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L'esprit de l'escalier - "Staircase Wit" - is the French term used to describe the predicament of thinking of the perfect retort too late. STAIRCASES explores the things people don't say. Broadway Baby finds out more.

STAIRCASES is not just one story but the interweaving of many. As a result, we have audiences telling us they see themselves in one or all of the characters. This is what allows the play to make us both laugh and cry; we all have things we have never said and narratives running through are heads that we don’t share.

Tell us about your show

STAIRCASES is a piece of collaborative new writing from Antonym Theatre. It explores 'L'esprit de l'escalier', or the conversations you wish you could have had; the retorts you've said in your head and weren't brave enough to vocalise. From library trysts to invasive psychiatrists, the text weaves between internal monologue and external conversations as five actors bring to life a myriad of characters trying to find a voice in scenarios ranging from the comically absurd to the tragically heartbreaking.

Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?

We were incredibly excited about taking our show to the fringe, but as our piece relies on the audience being transported from one setting to another we felt that for the piece to reach its full potential, a corner of a pub just wouldn’t be the right venue. We want the audience to be able to slip into the ever-changing world of STAIRCASES and not be dragged back into reality by somebody wondering in by accident looking for a pint and a packet of crisps halfway through. Given the reputation of the Space UK for hosting a wide variety of captivating theatre, we thought the Space on Niddry Street would be the ideal home for STAIRCASES.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

Our writers are from various places across the UK so are looking forward to showcasing STAIRCASES outside of London, but as we are a team of collaborators I think it is in our nature as a company to be even more excited about seeing other work and meeting creative people. We are always striving to develop ourselves as performers/writers/technicians etc, both individually and as a company. The Fringe is an incredible opportunity to meet other like-minded people and push your work.

What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?

STAIRCASES is not just one story but the interweaving of many. As a result, we have audiences telling us they see themselves in one or all of the characters. This is what allows the play to make us both laugh and cry; we all have things we have never said and narratives running through are heads that we don’t share.

How did you create your show?

Our lovely director, Charlotte Winstone, had a ‘heated debate’ that sparked the idea behind this play; it’s the moment you walk away and are suddenly armed with everything you could have said. We began with an open call for scenes from writers, the stimulus being ‘the conversations you wish you could have had’. We had an incredible response, with a cocktail of imagined and verbatim scripts being sent in. Though there was a lot to choose from but some just stood out. It has been a huge collaborative effort, both a challenging and wonderful experience for Antonym Theatre.

Can you tell us a bit about your company’s background?

As a company we have been formally together since 2014 with new and exciting collaborators joining us all the time. Many of us have worked together on previous projects, some of which date back to 2010. The majority of the company have collaborated in the past two years, but have fully come together to be a part of Antonym Theatre. Our backgrounds individually include: 24:7 Theatre Festival, National Youth Theatre, BBC Radio 4, London Student Drama Festival, Roundhouse Poetry Collective, National Student Drama Festival, Goldsmiths College, Naked Feet Theatre, 24:7 Young Writers, Silent Faces etc. Between us the variety and range of experience is wide, and has greatly benefitted us as a company.

Show Name: STAIRCASES

Production Company: Antonym Theatre

Venue: theSPACE on Niddry (V9)

Dates: 23rd-27th of August

Times: 2:40pm

Twitter Handle - @AntonymTheatre 


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