Kiln Theatre reopens with one woman comedy about joy and trauma
- Credit: Rebecca Need-Menear
Kilburn's Kiln Theatre reopens next week with an award-winning one woman show about a young woman with spina bifida negotiating joy, trauma and love.
Reasons You Should(n't) Love Me jointly won the 2020 Women's Prize For Playwrighting and is written and performed by Amy Trigg.
The RSC and Mamma Mia actor set out to write honestly about the impact that being a disabled child has on young adulthood. But she also intends it as "a universal coming of age story that people will find relatable."
"I wanted to show a disabled character three dimensionally. Juno references moments from her past that have had an impact on her, you see lovely things like her first kiss, but also slightly darker things.
"She's a character that we haven't seen all of her story - or this kind of narrative with a disabled character before. Disabled or not it's a time of finding your place in the adult world, for me there was an adjustment from being a teen to an adult. I have gone through all the things anyone else has but with a slight difference - going to parties and getting drunk when you are younger is easier if you can get in the door."
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The 27-year-old is proud to be reopening the Kiln with her debut play.
"For the first time run I knew I wanted to play Juno, but I'm not possessive, I'm happy to see someone else play the part."
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Audiences will be socially distanced and wearing masks, "it's about accessibility and making sure everyone feels comfortable."
Trigg was the first wheelchair user to graduate from Mountview's musical theatre course and had always wanted to perform.
But she was also interested in writing, and after penning an essay for a book Feminists Don't Wear Pink she arrived at playwrighting through a circuitous route of improv, stand up, sketches and writing courses.
"I thought I might write a book but I have a tendency to write dialogue so my voice seemed to suit theatre."
Although Juno has a different form of spina bifida to Trigg, many of her experiences are the same.
"She's me in a parallel universe or a few universes across, maybe an alter ego. It's a story about love in all its forms, she has lots of issues she addresses and approaches relationships with a total clarity and honesty that I admire."
Perhaps because the play celebrates life in all its joy and messiness, it's non linear, and certainly swerves the triumph over tragedy arc of many disability narratives
"It's not a clean neat story with clean characters, more a snapshot of someone's life," says Trigg.
Trigg agrees the industry is improving in casting disabled performers or giving disabled writers a seat at the table - she's currently a writer on A Word spin-off Ralph and Katie and has another TV project yet to be revealed.
"The issue of when it's your seat at the table or whether to give that seat up to someone else would have been a conversation that happened in shadows and that's now being discussed in the light. We've made a few leaps forward in the last few years. Casting wise it's so much better now than when I left drama school, but we have got a way to go."
Bookings at https://kilntheatre.com/