Weekly Rep Quick Q&A: Clare Lizzimore

Name: Clare Lizzimore

Hometown: Kilburn

Which play do you wish you’d written? The Death of A Salesman

6 words to describe your play? I hope it might be: Detailed, Funny, Slow-burn, Heart-wrenching, Bitter, Raw.

Favourite character in your play and why? I shouldn’t chose. I suppose it’s a bit like choosing between your children. In that way, I hope they’re all important, and unique and loved.

Where do you write? This is my first play, so I wasn’t bold enough to write it sitting at a writing desk, I enjoyed sort of letting the play sneak up on me, and lowering the stakes by writing in cafes and on trains – taking my laptop everywhere with me, just in case.

What do you like to do (not including theatre)? I was never billed as the sporty kid at school, so I’m attempting to re-write that myth in my adult life, and have started training to be a kick-boxer. I’m second grade yellow belt.

Favourite thing about London? The cultural life of the city, the hubbub of people, the hard work, and play, and ferocious speed in which it all operates. Exhilarating on a good day, but punishing on a bad one.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought (excluding a house)? I’ve struggled with money a lot of my life, theatre doesn’t pay brilliantly, especially as a Theatre Director, so without sounding glib: my rent for ten years? (Although that slightly breaks the rules of the question doesn’t it).

Which words or phases do you overuse? I say Awesome a lot. But I grew up in the 80’s so I hope that it’s less an affectation than just something we learnt from Bill and Ted.

What is your greatest fear? Losing my mind, or my memory, or my faculties. I have recurring dreams where I’ve lost five years of my life, lost everything dear to me, and have to piece back the fragments. They’re a lot like bad 90’s thriller movies, but quite real and scarily detailed.

What would be your last meal? Spaghetti Bolognese. No question. It’s the meal my mum was eating before I was born, when her waters broke, and weirdly since then it’s been my favorite. Perhaps ultimately I was always quite upset that during my tasty dinner I was rudely interrupted, by Life.

Where would you like to be right now? It sounds twee to say, but, exactly where I am. I’m inclined to make up a lie to sound more rock and roll, and less earnest. But the truth is, in my little flat in Kilburn with my husband, starting out on a new path as a playwright is pretty awesome. That or Vegas, right?!

What would you be if you weren’t a playwright? I’ve been working as a theatre director for ten years, so that’s what I am when I’m not writing plays. But if I had to do something else, maybe Architect, Musician, Stunt-Women, Photographer?

What time do you go to bed? Early. Too early for an adult. I love sleep. I was born three months premature. So I blame that. I’m always trying to catch up on lost sleep time.

Did you do any research for your play? Yes. I suppose without knowing it, over many years. I know someone who was in prison for a long time, so I’ve had the experience of visiting them and that (luckily) is something not many people know anything about. And there’s probably a bit of my own experience in there, simply being in a family, growing up.

What would you say influences you? The news, the world, family, friends, all my experiences to date. And particularly my grandma, a feisty lady who brought up three children single handedly during the war, and still had her dry wit and fierce intelligence at 82.

If you could have any super power what would it be? Invisibility, for press night.

Anything you want to add? Just to say that I believe the subject matter is important. How we police and understand crime, what punishment is, how we rehabilitate offenders. That we’re fascinated and tantalized and taunted by the press who demonize, and often simultaneously glorify, crime. That it’s a mess. And I don’t have the answers, but that hopefully the play’s attempt is to take the air out of what is often sensationalized.

Mint by Clare Lizzimore will be performed in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs 2-6 July 2013 as part of our Open Court Weekly Rep season. Click here to buy tickets.