Spotlight On… Writer of Big Guns, Nina Segal

Big Guns is set to run at The Yard Theatre 21 March – 8 April 2017, book tickets here: The Yard Theatre

Here’s an exclusive interview with writer of the piece, Nina Segal:

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your inspiration for it

Big Guns is a piece about violence – and our relationship to it from the relative safety of the West.  When I began working on the piece, I was interested in the various ways we might encounter violence and the forms that it might take – whether that’s physical violence, fictional violence, emotional or structural. Whether in the cinema, on the news or on the high street, we engage with violence more often (and more readily) that many of us might want to imagine – Big Guns is about the ways we let violence in and what the effect of that might be.

Was it easy to put it all down on paper?

I began writing the piece in January 2015 – so it’s been a two-year process developing it.  Obviously within that time, the piece has changed and evolved, as a piece of theatre and also in relation to current events – but the core images and ideas have stayed the same.  The material is quite dark, so there have been times when it has felt like a disturbing world to be in for such a length of time – but I don’t think writing is ever easy, regardless of whether the subject matter is light or dark.

Is it translating well from page to stage?

We begin performances tomorrow, so I hope so!  It’s always quite difficult to tell what people outside of the room will make of it, but Dan, the director, and I are excited to share it with an audience.  My plays are quite dense in terms of language, but the actors, Debra Baker and Jessye Romeo, are doing a brilliant job at bringing different layers and textures to it.  They’re really finding the (dark) humour within the piece, which has been a joy to discover with them.

How is the space lending itself to the piece?

The Yard is one of my favourite venues in London – both in terms of programming and architecturally.  Jay Miller, the artistic director, consistently programmes risk-taking and experimental work, but the theatre itself never feels inaccessible.  Without giving away too much about Rosie Elnile’s design, it’s a very bold, structural use of the space, that makes the stage feel slightly dangerous in a very helpful way.

Finally, any advice for budding writers?

Don’t be afraid of breaking the rules.  I was part of the Soho Theatre’s Writer’s Lab (which was actually where I began developing Big Guns), and that was one of the first pieces of advice they gave us – it can’t hurt to learn the rules, and then you can decide for yourself whether to follow them or not.

 

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