Travelling home last night I casually picked up a copy of the London Evening Standard. The headline screamed ‘London population to top 10 million within the next 15 years‘. I might have passed over that for the arts or sports pages had we (Eastern Angles) not started a week long workshop on Molly Davies new commission for us, Chicken. Chicken imagines a world where British society breaks down. Recent events (the European elections, devolution debates, the economy) have made what might at first seem a fanciful concept feel chillingly real. You can catch a glimpse (or rather an extract) at Pulse festival on Saturday.
‘Molly Davies’s writing shows real flair in its bony, Bond-like spareness and unnerving hints of violence’ (Michael Billington on A Miracle, at the Royal Court)
So far, under the direction of Dan Herd, the four strong cast (Becky Pennick (who was in EA’s Margaret Catchpole), Chris Jared, Alice Marshall and Laura-Kate Gordon) have been delving into what happens if you push recent events. A world where London becomes so out of step with the regions that the north south divide becomes something more…and its not just Scotland and Wales who consider devolution.
‘a shattering full-length debut ‘ (Charles Spencer on A Miracle, at the Royal Court)
Even at this draft stage it feels like a black comedy, an edgy, darkly poetic piece which explores some very real and vital issues (like difference and cruelty) by pushing them beyond the point of no return. Molly herself writes:-
In Chicken, I’m interested in exploring how we detach ourselves – through repeated thoughts, actions and words – from other beings in order to commit cruelty to them; how we justify this, and at what point they are no longer real to us
Molly was born in Norfolk and won the Westminster Prize for her ten-minute play No Fairy Stories (Soho Theatre). For young audiences, she has written Day One (National Youth Theatre), The Best Team Since the A Team (Southwark Playhouse) and My Days (Soho/Company of Angels). Her first full length play A Miracle, was staged by the Royal Court (here’s a review from the Telegraph and there is a great ideastap interview with Molly here ). Molly is under commission to the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Court and Eastern Angles. She is currently writing a screenplay adaptation of Deborah Kay Davis’ novel True Things About Me for Jude Law’s company Riff Raff films with Ruth Wilson’s company Pear Shaped Films and is developing an original drama series called Making Hay with Objective Productions which Tony Grisoni is consulting on. Molly is also one of a team of writers who are developing a new series withh Eleven Films called Gap Year headed up by Tim Basden for Channel 4.
In addition to the extract at Pulse on Saturday 31 May there is a closed reading of the first half of Chicken as part of the Hightide play reading series on Tuesday 3rd June at 18.15. For more information contact either Hightide or Eastern Angles.