Interview with the writer & performer: Kirsten Luckins

We are delighted to welcome writer and performer Kirsten Luckins to Live Theatre with her show The Moon Cannot Be Stolen on Thursday 15 May at 8pm. You can also join Kirsten for Journey of a Thousand Miles, a poetry and writing workshop, prior to the performance. Here’s what Kirsten had to say about her show and workshop…

Kirsten, how did you come up with the idea for The Moon Cannot Be Stolen? What was the inspiration?

The show started life as a short ‘pecha kucha’-style presentation at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle towards the end of 2012. Sheree Mack was writer-in-residence at that time, looking at the theme of travel. She had invited people to write short presentations with slides about any aspect of travel, and I took the opportunity to challenge myself to re-read journals I had kept in India during 1995-1997. What emerged were four poems set in Goa, which form the first section of the show. A couple of months later I was lucky enough to be offered a one-hour slot on the Free Fringe in Edinburgh during August 2013, so I decided to keep writing from my journals and the full show was written over six months.

What is the show about?

It is a personal journey, about my experiences when backpacking through India for two years in my twenties. But it’s also about looking back at that time and trying to make sense of what happened to me and how it has impacted on the person I am today. So beyond the simple narrative of where I went, what I did and who I met, I’m trying to explore larger themes about culture shock and how all of us form our identities through our choices and actions.

What can audiences expect from the show?

It is a spoken word show, so there are definitely recognisable poems forming the main structure – about twelve of them, all in different poetic forms from sestinas to sound poems. They are held together with a spoken narrative full of anecdotes and fables, but the language remains broadly poetic throughout. However, that doesn’t mean it will be difficult or obscure, I concentrate on telling real stories and trying to bring places and people to life. Audiences who have seen the show so far have all agreed that it is a very sensory, sensual show that gives a real sense of place.

You’re running a writing workshop before the performance can you tell us a bit more about the workshop and who it’s aimed at?

Absolutely anyone with an interest in writing can come along! I plan to do some simple exercises using diaries and journeys as a starting point, so people are encouraged to bring along their journals, or objects and photographs from trips they’ve made. But I’ll look at how to treat everyday journeys as a starting point for writing as well.

The show is described as part travelogue and part metaphysical enquiry can you tell us a little bit more about this?

This is really me trying to say to people that it won’t be someone’s holiday slideshow! There are many parts that are descriptive of India as a country, but throughout I want people to think about the emotional and psychological impact of travelling for long periods, or indeed putting yourself through any kind of intense experience. I’m clear that I went to India for the old cliché, ‘to find myself’, and this show is a way of asking myself if I succeeded.

The show’s been performed before. Will you be changing or developing the show for this new tour?

The show has been performed at the Fringe, in an informal (and quite noisy!) café venue. At that stage it was basically me behind a microphone for an hour. Now, with funding from the Arts Council, I’m able to work with a director and a musician to make the show more interesting for theatre audiences. The overall structure has had some tweaks, re-ordering and re-editing of sections, but remains largely the same. However, there will now be a lot more going on visually – we are working on atmospheric lighting, a handful of projected images, and a series of simple actions that I will use while performing to add another layer of physical meaning to the piece. I’m also very excited to be working with a tabla player, who will be scoring and recording a soundscape to accompany the show.

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen is, at Live Theatre, on Thursday 15 May at 8pm. Tickets cost £8, £6 concs. There is also a workshop facilitated by Kirsten, Journey of a thousand Miles, prior to the evening performance. This workshop is free if tickets are purchased for the evening performance of The Moon Cannot Be StolenFind out more and book tickets or call Live Theatre’s Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.

Check out Kirsten’s rehearsal blog for the show


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