Read more on Tristan & Yseult – Interview with Anna Maria Murphy on Writing from the Kneehigh Cookbook archive.
What was the brief when writing the piece?
I was asked to write the voices of the unloved and the broken-hearted, Yseult, Whitehands, Tristan, Brangian, the Love Spotters, and Morholt.
Carl was asked to write the voice of the court, King Mark and Frocin.
Sometimes we wrote bits together.
A lot of the piece is poetry rather than prose what do you think this adds? What was the reason for writing this way?
It seemed to fit in with the story, mythical and domestic. Also, the show was first performed outside, and long speeches and dialogue are harder to sustain in all weather. Poems can be pithy and get the story point or emotion over in a very direct way.
When commissioned to write, what is your process?
I always start with poems. I sometimes write the whole arc of the story out in a narrative poem. I collect images and make story boxes to help me think about the stories, characters, and world of the piece.
I collect images and make story boxes to help me think about the stories, characters, world of the piece.
How closely do you work with the Director and the rest of the company/creative team?
Very closely, the writers are part of the ensemble like everyone else. The text is played with like a prop might be played with. Songs are often created instantly. Sometimes the writer’s job is to craft what has been devised by the actors.
What do you read in your spare time?
Fiction. I have just read Merivel, by Rose Tremain, which made me cry at the end.
Interview with Anna Maria Murphy from June 2013.