Innate Optimism: The Enduring Hope of Storytelling and Theatre

"And are you an optimist? Are you hopeful today?" asked Lauren Laverne of playwright James Graham on "Desert Island Discs"

James Graham: "Totally, yeah. I can't remember when I last wrote a story with an unhappy ending. I don't think that's imposing artificial optimism onto stories that don't naturally have them. But I think a bit like dear David Barry, who infused his own work with such hope and belief in people and their innate goodness that I can't let go of that for my own characters, even in difficult and troubled times."

Lauren Laverne: "Where do you go when you need to up your reserves of hope and optimism?"

James Graham: "The theatre. I find it, and it's incredible that we, in the age of Netflix and everything else, still do this quite bizarre thing. I always think of alien visitors to the planet; the theatre would be the thing that would most confuse them. Like, "Why do you all go into a dark room and pretend that something is real when you know it's not? For what value?" And we do do it. And I find every play has an innate sort of hope to it, even if it's a really traumatic story or a really difficult, upsetting tale of injustice, of which God knows there were many. Gathering around it and telling it gives me hope because if we can do that, we can find solutions."

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