An unfiltered look at the vicious cycle of being human and the ways in which we seek or do not seek help. A darkly comedic show conceived, created, performed and directed by Yvette May, Chelsea Newton-Mountney and Rich Foyster immersing you into a clinical drugs trial.
Hey guys thanks for talking to TNC, are you all set for Brighton Fringe?
We are, almost! Actually today we are just finalising the script, costumes etc., we continually work on the show right up until performance date number one and even beyond that!
What does it mean for you to be able to bring Anti-Depressed? to Brighton?
We are two Brighton based companies and absolutely love performing in our home town at Brighton Fringe, it has such a great atmosphere, the city comes to life. It's our favourite month of the year.
There is such a supportive community feel here and we have a lot of fun.
Can you tell me about Anti-Depressed?, how did this collaboration about?
Anti-depressed? is a participatory performance looking at how we seek or do not seek help for mental health issues and the vicious cycle of being human, under the guise of a clinical drugs trial for a new antidepressant. It's a dark comedy filled with, funny sketches and brutally honest personal stories. The collaboration came about after Chelsea and Rich of Popheart Productions went to see me, Yvette, of Happenings Theatre Company in my show '10 Steps To Happiness' and approached me to direct their show for Edinburgh Fringe 'Am I F#*kable?!' in 2018, after both having success up in Edinburgh we decided to come together to collaborate on a brand new show for Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe 2019, with each of us being equally involved in the writing, directing and performing.
What was the inspiration behind this show?
This subject is something that all of us have been personally affected by and feel passionately about opening a discussion through the medium of theatre, that's what we believe contemporary theatre is all about, asking those uncomfortable questions.
What have been the biggest challenges bringing Anti-Depressed? to life?
As an artist, it is always intimidating approaching subjects that people are so deeply and personally affected by. We don't claim to have all the answers, we have ideas and questions that we want to explore creatively and with audiences.
Once your show is running do you find it hard to keep from tweaking it?
Absolutely, audiences are one of the biggest sources of feedback, sometimes a show isn't fully realised until it's done a full run, even if it is received really well! The nature of a devised piece is that it is often changing and morphing. We are all of the opinions there is always room for improvement, we are constantly finding new funny moments, reflecting and tweaking as we go. That's one of the exciting things about live theatre and being a theatre-maker.
Have you always had a passion for theatre?
Rich has a really interesting history, he was an opera singer as a child and after forgetting the bug of theatre he joined the navy for 5 years. It's a film and writing that got him back into the world of theatre.
Chelsea as a child wanted to be an actor, artist or horse rider, the only one of those she doesn't do anymore is the horse riding!
Yvette's mum put her into dance lessons from the age of 5 and she used to watch the drama classes through the window, so was soon taking part in all the plays and is dancing no longer (only in clubs, and on stage sometimes!).
How did Happenings Theatre Company and Popheart Productions come about?
Popheart Productions came about in 2014 when both Rich and Chelsea wanted to make youthful, creative, contemporary theatre that is relatable to the social climate they found themselves in.
Yvette started Happenings Theatre Company upon leaving university in 2018 and wanted to create a comedic solo show about happiness.
Both of us want to create work that is comedic, honest and poignant.
How much has your approach to theatre changed since you started out?
The greatest joy as a maker is watching your work evolve and develop through experience and as you grow as a person. In terms of the actual making itself, we always throw ideas around a room, pick a topic we really care about and then play play play.
In theatre how important is the collaborative process for you when you're creating a show?
Really important, it's essential to the creative process, not just the collaboration with each other, but also the collaboration with the venue, our technician Kaylee, other creative peers that we approach for feedback. It's why we decided to work together and do this show.
"Believe in your vision because you are the only one that can carry it through to its true potential."
What was the first show you saw that inspired you to want to get into theatre?
Yvette - I don't remember the first show I saw and always remember having wanted to be a performer, but being pulled on stage, when I was 5, during a pantomime at the theatre-royal is a memory that sticks out for me.
Rich - When I first saw an opera!
Chelsea - Watching old Hollywood musicals totally got me hooked, everything about them, the costumes, the glamour, the spectacle of it.
Every time we see good quality theatre we feel inspired and excited to be involved in this scene, hence the fringe being our favourite time of year, there are so many amazing things to see all day every day.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
Yvette - Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Chelsea - The only way to get the work done is to do the work.
Rich - Believe in your vision because you are the only one that can carry it through to its true potential.
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow theatre maker?
If some people love it and some people hate it you've done something right.
What 3 words best describe your show?
Dark, absurd, silliness.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your show?
Even though the themes we discuss are difficult ones, we hope that it will bring some comfort and unity and get people thinking about how we humans deal with our difficult lives.