All those little people… What do they all do with their lives?

One thing that becomes clearer and clearer is that although Vile Bodies is a period piece, very much a 1930s novel-cum-play, the themes are utterly universal. Today women are still pressured to marry for financial gain as well as love. Homosexuality is still persecuted in some countries. Drug addicts are still, as Russell Brand discussed, considered criminals instead of mentally ill (or perhaps this is actually a transfer from the way Agatha is treated. One may never really know.)

More than that, however, is the fact we still have BYTs; we just call them the Glitterati. Bloggers, artists, online talents and purveyors of good taste have become the new Bright Young Things. One only need look at The Sartorialist or Jak & Jil to see the reams of beautiful people in groups at parties in fabulous locations in this season’s must-have colours and styles. To us the BYTs can seem alien and inane because they’re a group of silly toffs, but they aren’t. They’re an everyday occurrence. Gossip Girl and Heat Magazine serve the same purpose Evelyn Waugh’s cast did just decades ago.

 

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The Bright Young Things

The moment I first watched Stephen Fry’s film ‘The Bright Young Things’ I knew I had to know more. I watched cookery documentaries, I read behind the scenes gossip, I even read Evelyn Waugh’s original text ‘Vile Bodies’; it was a book so sensationally apathetic, fragmented and witty that it appealed to the teenager I was at the time, in love with Camus, Eliot and Wilde. Here was the British F. Scott Fitzgerald, a fucked-up toff with a brilliant literary voice, and I wanted to do something with it.

So, in April, when I started to write a stage adaptation, I started writing it just for the fun of it. It was only halfway through, as everything fell into place, that I began to wonder if this could really be something good, and if I should submit it for a studio slot at Warwick University, where I study and were two slots for the black box are offered to the drama societies per term. This is a university that sweeps the board at NSDF, that got Sylvain Chomet to fully endorse a staged adaptation of Belleville Rendezvous that was a hit at Edinburgh and then moved to the RSC and London. What hope did one have of ever getting this show put on?

The struggle has been gargantuan. Months of appealing for rights, prepping the 25 page submissions pack, gathering a team, discussing images and aesthetics with our new squad of creative minds… It was, to be honest, gruelling work. Having started out with a hypothetical whim on my own sat in my bedroom in a small village in the New Forest, suddenly a piece of theatre was born. When we got the slot I was over the moon.

So here we now are. The productions blog. We audition next week and I couldn’t be more excited. Soon Vile Bodies gets underway and a renovated and remagined text will hit the stage and I can’t wait to see what it becomes. Some may find the presence of 17 other minds on a project rather infuriating, but the compromising and shifting has been the most brilliant feeling ever as I noticed people start to care as much as I did. The show is infectious, and I’m so excited to pick our 17 cast members who will join our production team.

Over the coming weeks, this blog will become a scrapbook of the videos, images, inspirations, rehearsal processes and the like the show explores. Vile Bodies is an exciting new project- the first Codpiece submission in 2 years and only the second Freshblood one in as long a period of time- and I can’t wait to see what becomes of it. Watch this space!