HUNGRY is a new play about food, love, class and grief in a world where there’s little left to savour by Chris Bush staged as part of ROUNDABOUT at PopOut Festival 2021 7-10 October. We caught up with Chris to discuss the show.
“The initial idea behind Hungry came from something I started working on at Sheffield Theatres when I was a Playwright-in-Residence with them in 2013, so it’s been rattling around my head for a long time now.
At the heart of it I am a massive foodie, so I was definitely interested in writing something about what we eat and why. Food is such an emotive thing, in both really positive and negative ways. We cook as a way to express our love and there’s nothing more disappointing than a bad meal. But also, food is such a shorthand for how we value people and how we ascribe worth to them. We can be very judgemental about what others consume, and it’s very often the case that the cheapest food also has the least nutritional value.
We can see what our society considers someone to be worth by what they are allowed or encouraged to consume. There is a huge class element to food which it feels important to talk about.
Hungry is also a queer, female love story that isn’t centred around sexuality or queer trauma, which feels significant. It uses food to tell the story of a relationship, where that food is used to show care but also sometimes to control.
Writing for Roundabout is such a pleasure. It is such a beautiful and purely theatrical space. There’s nowhere to hide in it, you are physically surrounded by the audience. There’s a limit to what you can do in terms of set, props or costumes. It’s all about the text and the performances and the relationship with the audience, which feels really honest. I have done quite a lot of large scale shows where it all becomes about huge set pieces and bodies and processions, so it is really lovely to do something that is very stripped back to the theatrical basics. The other great thing about Roundabout is that it moves. It’s a very high tech and comfortable space that can pop-up anywhere in the country with minimal fuss. It is always exciting to me when my work tours and gets to be seen in a range of different places, and the way in which Roundabout goes into the heart of communities feels particularly significant.
I really hope audiences enjoy the play – it’s got some very funny moments. I hope they will see two characters who feel truthful, that they can connect with and root for in their different ways. Hopefully it’s an honest depiction of the strains that can creep into a relationship, whilst also showing the genuine care and love between these characters in a way that we don’t see a lot of in female queer love stories.”
THE GUARDIAN’s 4 Star review describes the play as a SOURING ROMANCE WITH PLENTY TO CHEW OVER.” You can read the full review here