While You Lie preview

This article is from 2010.

While You Lie

Claire Lams who plays Ana in While You Lie. Photo: Laurence Winram

Playwright Sam Holcroft talks to Kirstin Innes about the eagerly awaited follow-up to her searing debut Cockroach

‘What would happen if we started being completely honest with each other, right now?’ asks Sam Holcroft. ‘You could tell me everything you’ve heard about me and this play; I could tell you exactly what I think of The List. What would happen to that basic civility that keeps our society going?’

Crikey. I’d only asked what her new play, While You Lie, headlining the Traverse’s Fringe programme this year, was about.

Holcroft is best known in Scotland for her brilliant 2008 debut Cockroach, with its roots in not only evolutionary genetics but global war and the (male?) attraction to violence. While You Lie, billed as a four-hander about the breakdown of two relationships, might ostensibly seem to be a much lower-key play, but it’s certainly not kitchen sink drama. ‘Cockroach took on “big" themes, but I don’t consider this one any less big,’ she says. ‘It’s hopefully just about something that everyone will recognise to some extent: how much people are willing to sacrifice in terms of honesty, and what is the difference between “reassuring” somebody and actually lying to them. I actually wrote them at the same time, without thinking twice: they were both almost a vomit onto the page, which is perhaps why they both have a kind of violent urgency.’

As a relatively new playwright, especially one with such a successful debut, the expectations on Holcroft in this high profile slot are huge. Fortunately, her director on While You Lie is Zinnie Harris, whose own work as a playwright dances just as trickily around the personal and political.

‘Oh, it’s been great having a director who’s also a writer. She’s been wonderfully generous in terms of how much room I can have, and the production is still very faithful to the vision I had.’

While You Lie, Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, 6–29 Aug (not 9, 16, 23), times vary, £15–£17 (£11–£12). Previews until 5 Aug, £11 (£6).


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