Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

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Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

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Hope has a Happy Meal runs from 3 June until 8 July in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre London. Let me know if there’s anything else you need” works if you do not want to say “enjoy your meal.” The sentiment is still there, but we do not have to say it outright for the people to understand what we mean. Instead, we can offer them a different service. I would say the play is firmly rooted in now and the politics of the last five years, but by it being set in the People’s Republic of Koka Kola (rather than Britain) there’s a detachment that hopefully makes it feel a little more universal. During the next 20 minutes In Stereo shows O’Flynn’s lonely narrator experiencing a psychotic episode in which the actor’s recorded voiceover tells the supernatural story of a damp stain on the wall which gradually takes over her life. Alone on stage with a television, the silent O’Flynn moves warily as her entire life begins to be consumed not only by the growing mould around her, but also by fractures of her self as her words splinter into several simultaneous and competing voices. McDowall shows how the mottled room, itself a character, will outlive this one woman and will absorb the lives of future generations until climate change washes over everyone. Heading to the BP Nature Reserve where Hope believes her sister is living, they are helped to evade the authorities en route by a passenger on the Koka Kola Railway and a lorry driver who likes American country music.

The overall effect is an exciting contribution to contemporary playwriting –it’s art that seems to make your mind go woo-woo. None of the other alternatives use a pronoun to introduce ourselves. That’s because they’re slightly more informal choices. “I” allows us to be a little more personable to the people we’re serving, which some people value in food service. It works well because people don’t always expect their servers to be the most entertaining or enthusiastic. If you can show them that you care enough about them and your job to be lively and fun, you might just win them over. It’s most appropriate in more informal places (especially those with children as guests). However, you’ll find it works well anywhere.

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That’s what makes it such a strong choice. However, it’s not pronounced as elegantly in English as it is in French, which you’ll need to understand before saying it yourself. In these cases, we can offer our services at a later time by saying, “let me know if there’s anything else you need.” It’s still an incredibly polite way to say that you’re happy to help, and it’s also a closing statement that allows the diners to understand that it’s time for them to eat. Hope Has a Happy Meal is a thought-provoking tragic-comic-satiric-allegory that takes viewers on a journey through the dystopian capitalist landscape of the People’s Republic of Koka Kola. Despite the det ails of the post-democr atic corpor ate country being too light, it’s still ple asing. It’s just th at such an environment needs to h ave a gre ater imp act on the life dec isions m ade by the ch ar acters. The ch ar acters’ lives ch ange forever at the end of the show, but th is is less to do with corpor ate cruelty and more to do with dysfunction al person alities.

Tom Fowler, the playwright behind the upcoming play Hope has a Happy Meal, spoke to us about the creative process and inspiration of his first full length play. Moreover, he sheds light on the evolving writing process, which, for him, has been a transformative journey of self-education and the discovery of his own political voice. Follow Hope on a surreal and frenetic quest through a hyper-capitalist country in this new play by Tom Fowler, directed by Royal Court Associate Director, Lucy Morrison. Tom Fowler has cooked up a s atiric al allegoric al quest of a pl ay, where a collection of r ag-t ag ch ar acters struggle to survive in the People’s Republic of Kok a Kol a (the PRKK) a post-democr atic country now in the full throes of hyper-c apit al ism and run by corpor ate gi ants (the he ad of the country is a CEO). But the piece also loses its w ay just as the m ain ch ar acter, Hope, st arts to find hers. But in the People’s Republic of Koka Kola – a world of dwindling resources, corruption and corporate giants – what happens to Hope?Where Hope Has A Happy Meal does falter, is in the elements of satire and allegory. Hope’s character is too detailed to be an allegorical version of the concept and the other characters do not seem to represent anything outside of themselves. This is in part because the writing and performances of those characters aren’t flat enough for allegory but also because The People’s Republic of Koka Kola never really comes to life. I really like the way that Fowler parodies the banal pronouncements of those in power, and his evident sympathy for the marginalized and the needy. There is also something very allusive in his writing: the mention of Strawberry Fields commune brings to mind the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby” when, some time later, it becomes evident that we are dealing with a situation that could be described as “all the lonely people, where do they all come from?” I also like the psychological insights, expressed perhaps most directly in the clown game show sequence, and the drunken episode when Hope and Lor get plastered. Yet anger and violence step on the toes of all the humour. Despite all the jokes, notions of loss and death give the piece its much needed shadows.

Despite the strong writing, the one thing I can’t quite understand is the link to capitalism. The asides to the future capitalistic world (e.g. Facebook Forest, Koka Kola Airlines, and Disney Quarry), are funny, but that’s just about it. I wish there were more ‘rules’ about this government and world to establish the setting more. It is very intriguing and has so much potential. I wish it would link itself more to the main storyline. Credit: Helen Murray

I Hope You Have A Pleasant Meal

When a server is there to do a job, it’s difficult for them to separate “work” from “fun.” Therefore, they might struggle to give optimal customer service if they repeat phrases like “enjoy your meal.” Via Hope, writer Tom Fowler drops us into Satire Land – or, more precisely, the People’s Republic of Koka Kola. In this Happy Meal dystopia, everything – from cities, to train lines, to armies – is owned and branded by big corporations. With much trepidation, Hope is returning to Koka Kola, after decades away, to reunite with her sister and someone else she left behind years ago. But her visit becomes considerably more dramatic after she meets waitress Isla (Mary Malone) – who’s fleeing with her baby nephew from his father, a police officer who she says killed her sister – and a suicidal, soon-to-be-former park ranger, Alex (Nima Taleghani). They band together to find a fabled commune run by Hope’s sister.

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