Binge Fringe Magazine

INTERVIEW: A Digital Pint with… Amalia Kontesi & Sam Tannenbaum, introducing us to ‘Someone of Significance’ at VAULT Festival

Today we’re joined by the team behind Someone of Significance – a new political piece landing at VAULT Festival at the end of this month. The show explores the complex relationship between our political differences and our human need for kinship, companionship and romance. The show imagines two political figures from the left and right and explores their relationship together, and their irreconcilable… or maybe reconcilable differences. We sat down with Amalia Kontesi, the show’s Writer, and Sam Tannenbaum, the show’s Director, to talk all things politics, plays, and Old Fashioneds.

Catch Someone of Significance at the Network Theatre Between February 28th and March 5th. Tickets are available through the VAULT Festival Box Office.

What inspired you to write a show set across the boundaries of love and politics?

Amalia: “Well, of course, the initial inspiration was a broken heart. I am oversimplifying it, but I really wanted to explore what makes two people come together, drift apart and then find each other again at different points of their lives. We live in incredibly polarized times and I wanted to explore what it means to look for and find the things that connect us – rather than those that divide us.”

The show is being developed as part of the Young Vic’s Neighbourhood Voices Programme and is adapted from a short play of the same name – tell us a little about the process of bringing the piece to life as a full length production.

Amalia: “The mentorship through Neighbourhood Voices was truly critical in helping the play take its current form. First of all, they really helped focus my thinking on what elements of the short play could inspire the storyline for a full-length piece. It’s a programme that focuses a lot on community and really encouraged me to hone in on what community means to me. Ultimately, the swinging political pendulum of the past decade; its impact on my personal sense of belonging at work, home and in society; and the impact of economic inequities on the working and middle class became the backdrop and driving force behind the full-length production.”

The themes explored follow a debate over our human need for connection and irreconcilable difference in beliefs – what are you hoping the audience takes away from it all?

Sam: “For me, the main takeaway of the play is a question: how are our romantic relationships influenced by society and politics? I think that love can often be presented as some sort of completely pure emotion that stands outside of the material world and is not diluted by the social and political issues that impact the rest of our lives. The play engages in that debate and I think it’s exciting that the audience might come away with divided opinions on our two character’s relationship and the decisions they make throughout the play.”

How are you feeling ahead of bringing the piece to VAULT Festival at the end of the month?

Sam: “Equal parts excited and anxious. So much hard work goes into every show and I’m very proud of the cast & creatives for all the effort and love that has gone into this one.”

Now that we’re gearing up for VAULT Festival 2023, what are you most excited for?   

Amalia: “I’m really looking forward to seeing how the audience reacts to the show. I always think of the audience as another character. Also, seeing all the other shows at the Festival has been amazing – it’s a privilege to be surrounded by so much talent.”

Sam: “I am similarly looking forward to audience reactions. The great thing about theatre is you get such an immediate response – it’s right there in the room. I’ll be sitting in the back definitely not eavesdropping on what everyone says after the final blackout…”

Fitting with the themes of our magazine, if your show was an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage (think cocktails, mocktails, shots, beers, be creative!) what would it be?

Amalia: “Old fashioned! A little bitter, a little spicy with a sweet aftertaste.”

Sam: “Like a good tequila – the ones you sip slowly and enjoy. Has an immediate appeal, but full of exciting details if you stop to enjoy it.”

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together novel-length reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2023), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them