After the roaring success of this year’s Alice In Funderland Abbey takeover, THISISPOPBABY’s Fringe show, Elevator, explores the bacchanalian boom years. Director Wayne Jordan talks True Blood and storytelling.
Elevator – it seems to be somewhat darker than your other work with Philip McMahon.
We went back to this idea of consumerism and excess which we’d wanted to do. It still has that playfulness, that gloss to it we normally work with, even if it is definitely a little darker. It’s topical but more than that it’s about our personal experiences of being in our twenties during the Celtic Tiger and what that felt like – the crazy parties, the decadence. But we found out through work-shopping that we had to take it out of Ireland to do it justice. We kept coming up against this D4 girls stereotype, and they’re not super-rich or sophisticated.
Where are we then for Elevator?
It’s a reunion of friends at a big party in the woods. We picked the ‘international school’ as a background for them because we wanted to do something about the super-rich but also because they have that quality of not being easily placed which is unsettling. Do you watch True Blood?
Well in True Blood there is this moment when one vampire tells the new vampire what it’s going to be like – and there’s this excitement, almost sexual giddiness of belonging to something, of all the things that could be. And the vampires all seem to have that international school accent too! With these characters there’s that same vacuous consumption. But they know it’s not real, there’s something else. Without being too poetic, it’s like the gold dust around them has turned to ashes.
So what happens?
Well something goes wrong at the party – someone goes missing. They try to find him, but with his disappearance things start to unravel, their own beliefs and habits are thrown into question. They sing, they drink, they fuck but they can’t seem to talk or figure it out.
You quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, Evelyn Waugh, Alan Hollinghurst as having inspired the piece. Explain their influence a little.
We wanted to do a play about money. Fitzgerald in particular influenced the choice of these characters because the people in his stories are just so classy. It’s a reunion story similar to something like The Big Chill, with that sense of time having passed.
It sounds like a fairy-tale a bit?
It is a fairy-tale, there’s the wood and there’s the idea of telling stories, and the craziness of the world these people live in. We don’t want to lecture about excess; it’s not a cautionary tale. We want the audience to experience it, work its way through it and come out having enjoyed it.
Words: Roisin Agnew