Ahead of Theatre-Rites “small eco-miracle” show, Zoe’s Peculiar Journey Through Time, we asked co-writer Jimmy Osborne all about how the piece came to be.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your process for writing Zoe’s Peculiar Journey Through Time?
Theatre-Rites have a very collaborative process and Sue Buckmaster (Artistic Director) encourages everyone to contribute with ideas. At the very early stages of creating the story Sue and I had lots of discussions with the designers and the composer about what we’d all like to see in the show. I’d then take away those ideas write a draft of the script and then we’d spend time with the cast trying the script out and seeing what ideas they could also bring to it. After that it’s rewriting and rewriting and more discussions with Sue and more rewriting until the script is ready for rehearsals, where it changes again…
Scripts are not one idea, they’re lots of ideas that come together to make the story. How those ideas fit together is the fun part of writing, working out where all the puzzle pieces go. Sometimes they don’t seem to fit and then you move things around and suddenly they do. Sometimes what seems like a brilliant idea just doesn’t work within the script, and so you have to let it go (and save if for the next story).
What can audiences expect from the show?
A fun adventure story, a quest, some unusual characters, wonderful puppets, the story of objects and most importantly some hope.
How are themes of the environment and sustainability presented in the production?
We explore some of the objects that we take for granted and perhaps don’t think about what happens once we’ve used them. We all lead busy lives so it can be hard to have the time to think about the effects of our society on the environment. Some of these issues can also appear to be too big for us as individuals and families to feel that we can make a difference.
What do you hope audiences learn from the piece?
While environmental issues can appear much bigger than us, we can make a difference. Part of the reason that there are problems is because of our ingenuity as human beings: plastic is an incredible material with lots of important uses, but the production of it has got out of control and it’s used for things that we really don’t need because it’s cheap to make. We are now at the point where we must change that. Our ingenuity can solve the environmental problems that we face, but we have to decide to actually do it, which is why believing that we can make a difference as individuals and communities is so important.
What is your favourite part about writing for young audiences?
In creating the show we get to play! Play is just as important to adults as it is to young people, but sometimes we can forget that. Playing is how we ask questions, work things out and have fun – all things that make life better. Telling stories for young people means that I get to play too.
What is your favourite puppet in the show?
Lastly, if you could bring any item with you on a trip to the future, what would it be?
Predictable I know, but a pen. Just in case they’d run out.
Zoe’s Peculiar Journey Through Time runs in our Main Theatre from Friday 29 September – Sunday 8 October.
Recommended for ages 6-12.
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