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Dirty Great Love Story

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna
June 10, 2013

What is your job on this show?
We are both the writers and performers..

What is your show about?
An achingly funny story of two hopeful, hapless romantics who get drunk, get it on, and then get the hell away from each other.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
KATIE: I always liked showing off and organising things. I used to turn every New Year celebration into a production by herding up the other kids and making them put on a show. We cut up tickets, made curtains from bedsheets, wrote out programmes. I have no idea what the shows were, probably just us coming on stage and telling rubbish jokes about elephants but it was all about creating an event. I knew I wanted to work in theatre when I saw a production of Equus at Theatre Cymru in Wales. The man playing Nugget was incredible - I believed I was looking at a horse when he was really just a bloke in wire hooves. It sounds simple but it had a huge impact on me, I talked about it for months. I just thought, “Yeah, this is what I want to do”.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
RICHARD: I’m in.

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
RICHARD: Yes. We’re in a greasy spoon, eating breakfast. (Something I’m looking forward to in NYC - where’s good?). Katie’s really good in the scene, it’s a lot of fun to perform, and audiences tend to get quite vocal which I enjoy. And then I talk to the audience about love and glasses. It’s truthful, and it’s funny, and it means a lot to me. There's also a bit later on where I dance. I enjoy this because, as an intellectual powerhouse, it does me good to express myself physically. Completely self-taught.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Jennifer Lawrence?
KATIE: Easy. Julia Davis. Although she’s probably not known over here. She is an incredible writer and actress (and director). Very funny, very dark, very talented, a huge inspiration to me. My US-friendly alternative would be Bob Dylan - today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life.

Why are theater festivals so very important?
RICHARD: Festivals let new blood in. They give new artists the chance to get work seen in production, rather than at the script/proposal/reading stage. In the UK at least, the Edinburgh Festival often introduces new audiences to theatre. People there mostly for comedy might see a play because it’s on in the same venue as a stand-up, when they’d never make the trip to a theatre otherwise. Hopefully, they might go on to see more. Scratch festivals (such as the Nursery Festival in the UK, where we developed Dirty Great Love Story) offer the chance to show new work and refine it in the light of audience response. Without the pressure of reviews or box office, it allows you to be experimental – ‘I'm not sure if this’ll work, but I'm going to try it and see if it flies.’ Sometimes it does. And finally, the Brits off Broadway Fest is hugely important to us - we wouldn't be here without them.