Have the Last Laugh On Me! Tickets are selling well as a play shortlisted for a Channel 4 Comedy Award makes its debut at the Camden Fringe Festival. The Bridge Magazine interviews its award-winning writer, John Hill.
John Hill’s Edinburgh Fringe debut received a rave review and now his 60-minute comedy play, How Does That Make You Feel?, comes to the Lion and Unicorn Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe Festival.
How Does That Make You Feel? Is an unmissable performance for summer 2016, a one hour play based on a true story, by award-winning writer John Hill.
On Thursday 11th August 2016, when asked what motivated him in particular after splitting from his fiancée who had fallen in love with the counsellor, Hill replied: “They say good comedy comes from pain and misery – so I guess I’ve just been lucky.”
Do you have what it takes to write a successful piece based on your misfortune? John Hill has. The plot is about a doting husband who, on discovering his wife is going to relationship counselling, insists on being part of the solution, unaware he’s all of the problem.
The story was inspired by the writer’s experiences of couples’ therapy: he went to sessions only to watch his partner’s growing infatuation with the counsellor destroy their relationship. The play started life as a shorter piece and has since been developed and destruction-tested in festivals and productions across London and the UK.
Best known as a travel, greetings card and comedy writer, Hill has penned several sitcoms, films and plays such as Blood Match, We Need To Talk About Clive, and Instructions Not Included, as well as being an author and a journalist.
John has IMDB -International Movie Database – it’s a database of who does what on films and TV programmes credits for TV sitcoms; his Edinburgh Fringe debut got a 5-star review, and his first feature film script came second in the Reddit Screenwriting Contest.
Tall, athletic and elegant, John Hill speaks with a deep and convincing voice. He appears to be a reserved, calm and thoughtful person. He is not an open book. No matter how adept at reading body language one might be, Hill presents something of an enigma. However, he will invite you into his world in glimpses as he flashes his beautiful gap-toothed smile.
According to Mike Corke in his article entitled “Sitcom, why audiences laugh” published in The British Comedy Guide
“Comedy brings balance and provides interesting elements for wider audiences, allowing a larger number of people, with different views of the world, to identify in their own way with what’s going on.”
1- Talking about How Does That Makes You Feel? in particular, what do you think could fascinate and move the audience?
Character drives everything, so you try to create believable characters that the audience will care about, and identify with to some degree. And in the process you hope that you can generate a lot of humour following their story.
2- The play is based on true story, your story. You have had a near-death experience; making the decision to put it into a play to convey a message sounds a little like self-therapy. Where do you draw your strength from?
I think all writing is a form of self-therapy and all experiences are research. I’ve had several near-death experiences, but it’s not necessarily my ones that have gone into this play.
3-What kept you going in general? And what motivated you in particular after this unfortunate experience?
They say good comedy comes from pain and misery – so I guess I’ve just been lucky.
4- Imagine the scenario. If she was to come back would you forgive her and give her a second chance?
You can never blame someone for loving someone else or wanting to be with someone else, so there’s nothing to forgive. And as for second chances, you have to move on.
5- It is believed that comedy writers have the best eating habits – do you think that’s true?
I haven’t met enough comedy writers to form an opinion on that one way or the other.
6- Do you think it’s true to say that comedy writing is both passion and leisure?
For me writing is all-consuming. Life is what happens during the small gaps when I’m not doing it.
7- Changing the subject. What do you like to have on your plate?
Hill: My favourite cuisine is probably Italian, although I also love Spanish food and I couldn’t live without curry.
8-You look athletic – what are your favourite sports/ leisure activities?
I’m not really a big sports fan although I do like rugby and motor racing. My favourite form of leisure is probably travel, but I also enjoy food and wine, cinema and music.
9- Writing is an introspective art, but to be successful you have to be both writer and salesman. How can writers learn to deal with rejection?
I don’t think you ever learn to deal with rejection: you just get better at pretending it doesn’t matter.
10- Is it ethical for a counsellor to fall in love with his patient?
You can’t help who you fall in love with, so that isn’t a question of ethics, but what you do about it can be for some professions.
11-Have you been able to mentor others?
I have, and it’s something I really enjoy, though I couldn’t tell you if I was any good at it.
12- Your highs and lows?
Lows – every rejection. Highs – every success, no matter how tiny; and listening to an audience laugh at something I’ve written.
13- What advice do you have for those aspiring to pursue a career in writing?
You’ve got to love doing it for the sake of it. You need to grow a thick skin. And you need persistence by the bucket load. Don’t let a few failures, or a life time of them, stop you pursuing your dreams.
14- Shakespeare wrote with just quill and ink on parchment. Computer and software speed up the process for modern scriptwriting. Do you use software as a modern writer?
I mainly use Final Draft and some bespoke script-writing templates for Word. I can’t image writing without a computer but some of the preparation is done with pen and paper.
Thank you very much John for opening up to The Bridge Magazine...
For those who either have queries about How Does That Makes You Feel? or who wish to experience it live:
Venue: Lion and Unicorn Theatre, 42-44 Gaisford Street, London NW5 2ED
Dates: Monday 22 to Saturday 27 August 2016
Tickets: £10 & £8 concessions
Book via www.camdenfringe.com
Enjoy the show