West End hit People, Places & Things begins Playouse run

PPT, Credit: Johan Persson, 2017

THE Playhouse will host one of the most critically acclaimed productions of 2016 for seven performances starting this evening, as Headlong’s People, Places & Things comes to Liverpool as part of a UK tour.

The production enjoyed a sold out run at the National Theatre and the West End before embarking on a national tour. A production on Broadway recently premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.

Written by the celebrated playwright Duncan Macmillan, who also created the stage adaptation of 1984 that visited the Playhouse in 2013, the play was nominated for Best New Play at the 2016 Olivier Awards.

The production features the innovative stage design of award-winning designer Bunny Christie, who also designed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and has toured extensively since 2012.

An intoxicating play, People, Places & Things became the must-see show last year for its vivid portrayal of one woman’s entanglement in addiction, treatment and self-awareness.

Irish born Lisa Dwyer Hogg will play Emma, an actress whose life has spun recklessly out of control because of her addictions to drink and drugs. 

Emma was having the time of her life.  Now she’s in rehab.  Her first step is to admit that she has a problem. But the problem isn’t with Emma, it’s with everything else.  She needs to tell the truth.  But she’s smart enough to know that there’s no such thing.   

When intoxication feels like the only way to survive the modern world, how can she ever sober up?

On being asked why he wrote the play, Duncan MacMillan explained: “Our culture tends to glamorise or stigmatise addicts, make them into morality tales or victim narratives or punch-lines, or otherwise ignore the realities of addiction, both for the addict and those around them. I wanted to write about the process of recovery which is something which tends to be underrepresented in discussions of addiction also a subject which is fraught with controversy and debate. The more I looked into it the more I struggled with some of the central aspects of the support structures offered for addicts.

“I found the whole area irreconcilably contradictory, morally, intellectually and emotionally. I wrote the play, in part, as a way of grappling with that contradiction and to find a form for my anxieties and uncertainties on the issue.

“On a more practical level, there also seemed to me to be a worthwhile challenge in focusing on recovery. It seemed to me that one of the reasons recovery isn’t always dealt with accurately in popular culture is that it inherently rejects the kind of narrative structure that drama craves – we want a beginning, middle and end with a cathartic pay-off that provides meaning and a clear message. The reality of recovery is that it’s an on-going process with no end. It’s a daily struggle for your whole life.  That seemed to me to be a provocative challenge as a writer – to create something without a beginning, middle and end which rendered its content inaccurate or exploitative, but which could deliver a satisfying whole story to an audience.” 

Joining Lisa Dwyer Hogg as Emma are Michael Balogun (Shaun), Trevor Fox (Paul & Dad), Susan Lawson-Reynolds (Jodi), Ekow Quartey (Foster), Andrew Sheridan (Mark), Imogen Slaughter (Meredith), Aimee-Lou Wood (Laura) and Matilda Ziegler (Doctor & Mum).

People, Places & Things visits the Playhouse from Tuesday 14 November to Saturday 18 November 2017. Tickets are available at: https://www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/people-places-things or by calling Box Office on 0151 709 4776.