Second Year end of term play
Red Handed is Wilbert W Lawrence’s savage indictment of ‘Normality’ and ‘things that are beige’. His fourth, and many think, his best play, Red Handed stretches and breaks theatrical conventions as if they are social conventions, in an attempt to undermine the foundation blocks of corrupt western consciousness: ‘Normality is a state of being which is responsible for all that is wrong with society and the world.’ Or as he said to the press at the premiere of Red Handed at the Royal Court Theatre, ‘Normal people scare me.’ Based on his own early experiences as a Neo-Situationist on the wrong side of London’s police, and a lifelong obsession with his muse, the political activist and granddaughter of Andre Gide, Stella Gide, Red Handed careers across modern London like an out-of-control tram.Criticised for writing a self-referential play in Red Handed, it has been noted by those sympathetic to WWL’s work, that in keeping with his published verse, the self-portrait is unflattering.Wilbert W Lawrence was born in Aberdeen in 1988. Originally an actor and poet, he published a volume of poetry: Singing in Darkness, in 2010 before going on to write four critically acclaimed and award winning plays: Cut the Telephone Wires, won the Evening Standard’s Best New Play Award in 2013, and a Tony award for theatre writing with the most innovative investigative practice. Pelted in the Street by my Own Family, was turned into the award winning film Just Go, in 2016. Red Handed has won three festival comedy awards, in Edinburgh, Brighton, and Dublin. Wilbert W Lawrence is seen by many as the most divisive figure in modern theatre. A provocative exponent of ‘bad-taste theatre’, his work seeks to ‘swim against the tide of orthodoxy-sniffing doom merchants and their issue-based monotony.’ In the acceptance speech of his Tony Award, Lawrence infamously denounced Martin McDonagh’s plays as ‘a poisonous, politically-correct pastiche of JB Keane,’ thereby igniting a long running feud. His denunciation of the Royal Court’s artistic policy, led to a Court Case, in which he was forced to retract the assertion that ‘fascism comes in all sorts of disguises. In The Royal Court it comes in the shape of trying to brainwash us that theatre can only be made by or in support of minority groups.’ His law suits with press and peers led him to try to unsuccessfully eradicate all mention of himself and his work from social media sites.