“It’s unrealistic to be miserable all the time” ‒ In conversation with the writer and directors of Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot is an EUTC student comedy written by Amy Yeo. This naturalistic play focuses on a group of freshly graduated students, reuniting for their annual Burns’ Night supper to catch up, share stories and enjoy each others company. The Student sat down with writer Amy Yeo, director Ben Fleming and assistant director Rebecca O’Donaghue to find out more about the play.

“It’s unrealistic to be miserable all the time,” points out writer Amy Yeo, whether it be in life or at just a secrets-filled post-graduation dinner party. Her original comedy strives to show this through a light hearted script — but that’s not to say it doesn’t house plenty of poignant moments too.

What made you want to write about something like this?

Amy: I wanted to write something funny and relatable, and it’s sort of very loosely based on a Burns’ Night supper I had. I wanted to do something naturalistic.

What are the characters like?

Amy: I’d like to think you could see some of your friends in the characters.

Ben: There’s an interesting structure within the six characters. They’re very different and yet gel together so well, and they also sort of arrange themselves into pairs which is interesting to see. Seeing such different personalities interact is fascinating. 

Is there anything particularly prominent in the relationships between the characters?

Ben: Generally the sense of realism is so important, and there are many different avenues being taken to capture that realism, which is already invested in the dialogue. But we wanted these characters to feel real, we didn’t want them to feel larger than life or like that you were watching a performance. When you’re sitting in the audience you’re literally looking into a dinner that actually could be happening. These are real-life characters.

Are the themes lighthearted overall?

Amy: Yes, it’s definitely life affirming. To emphasise the banter element of it, we know everyone goes through things and has to deal with them, but it’s unrealistic to be miserable all the time. Everyone has dinner with their friends and laughs about things. Just because things are hard doesn’t mean life is miserable- it’s still funny and good.

Ben: At its core [the play] is a comedy. There are some incredibly poignant moments and some tearjerkers, but it’s also laced with constant humour. There could be two incredibly moving lines immediately followed by a joke, but this doesn’t undercut the scene— it contributes to it.

Rebecca: Something we’re all terrified of is what’s going to happen after we graduate, so this is a really tender realistic look at what life is actually like beyond school.

Anything to add?

Ben: [The play] is just incredibly normal. It’s a celebration of everything that life is about, particularly in that limbo between university and the adult world. 

Amy: It’s really a celebration of the imperfections of life. Life doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be fun, and that’s what we want people to take away!

It’s clear the team are all very fond of their uplifting play, and keen for people to be immersed in the relatable characters and their post-university struggles and triumphs. For something so normal as a dinner with friends (“a microcosm of lots of issues” in itself, as Amy puts it) , it seems that students really could take comfort in the knowledge that no one really knows what comes after uni, and it’s never the end of the world if you don’t really know what you’re doing. 

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot plays at Bedlam Theatre until the October 31st.

Image: Madeleine McLinden

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