Taking residence at the King's Head Theatre for a few nights at the end of this month, Getaway/Runaway is a darkly comedic drama, written and directed by Noah McCreadie. The psychological four-hander takes on family crises and characters forced to navigate estrangement and a recent release from prison: see what the unsuspected combination brings.
Hear from Noah below, as he discusses his show, and the importance of being mindful when depicting difficult subjects.
Can you tell us a bit about the show, and how the concept came about?
I suppose the concept came about over a period of time really. Initially it was an idea for a play about gaslighting and eventually it expanded into what it is now: a play about the dysfunctionality of people in general, particularly when family is brought into the mix.
How was the writing process for you, and how did you make sure to tackle the content with sensitivity?
The writing process for me was actually pretty enjoyable - I wrote the initial draft of Getaway/Runaway during my final term at Oxford School of Drama, which was a term predominantly spent in London with other writers/directors doing R&D (Research & Development) on their projects so I had a lot of inspiration to go off when it came to “process”.
Having seen how it was done, I put together some R&D groups of my own in the months after graduating. This involved assembling a team in a studio that included my peers along with some other industry professionals and, together, focussing on dissecting everything play related from its title to the sensitive content. I did this a few times and made sure there had been plenty of eyes on it from a variety of perspectives before deciding that it was ready to be put on.
What kind of demands does working with the serious themes in the show have on those in the cast, and how do you manage this as a director?
I believe that when you’re working with the themes we are, it requires a certain level of empathy and understanding from all involved. For example, if we’re working on a scene that requires a great deal of emotional connection, this can be tiring and difficult to do several times over for one actor and, as a result, this person might prefer to do small bits of this work at a time. Whereas, it might be the preference of another cast member to do a large chunk of that kind of work rather than little and often. In this case, it’s up to us not only as directors but facilitators of the overall “vibe” in the room to support both parties and come to a compromise that accommodates both individuals. If we’re able to communicate how we feel with each other and fuel this dialogue with compassion rather than resistance then the overall rehearsal process becomes an enjoyable, enlightening one for us all.
Where does dark comedy come into play, and how do you make light of the drama?
The play is ultimately about siblings “Saoirse” & “Eliot” and a lot of the comedy comes from their relationship and the relatability of it, in spite of the circumstances they find themselves in. There’s also a certain element of “gallows humour” to coin a phrase, and I think that one of the things that makes us most human is our ability to self-deprecate by making light of any situation, no matter how tragic. I would say that, as a writer, this adds an unexpected layer of light to the drama.
As a director though, I feel that it’s important to let the cast find the moments where it feels instinctive to find a glimmer here or there and trust that they’ll do this. It’s not been hard in my case because they’re such a talented bunch!
How does it feel to have your debut play be brought to the stage in London?
It feels amazing. Although it does feel a bit like I’ve got some “Imposter Syndrome” going on, because it’s absolutely NOT a one-person thing. So many people have been a part of bringing this story to life from its inception and I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt during this process is that productions are a TEAM effort, no matter the scale of the project.
What drew you towards working with Shot In The Dark, and which parts of their ethos do you admire?
I think what drew me to work with SID (Shot In The Dark) is the total commitment to anything they’re working on. I went to see their production of Cheer Up Slug by Tamsin Rees at The Bread & Roses last year and was struck by how hands on everybody was. Call me naive, but I kind of figured that there was just “a person for that” when it came to all the stage management stuff they were doing but no! It was all Charis, Jamie, Kiera, Hannah & the Shot In The Dark family.
As soon as I saw the way they worked on Slug I just thought, “I want somebody who cares this much to produce my play” and there was nobody better than Shot In The Dark to do it. (Just want to take a moment to shout out our very own Kiera Murray, who, as well as starring in this play as Saoirse, is doing all the marketing and promotion for the show!). So, yeah. Like I said, I’m profoundly grateful to all involved from Shot In The Dark and beyond because so many people have chipped in at various times to make this production possible.
How would you sum up your show in a sentence?
A darkly comedic piece about a dysfunctional family during a crisis; you probably won’t believe it, even having seen it.
Many thanks to Noah for such great and insightful answers about Getaway/Runaway. I hope you have a great run, and I look forward to supporting your career going forwards! Get your tickets here:
Additional thanks so Kiera Murray for initially coordinating this interview.