PlayPen Writers Profile: Branwen Davies

Branwen Davies

Branwen Davies

Branwen Davies is a second year PhD  student in the Theatre, Film and Television Department at Aberystwyth University.  Branwen writes in Welsh and English. She is a founder member of ‘Agent 160 Theatre Company’  and Welsh language theatre company ‘Torri Gair’ and has written for Sherman Cymru, Dirty Protest, Undeb Theatre Company  and Sgript Cymru. She co-wrote ‘The Exquisite Corpse’ for True Fiction Theatre Company which was performed at the Millenium Centre Cardiff, The Edinburgh Festival and Southwark Playhouse. She also co-wrote the Welsh language play ‘Dominos’ for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. She is currently under commission with Living Pictures and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru  to write a play that will be performed at Sherman Cymru in September 2013. Her play for Playpen Genki? is about being in limbo trying to make sense of it all.

What is your play Genki? about?
The play is about returning from an adventure abroad and adjusting, readjusting and trying to make sense of the experience that know feels a million miles away in more than one sense.

How did you get the idea for Genki?
I wrote the play as a response to returning to Wales after living and working in Japan. I was overwhelmed and unsure where I belonged and what I should do with myself.

What did you most enjoy about writing Genki?
Writing it was carthartic. It was fun to revisit people, places, memories and experiences that put a smile on my face whilst in Japan.

What were the challenges of writing Genki?
The challenges were that it was perhaps too personal to me. It might have been a beneficial excersise for me but was there a story for an audience? Would it entertain? Would it make sense? It is trilingular and I wanted to convey a realistic image and experience of Japan without falling to stereotypes. I wanted the piece also to convey my confusion hence it’s structure and game play and randomness! The challenges were thinking ahead. Where would this play go next if I was to develop it further.

For Beginnings and Town with No Traffic Wardens the writing group were set themes and restrictions. What was the difference writing without these?
No rules and no limitations enables you to explore and experiment and have fun. I beleive that anything should and could happen in the theatre and writers should convey that in their writing. Writing for theatre should be different from writing for TV. Theatre should be different from TV. I  don’t want to go to the theatre to see a soap opera on stage.

How did you create the characters?
Characters were a mixture of me – warts and all and an amalgamation of people I met in Japan and the various encounters, experiences and opinions I came across.

What writing tips would you offer someone interested in writing for theatre?
When writing for theatre think theatre! Watch plays. Read plays. There are no limits. Write!

What difference has being part of the writing group made to you?
The writers group has made me more open to share my work and respond to other people’s work. It is important to have a safe place to experiment and try things out and to have people whose opinions and feedback you trust and respect.

Branwen Davies play Genki? will be performed on Thursday 7th February as part of the PlayPen project. Further information is available here.