An interview with Blizzard Comedy about my upcoming show YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
“I want people to reflect on their impending deaths with a sense of wonder and curiosity.” | Adam Scott-Rowley on facing the pain and ecstasy of mortality in YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
Tell us about your show, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
It’s a show about existentialism and vulnerability. It’s going to be very surreal and I will do my best to make it funny throughout. It’s about human connection and compassion. It’s about creating a theatrical experience for audiences that goes far beyond what people are used to. It’s a big fuck you to all of the British theatre we’ve at best hated over the years, and at worst grown so bored of.
This show explores loneliness, pain and anxiety. What do you think makes these experiences so universal in the modern world?
Well I don’t think these emotions are anything new. They are the same emotions people have been experiencing for millennia, but it does feel like anxiety and loneliness are potentially more acute these days. The pandemic won’t have helped and neither will Brexit.
The UK is in such a desperate place and it really feels like an “each to their own” mentality at the moment, which breeds a sense of separation and loneliness. I think pain is something we can all relate to at the moment. I see this show as a bit of a shared purge; I am hoping we can descend to the depths of loneliness and pain together – then find some light and humility in this mad existence we all share and call life.
What is your trick to reflecting and subsequently deconstructing these emotions on stage?
I think it’s all about transition, silence, and liminal spaces. What is the thing between things? What’s it like morphing from pain to ecstasy very slowly? What’s it like to throw up whilst having an orgasm?
My meditation training has taught me that our emotions are more complex than we give them credit; we have all these labels we attribute to what we are feeling, but what is actually going on underneath the labels? What is the raw felt data of something like anxiety before we attach concepts to it? I hope to explore this live on stage.
"It’s a big fuck you to all of the British theatre we’ve at best hated over the years, and at worst grown so bored of."
How do you go about exploring such enormous concepts in the space of a single show?
I try to keep my intention and in some ways my performance very simple. Yes, some of these concepts might sound a little daunting intellectually, but actually there is a real simplicity one can find through performance. You can convey so much with a simple symbol on stage – be it a physical expression or something very abstract. I hope that people feel these ideas like a punch in the gut, rather than an intellectual exercise that pulls and audience’s attention away from the play.
How do you create a space that encourages the audience to embrace vulnerability and properly connect with YOU ARE GOING TO DIE?
I think it’s very much about framing vulnerability as a practice, rather than thinking of it as some sort of state to achieve. If the vulnerability feels like it’s slipping then I fall back on my meditation training. If as a performer I am awake, with attention on the flow of whatever’s arising in the present moment, open and receptive to the audience, and to what I need to do as an actor, then we are on the right path.
Vulnerability is so often framed as something weak or negative, whereas in this framing it is very much about courage and a sense of allowing that whatever is arising should be welcomed. Vulnerability is the opposite of suppression.
What made you want to perform this show naked?
Vulnerability, simplicity, and to remind people that we are all just complex animals living in an incredibly conceptual world. To quote George Carling “We’re barely out of the jungle on this planet. Barely out of the fucking jungle.”
What do you hope people will take away from YOU ARE GOING TO DIE?
A sense of common humanity and compassion for themselves and others. I want people to laugh, I want people to question their preconceptions and judgments. I want people to reflect on their impending deaths with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Nobody really knows what reality is and things are perhaps far less solid than we think. So how do we navigate this with love?
"The UK’s theatre is so heavily reliant on script-based work and boring narrative driven stuff – most plays are just people endlessly talking. It’s pathetic and that’s why the theatres are dying."
What are your hopes for the show after your Vault Festival run?
I aim to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe (if I can afford it), and then on to Denmark where I regularly perform and teach my performance methodology. Then I would love to bring it back to London, the rest of the UK, and beyond!
Are there any other shows at Vault Festival that you’re looking forward to?
For sure! To name a few…
waiting for a train at the bus stop
Under Heaven’s Eyes
Hear Me Now
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into theatre?
Don’t bother. Just kidding.
Follow your heart if it keeps telling you that you need to do it.
I’ve tried so hard to pack it all in and do something else because it’s a brutal and unforgiving industry but if you need to do it, you need to do it. My only advice would be to develop your taste and artistic interests. See lots of things, then make something completely different to what is the norm.
The UK’s theatre is so heavily reliant on script-based work and boring narrative driven stuff – most plays are just people endlessly talking. It’s pathetic and that’s why the theatres are dying. Theatre can not compete with the film and television industry – so instead of mirroring it, we should be moving into a more avant-garde arena with theatre. Create something that can’t be experienced through a fucking screen and your audiences will thank you.
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE is at a Vault Festival from Tuesday 14th March until Sunday 19th March 2023.
Book tickets to YOU ARE GOING TO DIE here.
Read the original interview with Blizzard Comedy here.
Find out more:
You can learn more about me here.
If you would like to learn meditation with me, find out more here.
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Find out about what I am currently creating here.