Jess Sayer talks SHAM

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Basement

Bruce Mason Playwright Award winner Jess Sayer catches our resident blogger Jonty Crane up on her latest production SHAM, opening this Tuesday.

How would you describe the show in one sentence?

A twisted black comedy with four hilarious, badass ladies making some theatre magic!

It’s a very black comedy, how difficult is it to get the right emotional tone?

I love to get dark in my work. I love the knife edge of sanity – and what happens when you push characters a little too far. I think peppering a dark script with comedy allows an audience to laugh when things get uncomfortable. That way they feel they can escape. You can go to really deep, intense places without depressing the shit out of everyone for an hour.

I think a lot of the emotional tone is found in the playing too, and our director, Conrad Newport, is incredible at finding those comedy moments. And the beautiful ones too. It really is quite a roller coaster.

Have you had any real life family experiences that compare to what happens in the show?

No, not really. SHAM is entirely a work of fiction. I’ve experienced life changing lies, but nothing quite compared to what some of these characters go through. It’s been a lot of fun to create this scenario – and then to toss in four amazingly strong women to see what happens!

But I think everyone has lied or been lied to at some point – so hopefully there will be a lot in SHAM that is relatable to an audience.

Finally, what has been the most difficult part of the production?

It’s actually all been pretty smooth sailing. Boring, huh? We have a fantastic, irreverent team, who are all here because they love to make theatre. When you have a team like that, it’s all pretty easy!

SHAM is on from the 31st of May through the 10th of June. More by Jonty can be found on his blog.