by Hayley Squires
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Cast: 3f 4m
A sharp, fast-paced exploration of the possibilities of love, friendship and healing in the search for home.
Boarding begins in one hour, just enough time for a last meal on British soil. Seven people in an airport restaurant have 60 minutes to decide if they’re coming, going or staying.
VS09 was first performed at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre, before performances at the Gate Theatre, London.
Content guidance: This play contains strong language, references to sexual activity and violence, and onstage portrayals of drug and alcohol abuse.
About the author
Hayley Squires trained at Rose Bruford College and graduated with a BA Hons in Acting in 2010. Her writing credits include Vera, Vera, Vera (Royal Court, 2012), The Educator (BBC Radio 3, 2013) and Glitterland (Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre, 2014/2015).
Interview with Hayley Squires
VS09 is set in a restaurant at Heathrow Airport. What drew you to this location?
A year before writing the play I had started travelling to and from New York quite frequently. I always travelled alone and always had a meal in the same bar/restaurant before I went. I would watch all of the people coming and going and how people would interact with each other. There was something about flying away for love and preparing to leave a home to fall in love with a new home that always stuck with me. The idea that home could be a place or a person. That home and love were the same thing.
The play features multiple storylines. How did you give importance to each story?
Each character was either part of a version of myself when I was 25/26 years old or a version of someone that I knew when they were 25/26. It was also about giving life to each chapter of a relationship: the undiscovered, the surprising, the blooming, the lonely and the dark and the heartbreaking. It was also about capturing a small moment of time when all of these people are bound together. Once you go through security at an airport there is sense that you are cut off from what you've left and from the rest of the world and the only way out is when you take the step onto the plane.
The title comes from the name of a specific flight number (from London to New York’s JFK). How important is the idea of New York as a destination to the characters in the play?
New York was very important to me at the time because there was a possibility that it could've become my permanent home. New York is mythical, the land of opportunity. But it is also a very real, tangible place. Once you experience New York it gets under your skin – there's a danger and a huge possibility to it. New York is rare in that it has always felt half poetic and half the realest of reality. And I think that catered to each of the individuals and the circumstances in the play.
Do you have any advice for actors performing the play, or for directors staging it?
It should feel like a world that exists protected from the outside but that could fly away at any moment. Each couple should have their own separate table.