The full audio interview is below, but we've also written up some of the question and answer snippets if your headphones aren't to hand.
Very few people saw it at the Royal Court so Jamie and I
wanted to bring it to a larger London public, and it just felt like now was the
right time. There seems to be a lot of issues concerning the gay question in
global consciousness. There's huge progress being made here in Britain, but as
a reaction against that there's terrible homophobia and hatred in other parts
of the world.
Jamie Lloyd, director of The Pride
I've been absolutely blessed by directors and actors. When
you're dealing with fine directors they tap into the DNA of the play and, even
without seeing the other productions, the same things seem to pop up. However,
one actor brings more vulnerability to Oliver, and then you see another actor
making him more acerbic - a bit bitchier - and then you'll see another actor
make him angrier. Every time it works in different ways.
In Britain playwrights are really lucky because we're
very much included in the creative process of putting on a play. I actually did
some cuts this time because the first half was five minutes too long... you
want the audience to be riveted for the whole play. Cuts aren't easy - because
you think I love that line or whatever - but you've got to think of the whole
experience as an evening and what the audience need and want.
Apart from the fact that I love having my name alongside
Shakespeare and Harold Pinter...! I think The Pride is a political play because
it's asking you to look at something from a new perspective. It questions
social morays and ways we think different generations have affected each other.
You do want theatre to be connected to the way we live and what's going on
outside because otherwise it becomes a bit of a waste of time. There are some
things that need to be challenged.
Matt Horne & Al Weaver
You get an amazingly responsive audience in. It shows that a lot of people do want to come to the theatre. We want to be playing to big audiences.
I think it's a reaction against spending so much of our time in little bubbles. There is a need for people to come together and have a collective experience. You feel it every night at The Pride in the applause: people want to be there. The biggest crime for me at the theatre is to be bored - if a young person has two or three bad experiences they'll be put off for life.
It's what happened in the 60s and 70s, it's the sexual revolution. In post war Britain there was an absolute hysteria about anything sexual and there was no such thing as feminism. In the 60s and 70s there was this incredible cultural revolution in the West. Gay rights is very much connected to feminism; they started happening at the same time. It was a challenge to the patriarchal ordering of the world. Yet one of the things that seemed to me to be interesting - and I think it's something the play explores - is that lots of things were lost in the battles as well. I wanted to go from one extreme to another and see what's in between those two extremes.
That's a tricky question because I'll leave people out... When I was growing up I think I had plays rather than playwrights that I was mad about. I grew up in Greece and theatre at that point was quite limited - I didn't go to the theatre much when I was younger - so when I was in my teens I watched a lot of film and was more influenced by that. But then when I was 22 I went to drama school and had some amazing experiences in the theatre. But now is an incredible time for playwrights, from Laura Wade with Posh, Mike Bartlett, Nick Payne with Constellations, or Penelope Skinner with The Village Bike, Anya Reiss, Simon Stephens - all these great writers. And what's exciting to me is that no one's writing the same play. You have Chimerica up the road but it's completely different to The Pride, Nicks Constellations is completely different to The Village Bike; all these people come up with their own voices.
Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica
I think it's about realising that it's not easy and it's not overnight. It can be overnight like it was for some of the writers I've just mentioned - Anya was seventeen I think - but I was an actor for many years as well. I wrote The Pride when I was 40 and before then I was working in marketing offices doing tele marketing, waitering on tables, earning very little money, but I was in it for the long run. From someone who's had some success later on in life, if you really believe in what you do and really want to do it, it's about persistence and absolute perseverance. We live in a culture now that's obsessed with overnight success: people go, Ã¢â¬Åoh she's twenty two, twenty two and she's got her first play onÃ¢â¬Â. And that's great, but that's not why you do what you do. I did have a hard time and a lot of frustration, but I couldn't have written The Pride at twenty five, so sometimes you need to be patient and wait and do other things as well.
I'm writing a play now which is a commission and then I'm doing a film adaptation of Bracken Moor which was at The Tricycle theatre.
It's about being part of the storytelling. I love telling stories so I'll find different ways of doing it. Theatre's not really the territory of the intellectual is it? Hopefully you'll write and be in intelligent things that will make people think, but its original roots are much more connected to Shameenism and religion. In the late twentieth century we got taken over by intellectuals but theatre's not really an intellectual art form. Storytelling is very much the essence of theatre: of course you can play with form and do new things and explode storytelling and do it in a new way but it's always going back to storytelling. It goes back to that contract: you've got people in a room for two hours. The only real way we can keep people hooked is to tell them a bloody good story.
It's funny because when I was an actor I loved it so
much and I thought I couldn't live without it but I haven't missed it at all.
It's because I'm very much at the heart of the storytelling now and I'm still
in the theatre which I love.
If you have your own questions you want to shoot at the man himself, you can join Alexi on stage after The Pride's performance on Monday 16 September. Hear of lessons learnt, challenges faced, the advice he's found most useful, and his own approach when it comes to creating a brand new piece of theatre. This is a one and only chance to ask Alexi questions about the skills and techniques involved in playwriting in this intimate environment, and pick up top tips from one of the most inspiring voices in the industry today.
PLUS, tickets on the day are £15 for all under 26 year olds (ID is necessary). Dreamy.