"A new lexicon of desire"
Creator of worlds, master of storytelling, and one of the most exciting playwrights of our time. Philip Ridley recently took time out of a busy schedule, as he prepares for the revival of his first work The Pitchfork Disney alongside new play KILLER, to talk about the origins of Tender Napalm, his inspiration for writing it, and why a play about love is paradoxically a play about violence.
"It's always hard for me to talk about beginnings because usually a play takes me by surprise. I'm always making notes and taking photos and somehow - out of all this 'collecting' chaos - something starts to emerge.
The one thing I can talk about with Tender Napalm was exploring the language of love. Or, rather, to reinvent it a bit. Scrub it clean, if you like. We no longer 'register' phrases like 'You broke my heart' or 'I have a crush on you' or 'I love you to bits' because we've heard them for so long. They are clichés and, dramatically, they are dead words. It also occurred to me that most of the language we have about romantic - sexual - love tends to be quite violent, or have a threat of violence. 'You broke my heart' for example. We've heard that so often all we respond to is the cliché, not the image. But if we were to say, 'You sliced my stomach in half' or 'You cut my left eye with a razor'...well, we'd react to those images in a very different way.
And then I thought...well, we're living in an age of terror. Trying to love in a world of terror. The new language of love should reflect that global situation because it's the dangerous air we're all breathing. And so...phrases like, 'I could push a bullet between your lips' becomes part of a new lexicon of desire."
So Valentine's Day may have come and gone, but Tender Napalm kindles a fire of love between two characters the like of which has never been before! Ridley's intensely poetic style may seem at odds with the provocative language used in the play, but the two are one and the same - just in ways that you would never expect! So grab a ticket before they go and prepare for an assault of love...and a caress of violence.
Tickets for Ridley's THE PITCHFORK DISNEY can also be found here.