The Backwards People: Adapting post-apocalyptic drama in an ever-adapting apocalypse
So here we are, apart together in the post-apocalyptic mist of 2021. And it’s a real pea souper. I suspect what happened was that sometime early last year, without realising it, I tripped over a hyperactive white rabbit and tumbled down a hole into an unrelenting, Kafkaesque nightmare. Then, with a kind word and a sage smile, the rabbit was kicked in after me, leaving his pocket-watch on the grassy verge, ticking feebly on.
Last March, after barely a week underground, creative captives across the world began to share their feelings of being stuck ‘on pause’. But sit tight, we were told, weather the storm, and it will all be over by Christmas. Here we are, a year on, tapping away at the keyboard and merging with the chair. I think the rabbit’s taken himself to Tesco for some fresh air. His very important date was cancelled, so he has the time. He might still be late. Is this really what it looks like, a world on pause? The monumental debts and the mounting deaths don’t seem to agree. So, if not paused, what is it? What’s really happening to us?
Enter The Backwards People, the Week-1-stage-play-turned-Week-2-radio-drama salvaged from the shrapnel of the ADC’s latest round of lockdown losses. Luckily for me, Captain, Teacher, Chef, and the newly recruited Poet proved to be an adaptable bunch, and as they’ve been with me for several years, in one form or another, they were more than happy to make the leap to audio. Things have to move forwards, after all.
Set in the wake of an unknown catastrophe, the drama follows the lives of four survivors as they attempt to piece their fragmented history back together. As a series of surreal scenes ensue – featuring a cryptic Child, an intrusive piano, and a viscous sea monster – Poet starts to realise that there is something very wrong with his memory. It simply isn’t there.
While the radio play format was never the vision, I’ve always loved audio drama for its versatility, its scope, and the focus it throws on character and voice. And with three composer/sound designers producing original music and foley, not to mention the stellar work of our five actors and Dixie McDevitt’s dynamite direction, The Backwards People’s foray into radio promises to be a truly immersive and unique experience.
Content retrieved from: https://www.varsity.co.uk/theatre/20538.