by Kwame Owusu
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Cast: 10-12 performers, any gender
Performance fee: £70 per performance (plus VAT where applicable)
A thrilling, witty, superhuman coming-of-age story about the quest to find your place in the world.
When a mysterious cosmic event hits, a group of unsuspecting teenagers is suddenly granted superpowers and together they must work out what to do with their newfound abilities.
But their new world of endless possibilities soon starts to crumble as trust is shaken, lines are drawn, and conflicts erupt. Can they pull together in time to save themselves – and the world?
HORIZON was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, in a production by the Bush Young Company.
About the author
Kwame Owusu is a director and writer. Work in theatre includes Dreaming and Drowning (winner of the Mustapha Matura Award 2022, shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award 2022, and a winner of the RSC 37 Plays project 2023) at the Bush Theatre. Work in theatre as a director includes The Bacchae at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre; Othello at ArtsEd; stoning mary at Arts University Bournemouth; and The Wolf from the Door at the John Thaw Studio. Work as a Staff Director includes Romeo and Julie at the National Theatre and Sherman Theatre. Work as an assistant director includes Lyonesse at the Harold Pinter Theatre; and Closer, Britannicus, Scandaltown, and Running With Lions at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Writing for audio includes The Factory for English Touring Theatre.
Interview with Kwame Owusu
HORIZON is a sci-fi coming-of-age story about a group of teenagers who gain superpowers. What drew you to this genre?
I've always been a massive fan of science fiction, and was really drawn to the idea of writing a bold, ambitious play for teenagers, utilising a genre which we normally only see in TV and Film. Science fiction is such a thrilling genre for storytelling, because the only limit is our imagination. I found the idea of harnessing the liveness of theatre to explore this genre, a genuinely exciting prospect.
The play is non-chronological, jumping around in time to tell the story. Why did you choose this structure to tell this story?
The play opens with the characters being questioned by the investigators after their capture, and I found the non-chronological structure encourages audiences to actively try and piece together the mystery of how the characters ended up in this situation. I was really keen for the structure of the play to feel like a thrilling puzzle, and found that the non-chronological structure creates an experience in which every scene is a new piece of evidence in the investigation - viewed through the lens of their capture and questioning.
The play is written for an ensemble of 10-12 actors. How did you give equal importance and weight to each character?
Lots of the work of writing the play was thinking about the various friendships, alliances, and histories of the characters, and how that fuels their objectives and needs in the present. I was keen that every character had their own specific approach to this cosmic event - grouping together in like-minded factions. Once I had a clear sense of the nature of these characters, and had figured out how all the characters would interweave and clash, they quickly had equal importance and weight, because they were all responding to each other in the face of this supernatural crisis.
Do you have any advice for actors performing the play, or for directors staging it?
My main advice would be that despite this being a play about superpowers, it definitely doesn't need massive special effects or resources! Just use the words to transport the audiences and provoke their imaginations. Also, give a good amount of pace to the dialogue! That's all you need to create something which feels just as thrilling and explosive as anything on Netflix.