LONDON – Two sides of a city exist in ignorance of each other – how do we tell someone else’s story without letting poverty become poverty porn?
Following a sold out, critically-acclaimed run at the Traverse Theatre in 2018, Fringe First winner Kieran Hurley is touring Mouthpiece to Soho Theatre this April. Directed by former Traverse Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin, the production sees Neve McIntosh and Lorn Macdonald reprising their roles from the original production to play Libby and Frank.
Set in Salisbury Crags at Twilight, Mouthpiece opens as a woman steps forward into the air before being hastily pulled back by a teenage boy. Libby whiles away her days in New Town cafes and still calls herself a writer. Declan is a talented young artist struggling with a volatile home. The two form an uneasy friendship, complicated by class and culture. Libby spots an opportunity to put herself back on track and really make a difference, but she needs Declan’s story in all its messy, painful detail.
Through Declan and Libby’s stories, writer Kieran Hurley considers the lines that can be easily crossed when we represent untold stories and how well-intentioned artists appropriate the histories of their muses. Says Hurley: “The inspiration for Mouthpiece was a growing frustration and anger at how we, in the arts, exclude certain voices and experiences. I heard a (possibly untrue) story about a successful writer being interrupted at a Q&A by someone from their past, and it got me thinking about who we allow to speak, about consent, and about the violence of being reliant on someone else to tell your story for you. The economic divide and sort of class apartheid in the play exists everywhere in our society and has been entrenched ever more deeply by a decade of austerity. It’s as relevant to London as it is to Edinburgh.”
Questions what it means to write an ending for someone’s story when they have yet to live it, this self-reflexive production tackles urgent debates about accessibility and representation in the arts, the role of privilege and class inequality and the right to tell stories.
Mouthpiece plays from 2nd April to 4th May 2019 at the Soho Theatre, London. Tickets available here