Q&A with “Growth’ writer Luke Norris

Luke Norris
15 September 2017

Luke Norris is a writer of stage and screen. His play ‘Growth’ is was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 in Paines Plough’s Roundabout Theatre, where it won a Fringe First before heading out on a UK tour. 'Growth' will be performed here on Wednesday 20 September. Luke is currently under commission to the Bush Theatre and is writing a new play under attachment to the National Theatre New Work Department.

Tell us a bit about ‘Growth’.
‘Growth’ is a play about a guy who finds a lump on his testicle and then has to deal with the fallout of that…
But it’s really about how life forces you to grow up by insisting you make decisions and take responsibility for all manner of things, like-it-or-not.   It’s as much about my fear of   completing a tax-return or going to the dentist as it is about testicular   cancer.

What inspired the show?
The main event happened to a mate of mine, but the play isn’t at all   biographical…
‘Growth’ was originally commissioned for graduating actors at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, so- more than anything- I wanted to write something that might stir people in their early twenties. And the idea that young people get ill, maybe even die, is a tough thing to accept when you feel invincible, but there’s something about being on that precipice of leaving education for the ‘real world’ that feels like it resonates with the play somehow.

Cancer isn’t a traditionally funny topic, was this difficult to write?
It was difficult to write… but not really for that reason. I sort of think you’d probably be hard-pushed to find anyone (British at least) who faces a grave illness- or any seemingly bleak situation- without some humour. It’s about the only coping mechanism we’ve got. And in dramaturgical terms, I don’t think a play about a ‘serious topic’ would even work without some laughs. Light and shade and all that.

Who would you recommend ‘Growth’ to?
Anyone who fancies getting out of the house, really… but I suppose it’s designed to chime with anyone who has anxieties about getting older, or anyone who is facing change, or making difficult decisions. Or anyone who has a to-do list that they’re tempted to  ignore.