Tamar Broadbent and Emma Pritchard’s debut play runs June 2-4 at 7.45pm at The Warren, Studio 2. The two are also the show’s performers.
Emma said: “Split is a story about friendship, growing up and finding out who you are through the eyes of another. Spanning eight years and set to a millennium soundtrack, Split presents the pages of your teenage diary you hoped your mum would never find.
Tamar is a full-time comedian who has toured nationally and internationally.
Emma works in the artistic team at the Almeida Theatre and writes the comedy lifestyle blog 24Dilemmas. Other production credits include: Celebrity Night at Cafe Red (Trafalgar Studios), Talking to Strangers (now on Radio 4) and LIFT (Soho Theatre).
Emma talks us through the genesis and development of the new piece:
“As a teenager, I was once so desperate not to make a fool of myself on Sports Day that I faked a blackout in the middle of the 400m race. When sports were replaced by more “feminine” and experimental ideas, we spent a term dancing with ribbons in PE and I couldn’t sleep at night for worrying that my gym leotard wasn’t sexy enough – despite being at an all-girls school with a teacher who had a mullet.
“I’m not a teenager anymore - thankfully, I stepped out of that skin a long time ago and into a new one. I shrugged off the fear, shame, discomfort; the foundation lines and mascara tears. I grew into a new body and mind; one full of sarcasm and early wrinkles, more comfortable underwear and less awkward sex. Worries about leotards and sports have been replaced by concern about paying my rent on time and sadness at the lack of toys in cereal boxes.
“However, that teenage spirit definitely lives on: those experiences stay with you, somewhere, and it gets you thinking about the journey from young girl to real life woman and the moments that define who you are today. This is at the heart of Split - a new comedy about girlhood and growing up - co-written by myself and the completely brilliant comedian and writer Tamar Broadbent.
““Adulthood” (I use inverted commas because real adulthood I imagine can only be achieved once you manage to successfully hand-whip cream) has been full of adventures - but one of the highlights has been creating this show.
“Tamar and I have been working together since 2013 and just over two years ago we were touring Tamar’s comedy show in Australia - where the idea for Split was born. We had packed only crop tops, seventeen bottles of factor fifty and a bucket load of insect spray. We were determined – to not burn, to sell out, to survive the spiders, and, above all else, to be taken seriously. One brilliant (if eventful) run later we were celebrating in the venue bar when the manager asked us how we’d be spending the rest of our summer holidays and when we’d be starting back at school. It was then we realised that, not for the first time in our working lives, we had been mistaken for teenagers.
“Instead of lamenting the fact that we were still yet to be taken for real-life grown-ups, we laughed, reminisced, and, thousands of miles from home, decided it was a sign. It was time to celebrate the teenage spirit in every young woman and the young woman on the horizon of every teenage girl. We were going to write a play - about blood, tears and tank tops. About female friendship and finding out who you are through the eyes of another.
“And it had to be funny. Seriously funny.
“So how do you start writing a play? We brain-stormed some scenes, performed them at a comedy night in London and were overwhelmed by the response. Women in the audience told us about their most horrifying teenage memories – or said that we had reminded them of something special long forgotten. Men admitted that girls can absolutely equal those nightmares about wet dreams and public erections. We realised that everyone loves a bit of nostalgia – and we had a new (and old) story to tell.
“Finally, alongside working full-time, trying not to get lost on the tube, and making as many cups of tea as a human can handle, we’ve finished our play. What has always been most important to us is that we make our audience laugh, create likeable (albeit seriously flawed!) characters, and show people that being a teenage girl is so much more than hysteria or insecurity. Oh… and we’re including a soundtrack of the best (or worst!) pop songs from the millennium to punctuate our tale that we’re singing live in every show.
“It’s got heart, hilarity and harmonies and we really want our audience to leave on a high. We cannot wait to bring it to the Brighton Fringe, one of our favourite festivals in the world. As long as we don’t get stuck on the helter-skelter, we will be at The Warren 7.45pm from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 June ready to hit the stage. Meanwhile – we have some songs to learn and some jokes to remember. See you there! “
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