Edinburgh Fringe 2022 
Interview

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Changing the Sheets
Harry
Butler
Venue 20: Assembly Rooms - Drawing Room
Aug 5-15, 17-28, 21:15 /  Tickets
Aug 5, 2022

‘D'you wanna come back to mine?' New comedy about what we say to each other when the lights are off and no one else is listening. After the swiping, the drinking, the small talk and the big talk. After the bedroom door is closed. Because we speak a little differently when our heads are against a pillow. This is intimacy (without the gory bits) and you get to have a look...

 

Hi Harry, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping during these strange times?

 

Yeah I’ve been doing good. So happy and relieved to be back doing things that I took for granted a bit. Going to crowded pubs, theatres, and concerts. It’s fantastic.

 

How does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe after everything that has happened?

 

It feels amazing! I feel very lucky to be getting to go to Fringe, particularly after not being after not being able to work in the theatre or go to live events. I’m absolutely buzzing.

 

Will there be any nerves ahead of your first show at Assembly Rooms?

 

Yes plenty! Thankfully we have done the show before a few times in Ireland at Dublin Fringe and a run in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre so hopefully the experience of doing it before will settle those nerves quickly. I’ve never been to Edinburgh Fringe before so I don’t know what expect. That’s making me nervous - but excited too.

 

Have you got your The Royal Mile sales patter down or are you still tweaking it?

 

Oh god! Still working on it. Very much a work in progress that one.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about Changing the Sheets, what was the inspiration behind this show?

 

So Changing the Sheets is the story of a young Irish couple who’ve just met and the conversations they have in the bedroom. It explores their relationship and how they get to know each other over a short period of time but only through what they say to each other in the privacy of their bedrooms. This includes intimate moments but we never act out or perform any of the sexual stuff, we just make the sounds or say the words. It’s meant to be funny too! I guess I wanted to look at those brief encounters we have with strangers and we get to know each other in that way. I was fascinated by pillow-talk. It seemed like a good idea to put such a private and interesting type of conversation on stage.

 

When writing a show like this do you ever draw from your own life/experiences?

 

Yeah for sure. Even if you don’t want to, I think. I’ve found writing dialogue incredibly revealing about what is going on in my brain or things that have happened in the past and stayed with me. A lot of the show is invented and new but my own life or attitudes bleed into it one way or another.

"Hes shaped it hugely and guided the story as well as coming up with the way of staging the play and making the text work in the best way possible."

What has been the most interesting thing you have discovered about yourself and the theatre you want to create after writing Changing the Sheets?

 

I guess it’s just encouraged me to write more and keep going. I trained as an actor and didn’t have any serious intention to write but I’ve been really surprised by the reaction to the show and it’s made me want to keep going. I didn’t imagine that it would resonate with people like it has (in its own small way) and that makes me want to keep on writing.

 

How vital is the creative collaboration between a playwright and their director and what has the process been like for you working with Anthony Biggs on this production?

 

It is so important. Anthony has been working with me on this play for a long time and vital is a good word to describe how important his role has been. He’s shaped it hugely and guided the story as well as coming up with the way of staging the play and making the text work in the best way possible. This is my first play and having Anthony encouraging me and helping me along has been so important. I’ve realised how much easier things are if you have someone talented in your corner helping you along.

 

Have you always had a passion for theatre?

 

Yes I have. And I don’t really know why. But yes I have always loved going.

 

What one word best describes your show?

 

Gas. (hopefully).

 

In-between your show how do hope to get a chance to see other shows at the fringe?

 

Definitely. I cannot wait to see other work. I am really looking forward to seeing comedy too. I haven’t seen that much of it and Edinburgh seems to be the place to see some stand up.

 

What has been the best piece of advice you have been given and do you have any advice to offer an emerging playwright?

 

My dad told me never to go on more than three dates with someone if you’re not into them. I think that’s pretty good advice.

 

I don’t know if I have any advice to give to emerging playwrights or if I am in the position to give any advice. One thing that has helped me write is leaving my phone and laptop at home and going to the library to work. That helps me be productive.

 

Are there any Irish playwrights we should keep an eye on?

 

Dylan Coburn Gray and Ciara Elizabeth Smyth are two that I think are pretty fab.

 

Do you have a favourite theatre quote?

 

One of the acting teachers in drama school always used to proclaim in her old RP voice that “no one sleeps when I’m on”  and I like that. Whatever you do, don’t be boring.

 

And finally, what do you hope your audiences will take away from your show?

 

I hope they’ve had a laugh and a good time. And recognise their own experiences of hooking up with people and getting to know them for a short period of time. Maybe it’ll remind them of a special person who just got away.

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