Subika Anwar is and writer and actor who was part of the very first STEP UP Creatives training ensemble in 2011-12. Here’s what she’s been up to since:
Since being part of the STEP UP Creatives ensemble in 2011-12, I’ve left acting to one side. My play Black Men Don’t go to Therapy was a runner up in the DREAM UP writing competition in 2012, and since then New Perspectives have supported me to develop the script by commissioning Kate Chapman (former Artistic Director of Theatre Writing Partnership) to work with me as a dramaturg. This, alongside encouraging support from New Perspectives’ Associate Director Tilly Branson during my STEP UP evaluation process, made me want to develop as a playwright.
Since STEP UP I have been on attachment as a Literary Associate with my local theatre The Royal and Derngate in Northampton, where I have set up The Writers’ Forum – an autonomous collective for emerging Playwrights to share and develop their writing. I’m currently in the process of creating a new writing event to showcase their work. I was commissioned to write a short play for one of the youth groups – a response to A Midsummer Night’s Dream – which was one of the productions The Royal and Derngate put on as part of their summer season. I am also working as a script reader and I have recently been asked to assist as a dramaturg on a development day for young playwrights developing their scripts with the theatre.
This summer Subika has returned to New Perspectives to be part of the street team promoting The Boss of it All in Edinburgh. Here are her thoughts after arriving, and her review of the show:
All four seasons rolled into one, the annoyance and pleasure of over enthusiastic actors, flyers galore and lots and lots of walking. It can only be the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!
I’ve arrived, for two weeks and am working with the fabulous New Perspectives theatre company on their new show The Boss of it All – which I have been plugging as ‘the first ever Lars Von Trier adaptation to hit the stage.’ And its working wonders.
I’ve ‘flyered’ before for a production company (handed out leaflets whilst chatting and meeting some really interesting characters and still had time to fit in about 5 shows a day) but never for a theatre company. So naturally I began to sweat in trepidation as I was whisked away to the venue upon my arrival into Edinburgh and to be given an array of clear instructions of what needs doing. This is a different ball game altogether. By this time I’m thinking why the fuck don’t I want to be a banker and have my own office overlooking a skyline and getting Mary the secretary to do everything for me through a speakerphone? Almost 30 and I’m still jumping at the chance to spend my summer in a cold country and humid studio spaces for hours at a time, watching actors sweat and spit their guts out at the chance to perform to an audience. One of the instructions was to do just that – watch the show. The daunting fear very quickly begins to dissipate. And in answer to my question above…definitely not!
So lets get straight down to it:
The Boss of it All (Originally by Lars Von Trier) Adapted and Directed by Jack McNamara
A voiceover with a Danish accent opens the show telling the audience what to expect from a group of actors about to perform on stage. Meta theatre!! It’s EVERYWHERE.
By commenting on the nature of theatre itself this technique holds up a mirror to the artificiality and reality of our own ordinary lives. They are characters like ourselves after all so the engagement to relate is ever present. The Boss of it All offered a ‘hipster-esque’ hilarity that the audience felt proud to chuckle at. And so with this self permission to laugh at oneself the giggles kept rolling in.
Ravn, the boss of an IT company, hides this fact from his employees whose attention and love he craves, especially when money is tight. So when a prospective buyer and his translator insist on only negotiating with the boss, Ravn of course hires an actor Kristoffer to take responsibility of signing over the power of attorney and various other unpopular decisions in a bid to make money.
However when Kristoffer goes off script and convinces Ravn that his over-intellectual improvised techniques are what his character would do, panic ensues as Ravn is forced to sit back and watch as the boss decides to take that company vacation along with its luxurious treats after all.
Politically I also found the play offered something relevant and now. With so many companies and organisations either ascending an economic spiral staircase or scamming the system by avoiding tax, it poses an array of unanswered questions of our current financial system and shines a spotlight on corrupt decision makers sitting at the top.
Overall a snappy and quick paced performance by the cast who presented very different individual personalities within each character – all of which were 4 dimensional and well rounded, making for some delightful and necessary writing choices by Jack, including one female employee’s nymphomaniac tendencies. Rated 14+ for a reason.
Now to check out the film.