After going to see Simon Stephens and Michael Longhurst's Carmen Disruption at the Almeida last year, my friends Louise LePage and Billy Smart got talking about the show. Billy's enthusiasm for Simon's work seems to have paled somewhat and he let fly with a very acute and thoughtful shopping list of stuff that always seems to happen in a Simon Stephens play and concluded that he's stopped engaging truthfully with the world but instead only with theatrical form.
Louise had the interesting idea of getting some British theatre scholars to respond to Billy's provocation on video and then Louise would edit the video into a film about Simon's work. The other people to take the bait were Chris Megson and Aleks Sierz - and of course Louise herself.
Louise also requested that we 'think about how you locate yourself visually in your film? Obviously the form we are working with here - individuals reflecting upon these plays via technological means, crucially atomised and yet rendered individual by means of place - is intended to give a nod towards Simon Stephens' own dramaturgy. So please give some thought to how you frame yourself.' I mention this in case you wonder why the hell I'm standing by a tower block.
But I think it's a very interesting film. I particularly liked Chris Megson's thoughts about the here-and-now in Simon's work, the way it signals how the contemporary smoothed-out global world erases memory, and how those memories are now replaced by commodities. There's a nice bit where he described googling Helmut Lang dresses and the dresses indeed do pour onto the screen.
You can watch the video and read the provocation here: