This is my 2,465th blog post and do you know, I’ve never featured a play before! Consequently I’m really thrilled to be staying in with Emma Zadow today to chat all about her latest playscript, Fridge. My grateful thanks to Will Dady at Renard Press for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. I’m thrilled to be starting it off.
Staying in with Emma Zadow
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Emma and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Tell me, as if I didn’t know, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought Fridge. It’s a drama about two sisters that return to their family home after the youngest attempts suicide.
That’s quite an introduction to Fridge! What can we expect from an evening in with this drama?
The eldest, Alice, lives and works in London, whilst her younger sister, Lo, now a teenager, has been left alone again when their Mum goes to Ibiza with the latest boyfriend. A local farmer, Charlie, is roped in to help Lo, and he bumps into Alice when she comes home, dredging up old feelings between the three of them, spinning their worlds out of control.
That sounds like a really fresh take on the eternal triangle. But why is is called Fridge?
I wove into the narrative the idea of having a fridge in their kitchen as a form of escape for Lo, rather than her dealing with her issues. The story is set on the North Norfolk Coast and I wanted to include local folklore into the book; the sisters share stories of the sea – mermaids, especially, and how this imagery can take on the characters’ difficulties. I love magic realism in literature and stage work, so this was important to me – it captures how important imagination can be in order to face our fragilities. I haven’t read or seen many pieces of work that explore mental health in a more creative way than an asylum or institution, and I wanted to do that for young people in isolated communities in rural areas.
That sounds brilliant. And I think you’re right, We think of mental health as a city based, often institutionalised concept but people in remote rural areas have their problems too.
It’s a reckoning, really, of the relationships between the three – between who they used to be to each other and who they are as adults now. That journey is complex, and sometimes we have to leave behind friends, family and others to become who we think we should be.
The rest is memory… or, that is, until you go back home for Christmas or Corona.
I’m utterly intrigued by the concept of Fridge. How is it being received?
Here’s a review from Silent Faces Theatre:
‘What a beautiful, eerie, nostalgic piece… was captivated by the authenticity of the setting and the sense of nostalgia. The way in which you deal with the subject of mental health is also incredibly intriguing. It makes sense to me that that experience is expressed in an almost otherworldly way, so the audience is left guessing what is real and what isn’t.’
Fridge sounds fabulous Emma.
As well as your writing, what else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
Music is a big deal to me. I’m one of those picky writers that needs a bit of music in the background all the time. The album Another Life by Hadda Be has been the perfect mix of part Pixies, part Primitives, part Banshees… and I’m in love. Some other new music I’m slightly obsessed with (and spent the summer listening to it while I was editing my book) is Amy Studt’s latest album, Happiest Girl in the Universe – vulnerable, fragile, nostalgic and a mood. It really sets the scene for me.
I confess I didn’t know these artists but I’m so pleased you’ve introduced me to them.
I listen a lot to podcasts, too – a lot! I’ve devoured Literary Friction with Carrie Plitt and Octavia Bright – and I picked out my fave books this year based on their recommendations! Daisy Johnson’s mysterious and soulful Sisters and P.L. Blackmore’s The Manningtree Witches, based around Mathew Hopkins and the witch trials in East Anglia. Haunting!
Any guest who brings books is always welcome Emma – you can come back again!
And I’m bringing my sister too, of course. I haven’t seen her in over a year.
She’s most welcome. Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about Fridge Emma. It really does sound superb. Whilst the two of you have a catch up chat I’ll just give blog readers a few more details about Fridge:
Alice hasn’t been home for a while – for seven years, in fact. But when her little sister Lo tries to take her own life, she has to return to the life she left behind. The change of scenery from London to Norfolk proves quite the culture shock, however, and Alice has to confront what she left behind all those years ago.
The sisters’ relationship hasn’t evolved in Alice’s absence, and when she steps through the door she’s plunged back into the same world she escaped from. Set against Norfolk’s bleak landscapes, but masquerading as childhood nostalgia, Fridge is an all-too-familiar exploration of the broken promises of youth, and a bitter exposition of a generation left behind.
Fridge is published by Renard Press and is available for purchase in all the usual places including directly from the publisher here.
You can read a short extract from Fridge here.
About Emma Zadow
Emma Zadow is an actor, playwright and screenwriter from Norfolk. She trained at Rose Bruford College as an actor, and her plays have been performed at the Arcola, the Old Red Lion Theatre, Camden Fringe Festival, Norwich Arts Centre and Pleasance Theatre. Emma is an alumni playwright from the Soho Theatre Writers Lab, and she was shortlisted for the ETPEP Award and Tony Craze Award. A BBC New Creative, her screenplays include the hit short film The Cromer Special and Jigging. Fridge is her first book.
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