Out of Joint theatre production of contemporary spy thriller Ciphers
UK tour continues for show from Blanche McIntyre and Dawn King
Fresh from winning a UK Theatre Award for her dynamic direction of The Seagull, Blanche McIntyre has been reunited with playwright Dawn King for Out of Joint’s production of Ciphers. Nominally exploring the world of spooks and spies, Cipher has, for McIntyre, a more universal story.
‘One of the things I noticed directing it is that all the typical spy stuff happens in real life,’ she says. ‘Ordinary people having conversations are hiding information and talking on the phone, pretending it is somebody else. It’s about how well you can know someone else, and how you can change depending on who you are with.’
Nevertheless, Ciphers remains a theatrical rarity: a drama about the undercover world of surveillance and counter-intelligence. McIntyre notes that although film and TV have had plenty of plots set in this shadowy world, theatre has been less keen to take on the genre. ‘It’s rather lovely watching the audience put together the clues and decipher the story themselves. And they can do it collectively, because they are a live audience in the theatre.’
Ciphers has already been touring around the UK, gathering impressed reviews and intriguing audiences with its terse characterisation and allusive script. McIntyre’s previous alliance with King on Foxfinder saw both author and director being recognised as rising stars.
Certainly, MacIntyre’s passion, both for King’s script and for theatre more widely, suggests that Out of Joint are supporting a vibrant partnership. Ciphers is well suited to the Traverse’s programming, as an example of energetic new writing that drives theatre away from comfortable subjects into the modern world of shifting personalities and truths.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 12–Sat 16 Nov