Artemis Fitzalan Howard tells us about the inspiration behind new play Gate at The Cockpit Theatre

We all question our mortality at some time or another and ponder what happens to our loved ones when they die. In fact, many of us will have extensively discussed our beliefs with family and friends, writes Nicky Sweetland.

In a new play – written by Artemis Fitzalan Howard – Deadpan Theatre is delving into the realms of the afterlife and the work entitled Gate promises to pose the awkward questions in an unusual and amusing way.

“It’s not supposed to be grim. It’s a slightly light-hearted look at it”, writer Artemis explains, “I found the conversation of what happens to us after we die a very interesting one because everyone has a different opinion.”

Writer Artemis Fitzalan Howard

But it’s a pretty unusual subject matter for a comedy,

“I’d never really seen anything on stage that covers this area in the tone I wanted to see. I hope it will spark an interesting conversation, or make people ask themselves what they think.”

The play is set on a seemingly ordinary Thursday morning at ‘The Gate’ in Wapping.

“Four souls have arrived at this gate but they don’t realise why they’ve got there until it’s revealed that they are actually dead.” Artemis tells me, “It’s not explicitly said but ‘The Gate’ is a modern idea of what purgatory would be like, so these poor souls spend a day together before they pass on through this gate and into the next stage of their lives.”

The Gate is guarded by the ferociously officious Eve, like every first-born child in the generations before her.

“She acts as this facilitator, comic receptionist type of character, who slightly hates her job and wishes she wasn’t there.”

Gate follows on from the acclaimed success of Predrinks/Afterparty and with this new production, Deadpan Theatre return with a poignant and witty story of love and loss that asks what really happens to us after we die, what we leave behind and what we will become.

Gate will run at The Cockpit Theatre from 13 – 24 September


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