Interview with playwright Lydia Rynne, on her award winning dark comedy exploring the seduction of fame
LPTmagazine: Hi Lydia, Congratulations on being one of the Bread and Roses playwriting award winners. What’s the most important thing for you to get across to your audience?
Lydia: For me The Buzz is about the threat money and fame pose to one’s moral compass. While the play deals with pertinent themes, it’s influenced by timeless morality plays and tragedies like Doctor Faustus that question innate human drives. Because of the heightened nature of it, the hope is that audiences will be encouraged to question the characters’ motives and actions when deciding between fame, family and morality and, in turn, consider what they’d do in the same situation.
What was the hardest part of writing the script?
The central character of Kyla had been creeping up on me for a while. I had this image of a woman who was once famous, her star has since waned, but must continue living with her increasingly successful partner. We can all sympathise with those all-consuming feelings of jealousy and dented pride, particularly when you’ve already had a taste of success, and when the person you’re comparing yourself to is sharing your bed. The rest of the characters fell into place around her as I asked myself who would create the most (necessary) conflict for Kyla at this point in her life. I found the ending somewhat difficult to write. While I could see it very clearly, and knew in my heart that it made sense for Kyla, I kept second guessing myself in terms of what would be more satisfying for the audience.
You’ve already got a striking cast, what can you tell us about the character’s they will be portraying?
As I’ve said, Kyla is where this play began. She is on the one hand totally relatable, but on the other, has become distanced from reality due to her years of living in (and on the periphery of) the spotlight. She is both tragic and powerful. I’d love to play her! Then there’s her partner Josh. Josh has made some seriously bad judgements in his life, but his good looks and passable talent have covered up the cracks. Until now. Nate is, for me, the moral compass of the play for the most part. Idealistic and compassionate - he has an ability to see right to the heart of the problem, particularly when the problem is Kyla. And last but definitely not least is Anon - on the one hand she’s the sacrificial lamb, on the other, she’s the catalyst of everyone else’s unravelling and the most powerful character in the play.
What’s your personal favourite line in the script?
‘What’s this made of - badger?’ I’ll just leave you with that….
What can we expect from the show?
Incredulous laughs and toe-curling cringes.
Finally, you’ve worked in several pub theatres, what has been your experience of this?
With less and less funding available for theatre, I feel like theatre-makers are making small spaces their home. I now find myself writing with intimate spaces in mind. It’s a completely different experience and, arguably, a better one, than barely being able to see the facial expressions of the actors on West End stages. Actors can also see, and feel, their audiences reactions - the whole experience is so much more immediate. I also love being able to chat to audiences in the pub afterwards over a pint. It’s social and accessible. As an avid fan of theatre AND beer, pub theatres are pretty much what I imagine heaven to look like.
The Bread and Roses Theatre
68 Clapham Manor Street
London SW4 6DZ
Tuesday 8th - Saturday 19th May at 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 | Concessions: £10 | Previews (8th & 9th May): £8 | Running time: 75 minutes
"Success turns smart people crazy. Like smack, it’ll never be enough, only leave you gurning for more.”
Kyla was once a TV personality. Now she's the dress hanging on the arm of her celebrity popstar boyfriend. When her anti-establishment squatter brother pays her a surprise visit on the night of the biggest music award ceremony of the year, she is forced to confront the life, and lie, she's been living. The Buzz is a dark comedy exploring the seduction of fame, overnight celebrity culture and the injustices we disregard in favour of our own success.
PLAYWRIGHT | LYDIA RYNNE
Lydia is a writer for stage and screen. She is a Soho Theatre Writers Alumnus and is currently one of ten screenwriters at the National Film and Television School. A finalist in BFI/Creative England's Funny Girls scheme, Lydia's short film Nugget Love was selected as a Sundance Ignite Finalist. She is currently developing two feature scripts with independent production companies and her one woman play Hear Me Howl will be found at the Plymouth and Edinburgh fringe festivals this year.