Jeremy Herrin on conveying the highs and lows of addiction on stage

Published in The Independent on Sunday on August 28, 2015

“There’s a lot of directing to be done,” is Jeremy Herrin’s first comment about new play, People, Places and Things. He’s not wrong: the latest work from innovative playwright Duncan Macmillan is a piece about drug addiction, and an actress called Emma who checks into rehab to try to get clean. But it’s no dour tale of gritty realism, as you might expect; Macmillan’s masterstroke is to set it entirely from her point of view, and the director must therefore find ways to evoke both the iridescent highs of taking drugs, and the hallucinatory, disorienting lows. Swirled into that mix are serious, thorny questions about identity and performance, and how these might relate to addiction, recovery, and self-acceptance.

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