Cruyff Turn Theatre Company presents Narration: Opened by The Foot Monster, a double bill of plays, here on 13-14 March.
Will Owen’s The Foot Monster is the story of a child’s struggle to understand the role of baked goods, the very nature of time itself and, above all, feet, in the modern world. The only guidance the child has comes from a mother whose mood changes as quickly as the wind and a mysterious, unstable man, who simply goes by The Foot Monster.
Shola Tinubu’s Narration is a tale that looks at the lives of three people who can all hear the “narrator”, a man who’s unnecessary and inappropriate narration begins to slowly ruin their lives. After a chance encounter they meet and find out they’re the only people who can hear this voice. So they embark on a journey to find the narrator and kill him. Follow these whacky characters as they learn and grow as people, on their way to commit murder.
Cruyff Turn is made up of founder Joseph Hollas, who studies scriptwriting and performance; and Jacob Bell, Will Owen andGregor Laurence who are all straight drama students and are company directors, as is Shola Tinubu who studies scriptwriting and performance.
We found out more about the company – inspired by footballer JJohan Cruyff‘s creativity – which aims to bring interesting stories to the masses and have a bit of fun along the way.
Do you think that sense of fun is something that’s missing from theatre right now?
Bringing interesting stories to the masses is what every show tries to do and every show is different. This is our opportunity to bring what we believe to be interesting to the masses. There are a lot of great companies in Norwich right now, doing some great work but we feel as though a lot of them are missing out on the fun aspect of theatre. The reason most of the people working in theatre today started was because it was fun, we need to get back to that. It’s called a play for a reason.
Do you seek out the quirky or is that the direction your writing naturally goes?
That’s just the direction that Will’s writing usually goes in. We are quite quirky and weird in general and it just sort of seeps its way into the work that we produce. Our work is a reflection of who we are as people and what we enjoy making.
You’re all UEA students and it was mentioned some of you live together; what’s that like in terms of helping / hindering the creative process?
Overall it helps the creative process as we can work collaboratively at any time of day or night. We can also do rehearsals whenever we want and we are in tune with when each of us are free. It’s possibly hindering in the sense that it makes our projects quite full on. As we are always together, it is sometimes easy to start talking about the work that we must do for each of the shows, even at moments when we should be taking a break.
Could you tell us more about your sell-out Fringe show Mr Nice Guy – how did it come about, what was that experience like and how it’s helped the company moving forward?
Mr Nice Guy was a crime/comedy show that we took the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. It was the very first thing we did as a company. Basically, Jo had written this script and he said he wanted to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe and so we came together, made our own company, put a cast together and travelled up to Edinburgh. It has helped us, as theatre-makers, to realise what is required in order to put on a show. It was somewhat of a baptism of fire as none of us really had experience in running a company or putting on a show, least of all a show at the Edinburgh Fringe. However, none of us have any regrets and we learned some very important and valuable lessons from our experiences.
What can you tell us about your Edinburgh Fringe 2020 show Dugs?
Dugs is a newly-written comedy that looks into the lives of three dogs – Benny, Cheyenne and Sadie. While waiting for their owners to get home, they get into all sorts of trouble. It is a really interesting piece of new writing and takes a look at the daily, sometimes simple, sometimes complex, lives of dogs as pets. Dogs are a great subject matter for a play as they are so loveable and funny and this translates into the text. We are really looking forward to taking it to Edinburgh in 2020 as we think it would really fit with Fringe audiences.
What are the plans for the company after university and you all go your separate ways?
Most of us are only in our second year of university so there is still a way to go until we’re done. We’re very much focused at the moment on bringing fresh and exciting theatre to Norwich, as we are doing with Narration: Opened by the Foot Monster, while also creating a presence at the Edinburgh Fringe. We have got an eye on post-university life for the company and there is the possibility of staying in Norwich after we are finished at UEA to build on the reputation that we will hopefully have garnered in the fine city.