Relationships? Multiple time-lines? Music? This can mean only mean one thing – Katie Brennan is bringing a new show to town. Following on from last year’s Queen of Seventh Avenue (a darkly offbeat tale delving into the underbelly of 1920s New York), Ouroboros is opening this year’s On the Rocks festival, Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th of April. Where Queen of Seventh Avenue offered to bring students into a Speak Easy-fied venue, Ouroboros is more intimate in conception and performance – going up in the Barron theatre with only two actors (Tommy Rowe and Madeleine Inskeep).
Yet in gaining intimacy, Brennan loses nothing of her previous ambition. In the words of the playwright “Ouroboros is about two characters – E and J – in their different time periods…two characters trying to get to a point where they can connect in their timeline – and the obstacles that get in their way on the path to that”. Taking us from a rock club in New York to 1830s London, connected by strings of music, the play largely resists a sense of spirituality. Instead, it is partly inspired by the line from Gaby Dunn: “You just found me in the wrong universe. That’s all.”
Chatting to Tommy cemented for me how close the cast were – as he noted how “as a show it’s been extremely collaborative in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Suggestions on the script have always been welcome, and it’s just been a really good group of people to work with. Everyone is so open and honest about what we’re doing, I never feel uncomfortable throwing something out there. Katie has been great because she asks us what works and what doesn’t, and is letting us shape these characters with her despite the fact that she created them.”
In writing this preview I’ve asked a few people who’ve worked with Katie in other plays about how it was to work with her, and the answer is always much the same:
“Katie is one of the most enthusiastic directors I’ve worked with…She throws herself into her work and provides a great atmosphere for her actors to experiment in”
“Katie is a fantastic director, has a clear vision but is willing to listen to actors go wild”
If you’ve ever seen a Katie Brennan show, this is precisely what you’d expect. Her plays brim with joy and are about “building families outside of the ones you’re born in”. Ouroboros sounds like it’s going to be no different – it dares to dream big in a way St Andrews theatre often backs away from. For the last four years Brennan has been at the heart of St Andrews theatre – and if this is going to be her last show, she’s going out with a bang.