Vat of nuclear boiling whatever

Vat of nuclear boiling whatever

1 April 2018

Ava Davies talks to Speed Death of the Radiant Child's director Ben Kulvichit for our zine.

"It’s set in a hospital, but in the basement of this hospital is a monster growing in a vat of nuclear boiling whatever, and the monster like - grows and then invades the hospital.

I was then talking to Lucy Ellinson and she described it as a play hiding in another play, where the second play eats the first one.

There’s a whole thing about organisms and buildings and people - people being like buildings, buildings being like people. By the end of the play, it’s like gone from having five characters to one character.

We looked at the play and it’s a really fragile thing. Some plays are really robust - Simon Stephens’ plays are really robust and that’s why they invite people to chop them up. There is a specificity to this play where you can only do so much with it and break it in not a useful way.

The space here is a bit smaller, and there’s something about like painterly composition. Five characters, that’s a really strong odd number, there’s one in like the centre and you have this symmetry. In this space, five people fill it but it’s also got lots of empty space.

I think the music is really interesting because it doesn’t always do the thing sound design is assumed to do - which is to subtly support the play. It is a character, and sometimes that character is a little bit intrusive.

The most beautiful writing of the play is in the bit you can’t hear. That’s the point of the noise in the fit scene - it becomes democratising when you can’t hear the dialogue.

If you liked it but didn’t get it then ask yourself why you liked it and you’ll get something from it. And if you didn’t like it and didn’t get it then ask yourself why you didn’t like it and you’ll get something from that too."

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Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca