En Route: Empty Beds

3 fantastic new plays are transferring from the Edinburgh Fringe to Arcola Theatre next month, as part of our EH to E8 season. The first production is Empty Beds, which opens on 4 October. Writer and actor Julia Cranney and actor Carys Wright tell us more.

Briefly, what’s Empty Beds about?

JC: Three Northern sisters who don’t normally spend time together, have decided to travel to the other end of the country to see their brother on his birthday – then the train gets stuck.
CW: And there are snacks.

Without giving too much away, what might people find surprising or unusual about the show?

CW: The show takes place in real time, over 50 minutes on the last leg of the sister’s journey. Hopefully it leaves the audience feeling like fellow passengers on the train, who maybe shouldn’t be listening in, so I suppose that’s quite unusual.
JC: That, and also the sheer volume of crisps that are consumed during the show (particularly by Carys).

What were rehearsals like? Any particularly funny bits?

JC: Pre-Edinburgh rehearsals were intense, as we graduated from drama school two weeks before heading up to the Fringe, so it was a fortnight of living and breathing this little train journey … And regretting writing quite so many over-lapping lines.
CW: There are a lot of / over-lapping lines.
JC: / Too many. /
CW: But this time around it’s been great to get back to playing with our lovely team again and finding new moments to explore. We’ve also re-acquainted ourselves with a fierce Tunnocks tea-cake addiction that was formed whilst flyering in Scotland.

You’ve just been living in Edinburgh for a month. What was your favourite moment?

JC: Every time I’ve been to Edinburgh before I’ve found myself living in a hovel with a small army of people. Somehow this time around the small (but perfectly formed) Empty Beds team found ourselves living in a palatial flat next to the castle complete with our own bedrooms and a disconcertingly large collection of taxidermy. So that was interesting.
CW: It was great to have such a nice base whilst doing what at times could be quite a draining show. But it was wonderful to be part of a production that was sparking conversations with so many of our audience members.
JC: I’ve never been involved in a show before where I’ve been approached so many times afterwards by different people. That was really special.

How are you feeling about doing the show in London? Will it be different at the Arcola?

CW: We’re very excited to be bringing the show to the Arcola. It’s also our company Pennyworth Productions’ debut in London, and it’s great to be doing that with Empty Beds.
JC: Due to the nature of the show, Empty Beds is a bit different every time we do it. We really love these three sisters and the chance to play with them again for a week is something we can’t wait to do (if not only to see where they end up this time!).

If you had to sum up your experience of doing Empty Beds in one word, what would it be?

JC: Magic.
CW: Yeah, Magic.

Empty Beds plays at Arcola from 4th to 8th October 2016. Tickets are just £17 (£14 concessions). Read more / book now