My name is Izzy and I’ll be directing the play-reading of Wolfie by Ross Willis for NTW’s Network series. Wolfie is a play I read last year on a train back from London and I inhaled it, quickly deciding it was the next play I wanted to direct. I had never laughed out loud at stage directions before. As a director, you’re always hungry for the next play which is going to churn up something inside you, and ignite this I-Can’t-Not-Direct-This feeling which is always a shimmery mix of both fear and excitement.
Wolfie is a hilarious and heartbreaking chronicle of twin sisters separated by the care system told through the frame of an absurdist, wild fairytale - we meet talking trees, Wolf mothers, a melting woman in a bath, and a Woodpecker who integrates teens into society. As someone who has worked extensively with young people in the care system, I was amazed by Willis’ ability to articulate childhood trauma in a way which completely resists sentimentality or pity towards the characters. The magical world the writer conjures allows the characters to have complete ownership over sharing their experiences of a world which has been so set against them from day dot. I believe that we need plays like Wolfie at this time because they challenge the limitations we can put on ourselves in terms of how ‘difficult stories’ are told. The teetering of the play between desperate sadness and hysterically funny absurdism is something I find incredibly useful in terms of how we can take ownership of our own narrative. This play is vital for young people who’s lives have been effected by the care system but it is also vital in challenging people’s perception of what that experience is and can be.
This is the first time I’ve ever directed over screen and with the limited time and the lack of in-person contact with my actors, I am going to be entirely honest and say that I’m taking my primary inspiration from my teenage years of watching The Mighty Boosh! The Boosh’s genius was how a ‘homemade’ aesthetic could contribute to creating completely absurd new worlds, and so I’m definitely taking inspo from teenage Izzy’s viewing habits!
We are in the rare and privileged position where the actors we are working with are under the same roof, and so this has opened up more posibilities for us in terms of playing with framing and contact between performers. This is the first time Wolfie will also be performed by actual real-life twins, which adds another emotional layer to the reading that I’m incredibly excited about. When I first read the play, casting Lowri and Mari Izzard was a no-brainer for me! They are exceptionally talented performers individually, so to have them performing together will be a real treat for viewers. Sound and music composition by Eädyth Crawford is also going to add a really exciting texture to the piece, skilfully interwoven to assist in pulling our audience into Wolfie’s wonderful and wild universe.
Find out more about Wolfie here: https://www.nationaltheatrewales.org/ntw_shows/wolfie/
Listen to one of the tracks created by Eädyth here: https://soundcloud.com/eadythofficial/wolfie-track
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