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Behind The Curtain: An Interview with ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors' Writer & Director Chess Hayden

Born from a savvy short sketch and returning to the stage following a hugely successful debut in2023, Rock Paper, Scissors is a playful comedy of errors with a deeply dark twist.


I got the chance to speak to writer and director of the show Chess Hayden ahead of the show at The Hope Theatre


 

Could you tell us what Rock, Paper, Scissors is about? 


The show is a dark comedy with a bit of a thriller twist to it as the two lead characters use the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to make life changing decisions - things get pretty chaotic along the way! It explores the human desire for survival, no matter what the cost, and the characters push the limit of what they can get away with whilst denying accountability. 


Where did the inspiration come from for the show? And how would you describe the writing style of the show?


I was thinking about how many times I’ve played Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide something relatively mundane, and then started to consider what would happen if people applied that same idea to more dramatic and intense situations. I love writing comedy and the humour is a blend of over the top farcical silliness and deadpan satire. 


As also the director of the show, how would you describe your directing style and how does your style help to convey the show’s themes/message across to the audiences?


I think there’s a real benefit to allowing actors to explore and improvise elements of a script - particularly in comedy. I try to find a balance between carefully choreographed moments and scenes which have more fluidity to them, as this keeps things exciting. 


We keep the audience guessing, whilst also giving them time to process important turning points in the play; they’re coming along for a wild ride but there are poignant moments we ensure are not lost as the farcical chaos unfolds. 


What is the message of the show and how do you think the theme reflects on today’s society? And what do you want the audience to take away after seeing the show?


The show is full of silliness but we build an intentional love/hate relationship with the main characters, Lucy and Dylan. They are both the heroes and villains of the piece and the script reflects on the hypotheticals of denying accountability in order to get the outcome you really want. 


The show is returning to the stage, have you made any changes since the last production in 2023?


I consider this an elevated version of the last run we did back in October 2023. The script is longer and there’s more character development for us to play with, which has been really fun to explore during rehearsals. 



How are the rehearsals going? And how does it feel to be able to get the original cast back to reprise their roles?


I think it’s really important to be transparent around the logistics of putting on a production and factoring in everyone’s schedules. The whole cast and creative team have been incredibly busy working on multiple creative projects over the last few months, so we’ve found that intensive 1-2 day rehearsal periods work best to keep momentum going when we’ve had to have a couple weeks downtime. I don’t think the feeling of getting back in the room and bringing the script to life will ever get old for me, and I feel so lucky to be working with such an incredible cast. I was honestly so excited to get the gang back together for another run because we’re having so much fun working on the show again!


What would you say was your most memorable and proudest moment of creating the show?


Probably getting the 4 star reviews and such wonderful feedback from both audience and critics. It doesn’t completely abolish imposter syndrome, but it does help me stay inspired to keep writing and creating.  


What advice would you give to any writers who maybe don’t know how to start putting their work out there?


No matter how uncomfortable it feels, I’ve learnt there comes a point when you need to show up for yourself. Even writing a short 5 minute sketch can be a starting point and the first time you get it on its feet in a rehearsed reading and see the words come to life; that could be the beginning of your next exciting project.  I am going to be holding writing workshops in London over the summer for writers wanting to kickstart their career and get their first script off the ground - follow @stonefoxproductions on Instagram for updates on how to book a place!


Where would you like to see the show in the next 2-3 years?


I’d love for the show to be expanded even further so we can play with the concept more. I think it would also do really well at Edinburgh Fringe and definitely has the scope to be toured around the UK later down the line. We’re taking things one step at a time, but keep your eyes peeled for us at Fringe next year!


Describe the show in one sentence or three words. 


The show is an exciting dark comedy which is chaotic in the best way!



 

 'Rock, Paper, Scissors’ plays at the The Hope Theatre from 7th May to 11th May,  with a running time of 70 minutes and is 18+. This production contains strong language.


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