Inspector Sands performers on stage

Inspector Sands tell us all about their new show The Lounge

| Fri 1 Jul 2016

We caught up with Inspector Sands to find out more about their new production The Lounge, including what to expect, their best piece of advice and the most useful thing to have in the rehearsal room. 

Can you briefly tell us about Inspector Sands?

Inspector Sands is a multi-award winning, London-based theatre company, whose work has toured nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. The joint artistic directors are Ben Lewis, Giulia Innocenti and Lucinka Eisler. They have created work for UK venues including the Almeida, the Lyric Hammersmith, the South Bank Centre, the National Theatre and the BAC. Shows include Hysteria (Total Theatre Award, 2006); If That’s All There Is (Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Award, 2009), both of which were selected for the British Council Showcase and went on to tour extensively in the UK and to countries including China, Russia, USA, Armenia, Romania and Germany.

How would you describe the work you create?  

Funny, sad, irreverent, observational, detailed, non-naturalistic, occasionally surreal. We have a particular interest in the way that global events and trends are reflected in the minutiae of everyday life. We seek the epic in the everyday and the everyday in the epic.

Can you tell us a bit more about what inspired The Lounge?  

All three of us had been lucky enough to have relationships with our grandparents well into our adulthoods. As they aged we became acutely aware that their generation was fast disappearing and we began to think about the legacy they would leave and how much would remain, or not, of their extraordinary life stories. Together with an awareness of our fast ageing population and our a new sense of our own mortality as we hit our mid to late thirties, this led us to become interested in the fact that as a society our relationship to ageing seems to be very problematic.

What can we expect from the show?   

A comic tragedy that starts as slow motion farce and snowballs to reach a fever pitch delirium of one woman's confrontation with her mortality, the care system and herself. Performers in their 30s and 40s playing characters in their late 90s. The mini drama of mealtimes.

What’s the most interesting thing you discovered during the creation process? Were there any surprises?    

We were surprised to find how tiring it is to play people in their late nineties. The body is in a constant state of tension. We may not move much on stage, but it is weirdly exhausting...

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

It's always trying to tread the line between comedy and tragedy but we generally expect people to laugh. However we did a show in Moscow and the audience reaction was completely divided according to age. The young people were laughing but the older people saw only the pain and tragedy. One woman even apologised afterwards for the frivolous laughter of the younger generation. We were too embarrassed to say that's what we usually expect audiences to do.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?  

Not given to us directly, but Laurie Anderson's advice to the young.

What the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal room?   

An open mind, a sound designer and a large bottle of water.

What are your next steps for this project?   

After previewing The Lounge at Harlow Playhouse and artsdepot this July before heading off to the Edinburgh Fringe for one month, we hope to tour the show in the UK and internationally. We think it could be a great platform for debate around the issue of ageing in our society and are curious to see what the audiences' different reactions will be to this subject matter.   

See Inspector Sands' Edinburgh Preview of The Lounge at artsdepot Thursday 28 July.

@Inspector_Sands #TheLoungePlay

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