charlene james and natalie ibu q&a with RADA

 
The creative team behind bricks and pieces – award-winning writer Charlene James and tiata fahodzi Artistic Director Natalie Ibu – both joined RADA for #bricksqanda, a twitter question and answer session about about the new show.
 

RADA: Hi Charlene and Natalie. To start with, tell us what can audiences expect from bricks and pieces?
charlene james: Geeks, grief, heroines and Lego.
natalie ibu: bricks and pieces is a delicate, funny, honest show about start-ups and starting again.

 
RADA: Why is a work like bricks and pieces so important to contemporary British theatre? 
CJ: It’s important that British theatre tells varied stories that make people feel that they’re being represented on our stages.
NI: Yes – it’s a tiny political act, diversifying the singular narrative about the black experience. It lets our protagonist be of colour and yet more than colour. It looks like the world.
 
RADA: Was this creative process different to how you usually work, given you were creating a work for a specific cast?
NI: We met and workshopped with the potential actors before it was written which is unusual but a privilege. We mined them – as makers – about the parts they want to play that are currently missing.
CJ: The cast were really generous with sharing their stories, which I was able to draw inspiration from to write the piece.
 
RADA: What is it like working with the cast of young actors who are completing their training? 
CJ: It’s great! I remember being a 3rd year drama student – it’s a really exciting time to put what you’ve learnt into practice. 
NI: I’ve had a blast. They’re so committed to being creatively curious. I remembered how much fun rehearsals can be.
 
RADA: What are the characters’ backgrounds and how do they impact what we see happening in the play?
NI: All the characters are of colour – and it doesn’t impact what is happening. That’s the point, that’s the provocation. bricks and pieces is enhanced by cultural specificity, but remove all those references and the play is still the play.
CJ: Each character had something happen to them that turned their world upside down. The characters’ backgrounds, their beliefs & how they were brought up have a major impact on how they move forward.
 
RADA: The Latitude Festival stage will be a very different atmosphere. How – if at all – will the production change?
NI: Here it’s thrust staging, at Latitude it’ll be end on. Otherwise it’s the same, but influenced by what we’ve learnt at RADA. 
 
RADA: What other contemporary writers and directors inspire you?
CJ: Tracy Letts, Debbie Tucker Green, Martin McDonagh, Katori Hall, Khaled Hosseini, and Sally Wainwright.
NI: Debbie Tucker Green, Bonnie Greer, Oskar Eustis, Dominic Cooke, Michaela Cole. Nick Payne, and Ruth Little.
 
RADA: The play looks at historical figures like Bessie Coleman & Josephine Baker. Why are these women so memorable and inspiring?
CJ: They were determined to succeed in worlds of injustice and inequality. They became trailblazers despite their hardships. It’s something Mya in the play really clings to. Starting a new chapter, she uses their pioneer strength to motivate her.
NI: They’re “badass women“ whose stories don’t get told. Black women who achieved astonishing things in the face of oppression.

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You can book your tickets for bricks and pieces from the RADA website HERE.

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