Soul Searching: Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence (Bunny).
We ask five of the playwrights undertaking a feminine Faustian interpretation for the Globe’s Dark Night of the Soul a series of questions about the project and their approaches.
Lisa and Rachael are an artistic partnership who work across television, theatre and community performance projects. They have been writing, devising and performing together for the last ten years to create work that gets them talking. Their work is honest, at times brutal and always full of love and laughter. Their work includes the plays No Idea and Old Street/New Street, and the Channel 4 comedy Lowdown.
by Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence
Ever wondered what you would sell your soul for? Or worried you might not have one?
Best mates Lisa and Rachael have. When they asked each other the question, “What would you sell your soul for?” they realised they might be soul-less. How could they sell something they don’t have? And if they don’t possess one then what could they offer in exchange for something they really, really wanted?
Using interviews of each other and women from the Southwark streets Lisa and Rachael create an intimate and surprising response to Faust’s dilemma. Expect harsh humour, verbatim, double act banter, devil costumes and real life confessions provoked by the question “What would you sell your soul for?”
What made you say yes to Dark Night of the Soul?
This is the first time we have been commissioned as a pair to write something, so it was an incredibly exciting offer! We both love the Globe and hearing Michelle talk about her ideas for the season was so inspiring and refreshing – we were hooked.
What interests you about the Faustus myth or Marlowe’s Faustus?
We are interested in the mythical and the mundane butting up against each other and we love exploring the darker and contradictory sides of ourselves in our work, so this story is an ideal starting point for all of that.
What are you hoping to explore with your piece?
We will be starting with real interviews with women, where will be asking questions around what is the “real world” equivalent of a soul and if it exists. And if it does, what would it be worth? What is most valued to women now?
How do you start to write something?
We often start with ourselves, what’s happening in our own lives and real interviews with other people.
What made you want to be writers?
We struggled to find existing stories out there that we wanted to tell as a pair. So we are telling our own.
How important is storytelling?
It’s so important to see yourself and the world reflected back at you in stories to see things from different perspectives, or to work things out or to gain understanding about the world.
Would you say that there are any themes you are particularly interested in across your work?
Usually, the themes of female friendship, moral and immoral codes and truth saying.
Do you like to be involved in the rehearsal process?
We usually perform our own work, so yes!
What’s it like to be working on a production in chorus with other writers?
This has been lovely and feels like a very supportive and caring way to allow us to venture into new territory. Which is a great way to allow new voices and stories to grow for our stages.
On four evenings we will perform a selection of the pieces together as ‘Anthology Performances. Check the website to see when Lisa and Rachael’s response, Souled Out will be performed.
This interview first appeared in Globe Magazine, available to buy in the Globe Shop. Become a Member of Shakespeare’s Globe to receive the magazine three times a year.
Photography by Idil Sukan