© 2019 by The New Current. 

Foreward Festival London | 2019
Tobias Graham: "I used to go to drama classes every Saturday when I was younger and it was the best treat ever to come to London and watch a play or a musical."

SINK | 21 MAY - 25 MAY | Tickets

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In the wonky haze of a bathroom at a house party, a group of friends discover sex, drugs and whether you can still be manly with a glittery butterfly drawn on your face.

 

Hi Tobias thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?


Hey! I'm doing really well- we’ve just finished the first week of rehearsals for Sink and it's been super exciting finally getting to put this play on its feet. Also, Pret just gave me a free £10 voucher to spend so I can’t complain. 

Do you have any nerves ahead of your plays run?


I'm sure I'll be shitting it when it comes to opening night, but at the moment I'm just having loads of fun. There's a really fantastic group of people bringing this play to life, so I can relax knowing it's in very safe hands!

What does it mean to be at Foreword Festival with Sink?


Being a part of this festival is a wonderful opportunity for me to showcase my work alongside three other great plays.  As a new writer, The Space has offered so much support to myself and the production and getting the chance to have my first full-length play performed for a week in a London theatre feels a bit like a dream.  

Can you tell me a little about Sink, how did the show come about?


There’s a real strangeness to house parties when you’re young and restless; people experiment with drink and drugs and sex and I wanted to capture that moment in a play because I hadn’t really seen it before on stage. Those nights can be euphoric and heartbreaking all at once, and the one place people seem to find themselves being most honest at house parties is when they go to the toilet- for a line or a piss or just for some peace and quiet. That’s why Sink is set entirely in the bathroom- not only does it allow for some strange and comic situations, but it feels like the perfect place for characters to bare their souls and explore their desires. So while the play has all sorts of drama unfolding throughout it- cheating scandals, unrequited love, conflicts of masculinity- it is essentially the story of a group of hedonistic 20-year-olds on the precipice of adulthood desperate to understand the pressures they face to feel happy.

What was the inspiration behind your play?


It's hard to remember the exact moment this idea came to be, but I think a big inspiration was this guy I knew when I used to live in Brighton. We were total opposites and our lives up to that moment couldn’t have been more different, and yet we had this really sweet, brief romance. At its core, Sink is a bit of love story, but it deals with the those societal, heteronormative ideals and strains that act to hold us back from truly opening up to one another- those pressures to conform really can limit genuine human connections.

What has the experience been for you working with your director Patrick Bone?


Patrick and I have been good friends since university and so working on the play with him has been great fun. He has a really unique vision and energy that he brings into rehearsals, and his passion for collaboration creates a genuinely relaxed atmosphere where we can experiment with different ideas. I think what's important is that from the very early drafts, Patrick understood the heart of the play, and it's been so exciting seeing him translate that onto the stage. 

What have been the biggest challenges bringing this production to life?


The play messes around a lot with time, and this can be very difficult to express on stage. Navigating those issues can be a little stressful but having the challenge will only make the final result more rewarding. 

Once a play is running do you find it hard to not keep tweaking it?


It’s definitely important to know when to stop because I think searching for perfection is a waste of energy. I wanted to keep the play relatively open, and so being in the room with Patrick and the actors have been useful because we have been able to make some edits along the way that better suit the production and the way the actors feel in certain scenes. 

"...have fun exploring your characters and the world you’re creating and everything else will fall into place."

Have you always been interested in theatre?


Always. I used to go to drama classes every Saturday when I was younger and it was the best treat ever to come to London and watch a play or a musical. Although I don’t perform so much any more, I’m completely in love with the world of live theatre- it has so much possibility and I still feel there is no greater excitement than being in that space, be that on the stage or in the auditorium. 

How much has your approach to your writing changed since your debut play?


My approach has changed massively. Everything comes from the script- actors and directors can interpret things their own way but the answers need to come from your writing, and so Sink has been a real learning experience for me. 

What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?


Don’t do it alone - allow other people into your process and try to regularly hear your work out loud.

Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow playwright?


Don’t try and force a story - have fun exploring your characters and the world you’re creating and everything else will fall into place.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Sink?


It’s very easy to be absorbed by the pressures of life, and being scared and overwhelmed is part of the human experience. I hope Sink shows the importance of going through these things together because then being scared isn’t so scary anymore. Oh, and also IBS can be a legitimate reason for not wanting to risk anal.