Director, dramaturg, and this time sneaky writer – Raf has crafted Sap, a thriller based on Greek myth. Ripping themselves away from constructing the tale of a woman in London who tells one whopper of a lie, Raf was kind enough to offer to let audiences Have A Gander at this Queer and otherworldly experience from the award-winning Atticist and Ellie Keel Productions, which runs at the Pleasance Courtyard through August.
Would you mind giving us a brief insight into who you are/what your show is?
Hello! I’m Raf – for most of my time in theatre, I’ve been a director and a dramaturg but sneakily I have been writing a play as well. Sap is that play – it’s a sort of thriller based on a Greek myth, in which a woman in contemporary London tells a big lie about herself to her girlfriend and accidentally triggers a very serious set of consequences. She’s also starting to see plants that may or may not actually exist – it’s twisty and queer and a bit otherworldly.
How does it feel to be a part of the 75th Anniversary Fringe?
Having my debut play on at such a brilliant venue (Roundabout @ Summerhall) would be extraordinary in any year, but it feels particularly special to be bringing the show after such a difficult time for theatre. Sap has been in development since the end of 2019, and instead of cancelling or shelving it once the pandemic interrupted our plans, the producers Ellie and David continued to support work on the show throughout that time. I feel very honoured to be bringing it up with such an extraordinarily committed team across the board, all of whom have poured so much beautiful work into it.
There are over 3,000 shows at the Fringe. So what sets your show apart?
First of all, the main character is bisexual, and in her thirties – so she slightly missed the window on coming of age at a time when bisexuality, pansexuality etc are widely talked about and given distinct attention as part of LGBTQIA+ communities and identities. Consequently, she has quite a lot of internalised biphobia – I was interested in telling a queer story about someone who had come out, but only halfway, if you see what I mean. Secondly, I think (hope) it’s really propulsive and compelling – as I said, it’s a thriller and there are things that unravel and secrets that come to light – it is about the experience of being queer but there’s a much wider story there as well, which touches on a number of things. Also, hallucinatory plants.
Your ideal audience is in attendance, who’s watching? Or more importantly – who isn’t there…
I’ve said from the start that the ‘real’ audience I wrote the play for is every woman over 35 who has ended up confiding in me that they’re Not Actually Straight or Sort of Bisexual, but because their life partners are male, they haven’t felt able to voice that more publicly. Someone did actually end up coming out as bi after seeing the show when we did work in progress performances back in 2020, which was extraordinary – so I suppose my ideal audience is whoever needs to hear what this play has to say.
It’s an intense month, so where you’re able, how do you plan to relax, and are there any other shows you’re intending on seeing/Recommending?
We came up early for tech and in my off time, I hugely enjoyed an exploration around the Botanical Gardens (appropriate for Sap, for a number of reasons) – huge green space, endlessly full of what feel like secret pathways and gardens. Once the Festival kicks off, I’m incredibly excited to see Emily Aboud’s show Bogeyman, about the Haitian Revolution, Dance Body by Yolanda Mercy, and finally catching Civilisation and work.txt which I’ve been wanting to see for a long time!
SAP runs at Venue 26, ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall (1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL) on the below dates in August:
3rd-8th, 10th-15th, 17th-22nd, 24th-28th
Performances begin at 12.35pm and last for one hour and ten minutes.
Photo Credit: (c) Alex Brenner