This started as a conversation in a pub with Eddie Kay. Wespent the night telling funny stories about our Dads. The nugget of an idea fora show sat dormant for a while. Years later my wife came home after taking mydaughters to see the film Cloudy with aChance of Meatballs and told me about this beautiful scene involving aninvention called The Monkey Thought Translator. A few days later, while sittingon the top deck of a bus it suddenly hit me what show I wanted to make and howI was to make it.
I eventually plucked up the courage to pitch an idea toManchester International Festival. At this stage the idea was still calledMonkey Thought Translator so it was credit to them that they did not laugh meout of the office! My next step was finding my collaborators.
In many ways I was not pitching an image of a show to thosecollaborators. I was pitching a journey. Join me in this search for voices andout of that a show will emerge. We will not presume anything about the showjust because we bring certain skills to the table. Again, credit to them fornot running a mile!
Over time and a few development workshops Monkey ThoughtTranslator became Fatherland. Slowlythe identity and ingredients of Fatherland came into focus.
I think it might have been the bravest and most ambitious Ihave ever been on a show. There was never a time when we allowed Fatherland toconform to an existing theatrical shape. It had to be its own thing. Thishappened through incredibly honest collaboration that existed throughout thecreative team.
A huge part of the ambitious aspect of the show was thecreation of the Chorus of Others, a community choir. I am immensely proud ofhow those people engaged, found a voice and supported each other (and the showitself).
The word I keep coming back to is ‘brave,' though. Iremember watching the final performance in Manchester with Simon Stephens. Thecast and Chorus totally nailed it but I remember getting most satisfaction atthe realisation that we (Simon Stephens, Karl Hyde and myself) had achievedthis because we had been brave. We did not compromise and pushed on determinedto bring out something new and honest in each other.
Fatherland, interms of production and process, is a show I am very proud of.