk into the coffee, he stirred the milk in the coffee…” and so on. The couple never once exchange a word, and yet, the breakfast is tragic. We had to tell their story.
Tell us a bit about Wilson and Hart as a company
We met in 2015 while performing in Les Enfants Terribles’ Alice’s Adventures Underground. Upon discovering our shared passion for the power of movement in storytelling, with combined backgrounds in dance training, movement psychotherapy, and psychophysical modes of performance, we decided to form a physical theatre company.
Breakfast is our first, full-length show and it’s been in development ever since we first met. We’re currently R&D’ing our second show, and when we’re not devising, we direct immersive theatre for the Royal Academy of Arts’ RA Lates. After-dark theatre in a museum-setting is something we particularly love.
There are so many ways to tell stories, tackle issues, explore ideas - why theatre?
Theatre is an active form of story sharing. It calls on you to use your imagination – to fill in the gaps, to paint the backgrounds, to believe that this piece of wood is a dog, a horse, a ship – exercise for the mind. It makes you invested. It primes you for understanding and critical thinking. We love theatre because of this power. If you can tap into it, you can inspire people to take their own creative risks.
What was the last show you saw that you think everyone should see?
The Brothers Size at the Young Vic; a beautifully-told story about brotherhood. Funny, heartbreaking, and with movement direction like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Theatre making is hard and, although we try our best to work around them, it has its limits. If you had an unlimited budget, an unquestioningly devoted audience and all the time in the world, what show would you make?
This is the best way to start an R&D.
We would make a show about death. It sounds very morbid, but in reality, we hope it would be very positive and actually life-affirming. We’re so focused on peoples’ entrances into the world; we neglect peoples’ exits. A show about death would probably be less about death itself, and more about the ends of lives. Our unlimited budget would pay for us to travel the world and interview as many different people from as many different cultures as we can, all about how they view and treat death. Then we’d invest the rest of the unlimited budget into making a multi-sensory experience about what we’d learned.
Either that, or we’d make an immersive Mad Men show.
What else in the Incoming Festival line-up are you excited to see?
We’re excited to see as much as we possibly can! We feel enormously proud that we’ve been included alongside such incredible talent. So many amazing ideas.
Breakfast is on at New Diorama on 29 June and HOME on 7 July.