As we prepare to stage Song From Far Away we sat down with award-winning playwright Simon Stephens to talk about his play, Stockport and bringing old memories to life.
Song From Far Away was first staged at the Young Vic back in 2015. How does it feel to have this story restaged now?
It’s a play that means a great deal to me. It’s a play that I loved writing. I love all my collaborations with Mark Eitzel who is a songwriter I have loved since I was a teenager. The idea that something from that spark all those years ago still burns moves me a great deal.
It must be interesting to see your work brought to life in different ways over the years. What is your hope when a new team takes on one of your plays?
I hope they own it and make it their own. I hope they treat it with rigour and love. But I hope they know that doesn’t need to be slavish. And have fun with it. I always tell my collaborators to kick the shit out of my plays. If its any good it will be better for it.
How would you like the audience to feel when they come out of the theatre?
I think its a play about the way love survives grief. I think its a play about how even the most unlikely people have the capacity to feel that love. If the audiences catch any of that I will be extremely gratified.
In the play we see character Willem return home following a family death. It really captures how you feel when you return home after living away for a long time. Do you have a similar feeling when returning to Stockport?
Returning home is always nostalgic. All those years spent scuffing down those streets and riding those buses and sitting in those classrooms and drinking in those pubs! They come back to my core. The whole place has changed now but the soul lingers. It always makes me want to write.
Your plays have been staged multiple times around the world but how does it feel to have Song on stage in Manchester?
It feels like a play about the beauty and yearning of home is coming home.
Song From Far Away is at HOME from Wed 22 Feb – Sat 11 March. Book your tickets here.