Q&A with random director Gbolahan Obisesan

Award-winning playwright and screenwriter debbie tucker green has written Leeds Playhouse’s latest offering: a one-woman play random.

It’s certainly an intriguing concept: one random act causes catastrophe for an ordinary family.

Kiza Deen will star in the show – if you’re a fan of Hollyoaks or Silent Witness then you’re likely to have heard of her.

Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said: “random will play in our Pop-Up theatre at the same time as Yorkshire classic Kes, a tale of youth, identity and growing up facing adversity. Written 40 years apart, Kes and random are an unlikely but unique pairing, both sharing the experience of youth. It’s a pleasure to be able to play these two powerful stories together.”

Director of random, Gbolahan Obisesan, has previously been an Associate Director for Young Vic Theatre as well as an acclaimed actor himself. Take a look at a Q&A with him below to find out more about his involvement with random.

What attracted you to the play?

random is an incredibly beautifully crafted play from the perspective of a young woman and her family. The play is unique in how it explores the human experience and emotional turmoil around the heartbreakingly social concern of knife crime. In the play we see the fragility and disorientation of a family’s experience of an unexpected incident.

random plays alongside Kes in the Playhouse’s Pop-Up theatre. Is there a commonality between the two productions?

Experiencing the two parallel stories I imagine would feel like a fifty-year juxtaposition of the lives of two different working-class teenagers. It is open for interpretation, but I would suggest both plays have complimentary themes of isolation and the search for continual freedom from concern, and freedom of expression crucial to the perspectives of the characters being depicted. Ultimately it is the voice and experience of relatable but vulnerable teenagers, which means whether you yourself are a child of the baby-boomers, millennial or Generation Z. In these two plays about young people in Britain, we can potentially see ourselves, our families and the risks we must try to eradicate as a society for the next generation.

How are you expecting the show to look?

The production is a one woman show, with the actress shape-shifting and depicting multiple characters. The production will inhabit the same stage environment as the two-man adaptation of Kes. Max, our stage designer, will utilise indicative furniture from familiar interior spaces that will create a stunning structural and playful landscape that will also potentially help enhance the lighting design.

Kiza Deen takes the lead role in random, why is she so good for the part?

I am absolutely delighted to be working with Kiza. She came into the audition room and totally blew us away. She connected with the world of the play, found a voice for the characters and showcased her talents and intuition as an actor. She has the depth to understand the range of emotions required to make random resonate with audiences and be affected by her performance.

This is the first time you are directing a production in Leeds, what are you most looking forward to?

I am immensely excited to be working with Leeds Playhouse on this production. Staging the production in the Pop-Up theatre will also be invigorating for everyone. It is inspiring that Leeds Playhouse has the desire to maintain its strong relationship with its community and audience before the new theatre building is reopened.

Catch random at Leeds Playhouse’s Pop-Up theatre, in association with SOYO Leeds, from 4th – 16th February.

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