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An interview with the writer of...Sugar Buddy

“You can’t buy friendship”

Sugar Buddy is running from 4th - 6th November at KATZPACE as part of our upcoming New Voices season of new writing. The writer, Jonathan Skinner, has answered a few questions to tell us more about his enthralling new play.

You have 30 seconds to describe the plot of Sugar Buddy…Go!

SUGAR BUDDY tells the tale of a socially disconnected young man GRAHAM, an inhibited loner out of step with the world. Bequeathed a house and money, Graham has no need to work, further separating him from normal everyday human contact. Awkward and lacking confidence, what he really needs is a friend. In a chance encounter Graham meets über-cool, super confident FELICITY, a well-spoken, cultured young graduate who seems to be everything Graham isn’t. They seem an unlikely match as pals until Felicity lets slip that she’s skint and in danger of being evicted. Only then does Graham have a sudden chilling idea: maybe you can buy friendship after all…

What inspired you to tell this story?

I love getting under the skin of opposite personalities who are trapped together. The way in which Graham and Felicity interacted and misunderstood each other both amused and challenged me to make something more of their story. “You can’t buy friendship” is such an old cliché but it was fun and interesting to re-examine its truth (or untruth!) in modern day London. Loneliness and social isolation are topical themes but my little contribution is more by accident than purposeful design.

What was the biggest hurdle for you in writing this play?

I had to curb my usual penchant for generating too much dialogue (the fun bit) in order to step back and juggle with the structure of the piece; plus the usual red-pen sessions cutting and editing (the hard bit). I also tried experimenting with form (no spoilers here!) and had to carefully judge the degree to which I could carry that off without distracting from the story. Thankfully I’ve had plenty of help and feedback from our excellent and insightful director Kat (Katerina Tinnirello-Savvas) and our super cast, Sophia Winter-King and Connor Hughes, all of whom totally “got” the play from day one.

Who would you say inspires you the most with your work? (in or out of the industry)

I’ve recently been lucky to be part of Criterion New Writing under the mentorship of Greg Mosse who is hugely encouraging and vastly experienced. I’m much in admiration of self-starters like the UnDisposables who, instead of waiting for good things to happen, work their socks off to create opportunities for themselves and others.

Off the top of my head, some stage productions I’ve enjoyed: Sunset at the Villa Thalia (Alexi Kaye Campbell); Chimerica (Lucy Kirkwood); Beginning (David Eldridge); Red (John Logan); The Effect (Lucy Prebble); God of Carnage (Yazmina Reza); Skylight (David Hare).

When I watched Doctor Who as a kid Jon Pertwee was wonderful at the time (no pun) just as Jodie Whittaker is as the new Doc. I’m also enjoying Killing Eve; Jodie Comer is incredibly entertaining as Villanelle. So for me it’s the two Jodies who are currently smashing it on telly.

Sugar Buddy will be performed alongside The Snow Angel of Antarctica at KATZPACE by London Bridge Station from 4th - 6th November at 7:30pm (2:30pm Sunday matinee)

Buy your ticket here

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