When Harri and Jack meet you on March 21 in York, Technical Difficulties will ensue

Harri Marshall and Jake Williams: the partnership behind the next stage of Technical Difficulties

YORK theatre director Harri Marshall and associate artist Jake Williams are to hold a group interview session on March 21 for their new work, Technical Difficulties.

The open meeting will be held at Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, from 10.30am to 1pm to add research to their verbatim piece on relationships and technology and how this has evolved over the years.

“We’re inviting the Yorkshire community to share their experiences about relationships when we host interviews that day,” says Harri, a deaf director, who directed York Settlement Community Players’ production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes last October.

“By gaining new stories and opinions, we’ll be able to enhance and enrich the script by adding voices from different communities and create a play that’s ultimately for everyone. If you’d like to be involved in the group session, please follow our social media links (see below).”

Harri continues: “After the new interviews have been added to the script, we’ll cast the six roles with local actors, rehearse and go on to perform the piece, not only in a Yorkshire preview, but we’ll also take it to the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe.

“We feel this project is really exciting as it’s not only made for an audience but by the audience too.”

Defining Trechnical Difficulties, Harri says: “It’s a verbatim play about the search for human connection in an increasingly digitised world, where we unpick what it means to fall in and out of love as well as all the technical difficulties about relationships.

“I first created the play two years ago at the Oxford Playhouse with the Young Playmakers, led by Renata Allen. Like much of my work, it relies heavily on collaboration with the performers and the participants, who have given their voices to this script.

“Staying true to their original words by using verbatim techniques, we bring to life their experiences of relationships through ensemble work, movement and an immersive audience experience – such as rhetoric and shared stories – unlocking the dramatic potential of documentary theatre.” 

The documentary form of theatre has always inspired Harri’s work, both as a director and writer. “I feel that verbatim theatre is an art form that doesn’t dictate what the audience should think,” she says.

“Rather, it works with them through shared experience to create a piece of work that discusses and debates an experience or topic that’s shaped by the writer, then shared through the medium of theatre. To me, theatre is about shared story-telling that brings us together, which ultimately is what verbatim aims to do.”

Harri continues: “The piece creates a sense of belonging between the actors and the audience, as relationships, while very personal and unique to each individual, can be relatable and offer insight on the full spectrum of relationships. This shared experience makes the production real in a way that no other genre of theatre can replicate, creating a rich tapestry of shared experiences and genuine voices that unite the audience and allow them to see reflections of themselves within the characters on the stage. 

“It’s the idea of reflection that the audience will take away with them, allowing a better understanding of how we form our relationships, be that sexual or platonic. In our current society, with all its political upheaval and anger, it’s more important than ever to understand how we communicate to each other, which is why this play is important to share with the city of York.” 

The artwork for Technical Difficulties

The creative duo behind Technical Difficulties:

Harri Marshall is a deaf director, working in York. Since 2016, she has directed seven productions, in venues such as the Theatre Royal, Winchester, Canal Café Theatre, London, and John Cooper Studio, Theatre @41 Monkgate, York. in York, where she directed ‘The Red Shoes’ for the York Settlement Community Players. 

Jake Williams has joined Harri, as an associate artist, on her journey to continue to turn Technical Difficulties into a fully fledged piece of work. As a founding member of Out Of Bounds Theatre, he has produced and performed theatre and street arts since 2017. At the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, he produced and performed in 44 Inch Chest at theSpace on North Bridge.

How you can be involved in the next stage of Technical Difficulties:

For more details and updates, or if you have any questions, go to:  

Twitter: @TechDiffs2020

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Technical-Difficulties- 101656841420950/?view_public_for=101656841420950 

Alternatively, you can email: technicaldifficultiesfringe@gmail.com