En Route: Swansong

3 fantastic new plays are transferring from the Edinburgh Fringe to Arcola Theatre next month, as part of our EH to E8 season. We’re catching up with each company on the way – starting with DugOut Theatre, whose new show Swansong opens on 11 October. Co-writer and actor Tom Black tells us more.

Briefly, what’s Swansong about?
Swansong is a comedy about four twenty-somethings surviving an apocalyptic flood on a swan pedalo.

Without giving too much away, what might people find surprising or unusual about the show?
People are usually surprised by the lack of an actual pedalo on stage, and how we instead choose to represent it. Some audience members have told us they’re surprised by how much it makes them think as well as laugh. We want people to leave having had a great time, but also wonder about what they would miss about the world if it were suddenly drowned in an all-consuming flood. With that theme in mind, we hope people are surprised by how joyous the show feels.

What were rehearsals like? Any particularly funny bits?
I’m still coming to terms with the two hours of my life spent exploring how to represent the abstract physicality of a swan. Rehearsals happened at breakneck pace, as tends to be DugOut’s style – we didn’t have a completed script until five days before the Fringe, and our first London preview was only the third time we’d run the play through from start to finish.

You’ve just been living in Edinburgh for a month. What was your favourite moment?
I’d like to tell you it was during any of the spellbinding shows that left a huge impression on me – RashDash’s Two Man Show, Daniel Kitson at the Trav, Auntie Donna, Mark Thomas’ The Red Shed, Triple Threat, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons – but truth be told, it’s the morning I spent in a cat café. It was a café full of cats. I got to play with the cats. I really like cats.

How are you feeling about doing the show in London? Will it be different at the Arcola?
As a company we’ve always had a strong Fringe presence, but London transfers have tended to elude us until recently. To perform at the Arcola is a huge honour, and we can’t wait. We just got back from HighTide, which is a really wonderful festival and was very useful for the show: we performed it in a studio space for the first time and found it a fantastically intimate experience. So compared to the Fringe, I think Arcola audiences will feel closer to the show, in every sense.

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

Swansong plays at Arcola from 11th to 15th October 2016. Tickets are just £17 (£14 concessions). Read more / book now