Paper Cuts by Stef Smith
In collaboration between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Playwright Studio Scotland I have directed, and partaken in the development of a new Scottish play by Stef Smith named; Paper Cuts. This was my degree show on the Ma directing course.
The cast: Esme Bayley (Robin), Olivia Stevenson (Jo), Emily Strong (Dylan), Tierney Nolen (Kate), William Foote (Chris), Duncan Harte (alex).
Day one; Stef intruded a topic; the lack of language. It gave me that feeling, that exiting feeling where you can´t help it, you just want to start creating! We started looking for situations where people lose voice, and struggle to find words. We ventured into the land ofdyslexia and illiteracy. Looking at the mechanics of the alphabet we discovered; blots of ink printed into paper. If you can read they represent sound, words, and strings of thought. Blots of ink as building blocks in human closeness, or if you can´t; blots that block you out. A character or two was conceived…
The creative team: Ellen Jerstad & Ilker Dursun (Set Design), Rose Whiting & Patti Amat (Costume Design), Juta Pranulyté (Music).
Throughout the development the cast brought insights and brave embodiment to the conversations. The play was increasingly about human relationships and loneliness. In a dizzying ping-pong match between the professional and private domain Stef created a world giving life to the idiom death by a thousand papercuts. For me this proses has been closely associated with my experience of Britain as a foreigner. Paper Cuts as a dark picture of crumbling post Brexit Britain. The growing differences, privatisation, hard working conditions, and the brave people who don´t complain, but battle on even though life sometimes is cutting.
Photos by: Kenneth Dundas