Next week New Stagers’ dons big hair, bold make up and shimmery bodysuits as it enters into the not so glamorous world of glam rock with our production of Remember Me This Way. This is a new play written and directed by Ian Pring. We caught up with him to find out how its been going and why glam rock:
Q: So what is the play about?
A: The play looks at the repercussions of an event that in retrospect was a precursor of the Yewtree scandal of 2013 onwards – the 1997 conviction of Gary Glitter for possession of indecent images of children. We look at what it meant to the fans.
Q: Is it based on fact?
A: The family and friends who find out the news and drive the story are entirely fictional. Most of the events described are in the public domain, others have been included for dramatic purposes, as they say.
Q: Isn’t this subject-matter still somewhat toxic?
A: Yes, frankly, it is. But since when were toxicity and art incompatible? Norman Mailer said of “American Psycho” that it forces you to look at something unspeakable and that so few novels try for that anymore. This play doesn’t go that far. It’s taking potentially problematic subjects and dealing with them in a human way.
Q: Some people might not like that, especially as much of the play is funny.
A: In this day and age, you can’t say much without offending a certain type of person. Well, I certainly can’t.
Q: Why turn to glam rock as a subject?
A: Glam was about artifice and deception. The late 60s, it was all about keeping it real in pop music. Then in the early 70s Alice Cooper and David Bowie in particular saw that there was another way, and became personas, showmen. And so in this play, most of whose characters are undergoing some form of transformation or unease about their lives, glam becomes a symbol of hiding behind a persona and not accepting reality. It’s a subject I dealt with in my previous play, “Have a Good Week Till Next Week”, in which professional wrestling becomes a symbol of how we lie to each other and tell stories. So I guess this a recurrent theme with me.
Q: The play is mooted as the second in a loose trilogy about the 1970s. What’s next?
A: I was thinking of something set around the old talent shows on TV, like Opportunity Knocks. But I’ve got an idea floating around in my head about the Yorkshire Ripper. We’ll see what sort of mood I’m in when this show’s all over.