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Sadie Clark - interview

Hopelessly romantic, Brooke is navigating the journey to her 30th birthday. Algorithms is the brainchild of Sadie Clark - a self-proclaimed queer, bisexual, neurodivergent actor, writer and improviser - who explores issues including mental health and body image in this contemporary, hyper-connected world. Having had a fantastic reception from previous performances, Sadie is back starring in her piece: this time in London. Keep reading to hear more about how Algorithms came to be and produce such success. 


How would you summarise Algorithms?

The show has a real romcom feel to it but with an edge of satire. I call it ‘a bisexual Bridget Jones for the online generation’ when trying to summarise it in one line. The protagonist, Brooke, works for a new dating app. She’s a goofy perfectionist who’s constantly trying her best but often messing up. When her girlfriend breaks up with her, despite being a hopeless romantic obsessed with ‘meet cutes’, she joins the app she works for in an attempt to get her five year plan back on track before her thirtieth birthday…

Why did you want to bring your writing to the stage, and perform it too?

Well, I actually started out as an actor, and I wrote Algorithms specifically to have something for myself to perform! I was getting a bit fed up of being an out-of-work actor, doing the odd student film or play in a theatre above a pub (nothing wrong with those, I was just itchy to move on to the next thing). I’d seen some of my peers write and perform their own solo work, so I thought why not give it a go? 


What appealed to you about creating a tragi-comic show?

Do you know, I didn’t set out to write a tragi-comic show, but I feel like the line between tragic and comic is a verrry fine one, and Algorithms treads that line like it's a tightrope. Some moments make people belly laugh, some make people shed a tear, and I love taking audiences on that journey. 

How is the piece relatable to audiences?

I think - I hope - the piece is relatable because of its protagonist. Brooke tries so so hard to get it right and give the impression that she’s okay, but actually she’s falling apart on the inside. I think we can all relate to that. Feeling like everyone else is sorted, and we’re the only ones pretending to know how to ‘adult’. It’s also a show about feeling incredibly lonely in a world of online connection, and with loneliness on the rise worldwide, I think that’s probably a feeling many people can relate to, no matter their circumstances. 


What inspired the writing process, and how much of your own experiences have been incorporated?

The inspiration for the piece was that feeling of loneliness I was experiencing, despite the rise of social media supposedly ‘connecting’ us all. At the time of writing the show, in 2018, I had been doing a lot of online dating, and a lot of comparing my life to the lives of friends and acquaintances I was seeing posted on social media. I felt lonely, and like I was failing at life, and I wanted to tell a story which encapsulated those feelings. I suppose what I really wanted to ask was ‘does anyone else feel this too?’. I certainly drew on my own experiences to write the show, particularly for some of the more comedic, and the more bleak moments, but of course there’s also a lot of imagination that has gone into crafting the final story to make it dramatically engaging. 


What have you enjoyed most about translating your script into a performance?

I love the playfulness of being Brooke on stage - the script comes to life with a cheeky twinkle when performed, which I’m not sure you’d necessarily pick up on if you were just reading the playtext. 


How have you worked with the director, Madelaine, to bring your vision to life on stage?

Maddy has been there since the very first time I put the script on its feet (in a theatre above a pub in fact!). She’s been integral to shaping what the text looked like on a stage - from the set design to the blocking, to finding the cheeky twinkle of Brooke and our surprise ending. I think without her the piece would have been a lot less funny and a lot more earnest, which is always a bit ick! 


What was it like adapting the play into a six-part Audible Original series?

Oh gosh it was hard work, and also brilliant when things felt like they were slotting into place. Finding ways to expand the story out, from a 60-minute monologue into duologues and scenes, spanning six episodes with multiple storylines was a new challenge for me. I spent time planning the beats of each episode, and the series arc, redrafting the scripts on writing retreats, and going on walks to untangle elements of the story arc which weren’t working. I enjoyed that challenge though and it did feel really satisfying once I could feel I’d got the story right. I also got the chance to work with the most amazing cast and creative team - Alison fricking Steadman played my Mum, which was an actual DREAM. Everyone involved was so talented, and the editing process was so fun. I just loved it! It’s actually been trickier returning to the playtext to redraft it, having expanded the story all the way out for Audible, but I think I’ve cracked the changes!


Having had some amazing successes with previous runs, where would you most like to take this production going forward?

Honestly, I’m just stoked to be doing a four-week run of it at Park Theatre. It was always the end goal to get a four-week run, but Covid and lockdowns and second waves of Omicron kind of scuppered those plans, so I feel like I’m finally ticking that off the bucket list, four or something years on. I would still love to adapt this production for screen too, and maybe one day, if that happens, the show might transfer to the West End…


Never say never! It sounds like a fantastic show, so no surprises if it's destined for great things. Big thanks to Sadie for this, and best of luck for the run. Get your tickets to Algorithms here:

Additional thanks to Emma Berge for coordinating this interview.


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