I ask playwright Abi Zakarian to kick off round two of my 10 Questions for 10 Years feature
Abi Zakarian’s I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream kinda blew the roof off the VAULT Festival in 2018 and so she’s definitely a writer to watch out for, if indeed she’s not already on your radar – she has won a Fringe First too. But it is I Have A Mouth… that I will be putting on in my theatre when I win the lottery and I asked Abi to kindly share some thoughts about the play:
“Apart from the unbelievable amount of love and revolutionary fervour it seemed to inspire I actually really loved your review of it Ian – the bit at the end where you stated you’d changed your font for the review because of what you’d read in the Womanifesto made me choke up a little bit. So thank you.”
Where were you 10 years ago?
I was still working full time as a picture editor for a newspaper, writing plays in my spare time and having absolutely no clue about the byzantine nature of this industry, trying to pick it up as I went along, like a fool.
Best show you’ve seen in the last 10 years?
Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal’s Masurca Fogo at Sadlers Wells. I’ve never had a transcendental experience in theatre until I saw this. It took my breath away with the sheer unadulterated magnificent possibility of it all.
And a special mention for Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker at Barbican – earplugs and splash mac provided, tofu, water and seaweed thrown at the audience, stage invasion a requirement. I adore messy theatre, so I loved this more than I can ever adequately express.
What has been your professional highlight of the last 10 years?
Winning a Fringe First for my play Fabric.
Top flavour of interval ice-cream?
What show do you wish theatres would give a rest for a few years?
No more Hamlet please, am so over all the A-listers who want to give us another deeply fuckboi take. And anything with the words Orchard, Sisters or Doll’s House in the title.
Name someone who you think is a really underappreciated talent (in the world of theatre)?
There are far too many brilliant women to list here but focusing just on directors: Rafaella Marcus, Hannah Hauer-King, Jen Tan, Audrey Sheffield, Yasmeen Arden, Fran Fuentes and Nastazja Somers are all incredible directors making detailed, diverse work and should be filling our stages on a regular basis.
Elphaba or Glinda?
Nah. Éponine all the way.
What is one thing that you think would help theatre survive and/or thrive the next ten years?
Massive funding for theatre in schools. And by that I mean state schools.
Which is your favourite theatre?
The ones the previously mentioned women above will be running soon if there’s any justice in this world.
Can you say anything about what’s to come for you, (in the next ten years or otherwise)?
I’ve got a musical happening next year. In the next few years there’s a couple of commissions for plays and also a telly thing. And the ubiquitous bazillion projects ‘in development’.