Interview: theatre director Lucy Morrison on Vivienne Franzmann's addiction drama Pests
'It came out of a place of outrage and anger that we are still treating people like this'
‘It is a depressing but very true story that needs to be told,’ says Pests director Lucy Morrison. ‘For the writer, Vivienne Franzmann, it came out of a place of outrage and anger that we are still treating people like this in a so-called civilized society.’ Having made a powerful impact in London, Clean Break’s production of Pests heads north with a story ripped from the London underground. As Morrison explains, it reveals, ‘the story of two heroine addicts trapped in a life with no choices: a story I am familiar with having worked with Clean Break for seven years.’
The company’s mission has been to bring the stories of imprisoned women to wider attention, but Morrison is determined that Pests avoids simplifying the issues. ‘I wanted something that didn’t have a sheen of hope,’ she adds. Instead, the script explores the horror of two sisters’ situation without flinching.
Morrison, however, believes that the poetic use of London dialect lifts the play beyond simply being a litany of misery. ‘The language is extraordinarily inventive, playful and exciting: it lifts the piece. What Franzmann has done is to express the truth in an idiom which is very familiar if you have ever sat on a bus in Hackney!’
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 22–Sat 24 May.