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01 July 2019

Hot Cousin talk to us about their upcoming Live Draft about a love letter travelling through space for Aliens

Describe your Live Draft in 3 words. 

Intergalactic Disco Meltdown

Tell us a bit more about your idea and what led you to make it. 

Don’t Talk to Strangers is inspired by the Golden Record, a collaboration between Carl Sagan and NASA to compile a phonograph record that would be sent into space as a kind of love letter to aliens. There is so much about this experiment to pull apart! It’s a beautiful idea – a record encased in gold, communicating the ENTIRE human condition to extraterrestrials – but it’s also practically impossible. 

We were drawn to the idea of a challenge destined to fail. Not to mention the sheer audacity of a group of white Americans deciding what sounds represent the infinite complexity of the human experience (SPOILER ALERT: There’s a lot of classical music). The record is still out there, and it’s still travelling through space, and it’s very likely to outlast human existence on earth. Which means that one day Aliens might just find the record – possibly the only artefact remaining of our existence – and if they listen to it, who will they think we were? 

…That’s where we come in. 

Tell us a bit about yourselves as artists

We are four female identifying artists from around the world who met in London while studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Ally is from America, Elana and Steph are London locals and Madeleine is from Australia. 

We make experimental, structurally daring theatre that is playful, kitsch and proudly draws from both live art and theatre. As a company we work collaboratively. We don’t use the traditional director/writer/performer structure but instead throw all our skills into the pot at once to see what bubbles to the surface. Sometimes that can be exhausting, sometimes it can be the most exhilarating experience, but for us the most important thing is that it means that each of us have an equal creative presence in the work, like a delicious layer cake of performance! All of us come from different backgrounds with different creative practices and that can make for a really inspiring rehearsal room. We are actors, dramaturgs, directors, sound designers, teachers and all of this finds its way into the process. 

 Why do you think it’s important to put your idea in front of an audience and how do you think it will affect its development? 

It’s always a lot of fun for us to put our work in front of an audience at opportune moments throughout its infancy. There’s really nothing like taking your precious, delicate piece of art that you love so much and have gently nurtured to life, and showing it to a room full of people who can kindly smash it all up for you

Suddenly your perspective is multiplied, new questions are asked and fresh air gets into the rehearsal room. Because our work plays with form, it’s especially useful to have an audience so we can feel for ourselves from inside the work whether the energy is being carried successfully throughout. Plus, we’re personally am madly and unashamedly in love with feedback. It’s going to be really fun to see how Don’t Talk to Strangers is read by The Yard audiences! 

What about Live Drafts are you most excited about and what other shows are you most looking forward to?

The entire Live Drafts concept is exciting! We’ve met a few of the other artists as we’ve been rehearsing and everyone has that great anticipatory energy that only comes from working on a piece of art that you’re really passionate about. We’re looking forward to showing what we’ve got so far, and to find out how the work is going to grow after the dust has settled. 

As far as other artists, the entire program looks great, we’re hoping to see it all. We’ve got to shout out to our double bill pals All Good Artists are Dead who seem like a lot of fun (plus what a great name!). We recently met Rukeya while rehearsing and her show, Brown Handbag, is definitely one we don’t want to miss, and we also met Katy Dye whose show The Memoirs of a Fag Hag sounds totally up our alley (surreal karaoke… yes please!).

 See Hot Cousin’s extraterrestrial love story in Live Drafts on 2 July. Tickets £5.