Q&A | James Aden | Playwright

To get you ready for our February Shorts we’ve been talking to all the writers about their plays and working as a playwright.

Our final playwright is James Aden, whose play Out the Back entwines three beautifully understated monologues which unfold a tale of horror that disturbs the quiet of Northern English suburbia.

What prompted you to write Out the Back?
I wrote the play off the back of what I’d witnessed happening around us in this country regarding soldiers dying in senseless wars far away from home, and the fallout that occurs when they dont return.

What do you think the audience will like about it?
I think people will like the conversational intimacy of the piece and its political / familial relevance as a piece of contemporary theatre. I also believe they will appreciate the landsacpes the language helps paint and the fact that they can also close their eyes and listen and see. Radio for the theatre.

How do you hope the piece will develop through the rehearsal process and its performance in Descent?
I believe it will develop as the cast become aware of the story they are telling and the impact that story has on their interpretation of each individual monologue. Remember this isnt an ensemble piece as such as the characters are not aware of each other’s experiences. So it really will strike home as three individual voices all experiencing fallout. I think the fact that they stand alone but are still conjoined will add power to each cast member’s understanding of the impact of the piece as a whole.

How did you get into writing?
I got into writing after being discovered by Roger Brown of Fim Lab at Channel Four from whom I gained a development commission. And also by Jessica Dromgoole at Paines Plough where various writers such as Sarah Kane mentored me as a writer.

Which writers inspire you?
Sarah Kane. Alan Bennet. David Grieg. Michael Frayn. Simon Stephens. Leo Butler. Hayley Squires.

What’s your favourite play?
Lucky Dog by Leo Butler with Vera Vera Vera by Hayley Squires being another recent favourite. With Lucky Dog I like the sparseness of the language accompanied by the play’s compelling sense of isolation.

Out the Back will be performed as part of Descent Shorts on the 7th February at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone. More info

About James
James began his writing career with Jessica Dromgoole at Paines Plough and Roger Brown at Film Four Lab before going on to study for an MA in Scriptwriting at Goldsmiths. Out the Back was written after a sabbatical from writing, but not from learning and growing, not only as a writer but also as a social commentator.


One comment

  1. Jude Tavanyar

    Just to say to James Aden that I saw Out the Back at the Cockpit last night and thought it absolutely beautiful. I love the way you write, bringing together 3 entirely believable, brilliantly-observed and sympathetically-drawn characters with different perspectives on the same story. It was great, inspiring; thank you. I am Jude, the woman who was sitting in the row in front of you – you may remember because I was thinking of leaving in the interval as I had a babysitter sitting at home with a clock ticking, and your persuasive skills kept me there! . Please let me know when you have something else on – I am also a writer, and would like to keep in touch with your work.

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