Interview: DC Jackson - playwright
Retelling of The Marriage of Figaro set in world of banking comes to Lyceum
What inspired you to adapt The Marriage of Figaro?
I love the original play, which I think it’s fair to say is less well known than the opera. So I’ve always thought that’s a shame. It’s genuinely hilarious with strikingly modern characters and jokes. It’s got all the cross-dressing and duplicity and hiding in cupboards one could want in a night out. It’s got such a playful, cartoonish energy to it but also real moments of pointed satire – it reminds me of an 18th century French 30 Rock.
Why set the piece in the world of banking and finance?
The first problem one must solve when updating a piece so routed in the hierarchy of aristocratic privilege in 18th century France is that the play hinges on an imbalance of power and wealth, with the richest leading indulged, opulent lifestyles at the expense of the masses. Looking to find a contemporary world that had echoes of that structure and imbalance, well … banking seemed about right.
What have been the greatest challenges and pleasures of creating work for the Lyceum?
The way new writing works in the UK is that young playwrights are mostly encouraged to write three-handers for tiny black box theatres, so getting the opportunity to work on as big a scale as the Lyceum requires has been both one of the greatest challenges and pleasures. Mark Thompson has been incredibly supportive and brave giving me the chance to write for the Lyceum, a theatre I’ve always loved. I’m still pinching myself – I mean it’s the f*cking Lyceum! And I’m a ratbag from Ayrshire who does plays with wanking jokes. This doesn’t have any of those, it’s completely family friendly.
The Marriage of Figaro, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Fri 23 Mar–Sat 14 Apr.