Zoe Lewis Interview
John Bownas on 17 September 2002
We spoke briefly to Zoe about her play and so here's the inside track on the background to why she wrote it and some ideas about what to expect when you go along - because you really should!
VF: So where did the idea for the play come from originally?
ZL: Well I spent years working in the music industry and so I went along to loads of festivals and had a chance to see what made them tick from both sides of the track. It boiled down to a mix of music, celebrities and young people, and so I wanted to try and write something that both captured the spirit of this and that was - at the same time - really relevant to a new young theatre audience. We've all seen trendy and funky productions of Othello or the Duchess of Malfi - but at the end of the day it's still material that was written centuries ago for a very different crowd. I think that modern theatre needs to be more of an interactive and live experience - a bit like going to see a live band. This is fundamentally a love story, but it's setting in the world of Glastonbury Festival gives it a real contemporary relevance.
VF: That leads me on to ask you about the staging for Glastonbury : The Play - can you give us a bit more insight into how the set-up will work for the performances?
ZL: We've decided to put the show on in the Autumn to give the people who go to festivals during the summer a chance to recreate their experiences at a time when they would normally just be waiting for next year's season. We had thought about putting the play on in a tent at Glastonbury, but now we've decided to try and put Glastonbury into a tent! The set is very much Damian Hirst's vision of Glastonbury in all it's glory. We're trying to capture everything down to the smell - good and bad...and so yes, there will be portaloos and puke behind the tent flaps - probably provided by some of the younger members of the audience who started to part a bit too early! The shows will start at 7 and go on until 11, so there's plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere. We'll even have a market stall area where you can buy burgers or bangles or even get the obligatory henna tattoo. There's going to be a revolving stage, and basically it's going to be a great experience - and a bargain at £10 or £15...you get in cheaper if you're under 26.
VF: The idea to mix live bands into the show sounds like a good one, how will that work, and have you lined up any more acts yet?
ZL: We really had to include live music as part of the performance - it's so fundamental to what festivals are all about. Every show will be a bit different, and the bands will be a bit of a surprise most nights so we don't want to give too much away about who is playing where and when. We've got more bands names to announce later this week on top of Alabama3, New Order, Ocean Colour Scene and UB40, and we've already got a few good DJ sets lined up, including one from Apollo 440. The way it will work is that we'll have a few acoustic tracks from that night's live act at the start of every show, and then the DJ's will provide more music throughout the show.
...so, with that we can all look forward to hearing New Order do the acoustic version of Blue Monday and to Mary Mary from Apollo 440 tearing up the decks. This sounds to us at VF like a perfect way to feed the symptoms of Festival Withrawal Syndrome throughout the darkening nights, and we'll be seeing you there! You can buy tickets from our partner ticket agents, Aloud.com - just go to our ticket booking link.