Q&A: Anthony Weigh

Anthony Weigh is an Australian born playright now living in London

He is a graduate of the MPhil in Playwrighting Studies at the University of Birmingham and his first full length play, 2000 Feet Away is being staged at the Bush Theatre in a production directed by Josie Rourke and starring Joseph Fiennes and Ian Hart.

What inspired you to write 2,000 Feet Away?

I wanted to write a play about our obsession with safety and what that does to us as a society and then I read a piece in the NYTimes about the sex offender legislation and the evictions and thought that this may be a good prism through which to look at that question.

Why did you choose to set the play in America?

Because of the law really. I wasn’t interested in exploring Americanness or America…but it just so happened that the location fit my purposes.

What are your thoughts on casting of the piece? Did you have much input in this process?

Yes. Josie Rourke was hugely collaborative when it came to casting. I am thrilled with it. I couldn’t imagine a better combination of talents working on this story. I think Joseph Fiennes and Ian Hart in particular bring real pathos and detail to the stories of these two men’s lives.

How did your first play come to be staged at the Bush?

The play was developed by the National Theatre Studio and from there landed on Josie Rourke’s desk at the Bush and she decided to program it…the great thing about the Bush is that they can respond relatively quickly to work when it arrives at the company. There’s not the onus of having to program years in advance that can sometimes impede a more immediate response to work.

Which other writers working in theatre today do you admire?

Working in theatre today? So living I guess? The technicians Caryl Churchill and David Harrower and Linda Mclean, the story tellers Conor McPherson and Simon Stephens and Robert Holman, the challengers of the form Will Eno, Richard Foreman, Lucas Barfus.

Most of my points of reference are more likely to be in other mediums: the films of the Coen brothers, PT Anderson, Altman, Hitchcock, Tarkovsky, the photography of Bill Henson and Joel Meyerowitz, the lyrics of Sufjan Stevens and the poetry of Carl Dennis.

What are you working on next?

It’s a secret…sorry…

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