Q&A: Changing the Sheets
Harry Butler is an actor and writer from Dublin whose play Changing the Sheets is at Edinburgh Fringe. As two characters act out their intimate encounter with words only, it exposes the gap between romantic ideal and reality without exposing any flesh.
What is Changing the Sheets about?
Changing the Sheets is about a young couple who have just met each other on a dating app in Dublin. The play tells the story of their relationship through the conversations they have in the bedroom together. The audience only hears what's said to each once the door is closed and the lights are off. It's a comedy about these types of fleeting encounters with strangers and how we get to know people in this unusual way.
As a writer, what made you decide to creates an intimate encounter with words only?
I thought it could provide a new angle of looking at romance, sex and pillowtalk. It should feel like a transcript of what is said in the bedroom but we don't put the audience through nudity or intimate scenes. My hope would be that it would offer an insight into these encounters that feels fresh and exciting. Also, seeing actors naked on stage is always a bit jarring, in my experience.
As an actor, is it difficult to say the lines without movement?
In performance of Changing the Sheets we have freedom to move around on stage, it's just not the movement that is actually occurring in the scene. It has taken a bit of getting used to, but now I feel like I can concentrate on just listening to Máiréad, the actress who plays Patti, and think about what is going on between the characters. It keeps you on your toes and keeps the spotlight on what's happening between them, not the untying of shoe laces or attempts at finding a wallet.
What’s your favourite line from the show?
There's a joke about Coors Light that almost always gets a laugh from everyone in the room. That always feels nice. It's comforting knowing there are jokes that are reliable and get laughs. I worry that people have fallen asleep or are thinking about what to eat when they are quiet for too long.
Describe the show in three words
Fun, sexy, relatable.
What else should audiences do or see if Edinburgh this August?
The best thing I have seen is An Audience Without Kate Bush, also on at Assembly Rooms. I'm not a huge Kate Bush fan but it made me very happy. She's now been the soundtrack to my Fringe.
Changing the Sheets is presented by The Playground Theatre and is at Assembly Rooms until 28th August at 9.15pm