Tackling the stigmatised and tricky topic of alcoholism and its creeping effects, Sobriety on the Rocks is landing at VAULT Festival later in March with an ethos of spreading awareness in a stylistic, dramatic production. We sat down with Renèe Buckland from A Tad Kiwi Productions to hear all about the piece’s ethos, stereotypes about alcoholics, her family’s story, multi-roling and Gin & Tonics.
Catch Sobriety on the Rocks between the 18th and 19th March at 14:45 and 18:30. Tickets are available through the VAULT Festival Box Office.
Hi Renee, so your show coming to VAULT is a self-described “battleground” – centred around alcoholism and a drunk driving accident – tell us what inspired you to create the piece.
Our piece is a personal one for sure. The piece is inspired by experiences and events my family have been through with my dad who sadly passed away because of alcoholism. Sobriety on the Rocks is a fictional story rooted in truth. Our show is a battleground because all the characters are reluctant warriors who are fighting their own individual battles.
How was the process of creating and performing four characters in the piece? How do you feel performing them all?
Finding the four characters physically was the core and beginning of our rehearsal process as once we had them we could build the rest of the play around them. We spent a lot of time finding their own movements and physicalities. How fast/slow, light or heavy they are. All the basics you’re taught in movement classes came in handy as they really were the seeds to what the characters are today.
What are you hoping the audience takes away from the piece, which centres around the relationship between alcoholism, loss and crisis.
The reason I wrote this play is to break down the stereotype of an alcoholic that we see portrayed so often in the media as an abusive alcoholic man who beats his family. I wanted to shed light on what an alcoholic looks like who isn’t abusive, who loves his family but just cannot stop drinking and how subtle the process of becoming an alcoholic can be.
We want to spread awareness and give back as much as we can using the incredible platform we have been given. We are partnering with NACOA UK and in support of Alcohol Change UK. There will be resources available at our show and on our social media for how audiences members can donate and support these fantastic charities that are making the world a better place.
We put all the arguments about alcoholism on the table and its up to every individual audience member to walk away and take what they want from it. Like I said above, all the characters are fighting a battle and they can try to help and fight each other battles but in the end there is only so much you can do if someone doesn’t want the help. Can you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped?
Now that we’re gearing up for your run at VAULT Festival 2023, what are you most excited for?
The whole team at A Tad Kiwi Productions is absolutely buzzing for VAULT Festival, this show has been evolving and touring since November 2021 and it’s been a crazy journey of different venues, different countries and adding and chopping parts of the show. We honestly feel this is the most mature and refined version of the show yet and we cannot wait to take the stage at the Crescent!
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?
Now this is a tricky question, I think the answer people would expect is a non-alcoholic drink like apple juice but no, our show and it’s ethos is about spreading awareness on a mental health condition that is often stigmatised and bringing a fresh perspective, not about us saying drinking is bad and no one should do it. I reckon a classic G&T would be the cocktail of the show, bitter but sweetened with tonic water. Kind of like our show, the core is a bitter battle with our characters grief and pain but sweetened because of their unwavering love.