I read Killology in April of last year. I was looking at some other plays at the time but this one stood out. Not just because of its themes or its unusual structure, but because it was an extraordinary story. It barreled along like a thriller, but bent time and reality like something altogether experimental. It was dark and disturbing, yet warm and moving.
I imagined what it might be like to stage, and suddenly it looked like I had found my play – a minimalistic hidden gem. I was self-congratulatory, having dug up a great little piece to pitch when I got back to uni. Two weeks later, I read that it had won an Olivier award. It seemed that I was less cutting-edge than I had thought. Nevertheless, I remained convinced that I had to put it on. I was given the chance to do it, so we assembled a cast and production team and gave it a go.
Tonally, I wanted Fourth Wall’s Killology to feel desolate. The three characters have all been ground through society and spat out the end, all bent into different shapes than before. That’s how we found our aesthetic. I imagined them landing on a kind of post-apocalyptic scrapheap with the rest of the microwaves, toys, and boxes that we have broken and thrown away. With this in mind, we set about constructing the dark techy world of the play – a hyper-reality in which morals and logic function a little differently. It’s a fine line to tread, but the cast, as well as Tristan (our Tech Director) and Victoria (our Producer) have worked tirelessly to place the sounds, find the things, and pitch the movement so that we might find that pocket and do this story justice.
Looking back, it has been a joy pulling this thing apart and putting it back together, decoding the strange ambiguity that Gary Owen sows throughout his dialogue. The strength of the cast, the art team and the production team have made my job an easy one and I have had a blast. All I feel is gratitude at having had the chance to work with these people on such a striking project.
The less said about the plot the better – you’ll have to buy a ticket to find out. You don’t see plays like this often–at least I don’t. It is rare to encounter stories so real but also so strange. Don’t watch this play looking for resolution or redemption; Killology provides more questions than answers. If the story disorientates you, relax. It’s meant to, I think.
Killology runs Thursday 6th-Saturday 8th December at Durham City Theatre, 7:30pm