Go see this KCL student’s play about politics and sugar babies being put on this autumn in Croydon

An interview with Love, Lola’s writer and director

Love, Lola, a play by English second-year Francessca Charlemagne, is set to open in mid November. The production is packed with King's talent, starring Lauren Leppard and Rebecca Lewis.

Here, writer/director Francessca and producer Meg McManus answer some questions for the Tab about Lola, staging a play, and getting involved in theatre at KCL.

Describe the play for us.

F: The play is a good two-hour show. I guess you could describe it in terms of genre as a sort of rom-com with heavy amounts of drama and politics, but at the end of the day I would say it's an exploration of how the characters evolve, and really the question of what happens when love is confronted with desire.

What was your process for casting, staging and promotion? How was our uni involved?

F: Funnily enough, we weren't accepted by any of the [KCL] societies to put it on, which pushed us to do it professionally, but we still wanted to involve the King's community. We've got so many actors from King's who are really at the top of their game, really emerging in themselves. I'm really grateful to the university because they got us rooms to hold auditions in and gave us space to put posters around. So most of [our promotion] was done that way and through social media.

M: Pitching to societies has also made us more organised. [Francessca] now has schedules, budgets, props lists, and set lists. All the work she's been doing just to pitch, to say "this is the idea, this is what we're doing", has been very organised and pitching has forced us to get our stuff together.

photo by Francessca Charlemagne

photo by Francessca Charlemagne

How has KCL affected your ambitions in theatre?

M: We have really talented actors here at King's, so even just going to productions you can tell we have a lot of talent based here. The location [of the uni] is also really great, and I'd say that the setting [of the play] has been affected by that as well. For instance, Francessca was heavily influenced by the Hippodrome.

F: When it came to building on the initial idea – which I'd had before university – being in the university environment, having this opportunity where we're stimulated to write creatively and share our ideas, that definitely helped the play take shape. My courses and the books I've read there have also really helped. Like Meg said, we're also completely blown away by the sheer quality found within the actors at King's.

What do you hope audiences will walk away with?

M: A new look at fame and fortune. There are also the elements of sugar babies and LGBT relationships, so maybe a realisation that there are multiple sides to each, and that they're not so cut and dry. Also just that they have a good time.

F: Yeah, mainly as a director I want people to come away feeling that it was worth their money, that they had a good time. Maybe they learn something, maybe they don't, but definitely a feeling of "I would see that again". As the writer, for me it was so important to have people, not characters, and I would really like the audience to walk away and judge and discuss the people they see onstage as humans. They're all flawed, and they all have their good sides and their bad sides, and we've just tried really hard to make everyone as complex as in waking life as well as just being two-dimensional characters.

Love, Lola is running from November 16th to November 26th at Matthew's Yard, Croydon. Book tickets here.


Lauren Leppard

Rebecca Lewis

Arsentiy Novak

Colm Molloy

Camille Steens

Romane Bokkerink

Shaun Harper

Shannon Assaf

Cover photo credit: Gabriel Thomson