Writer Peter Quilter – best known for End of the Rainbow which was adapted for the film Judy starring Renée Zellweger – has reimagined his 2012 play The Morning After with a gay couple at its heart, and it has its UK debut at the Above The Stag theatre this month. We asked Peter to tell us more about this modern comedy of love, sex and relationships.
Hi Peter, how would you describe The Morning After?
Two guys wake up naked in bed together, but can’t remember what happened. We follow what occurs over a series of mornings in the same bedroom as a shameless mother and eccentric gay uncle blast their ways into the lives of the shy new boyfriends. It’s a sex comedy, really. Looking at love, sex, relationships, family, marriage and all the complications of sharing a bed with someone. Sex comedies have been around for a long time, right back to the sixties, and I thought it was about time that we had a fun, commercial comedy with two cute young guys at the centre of it. It’s silly, fresh and funny, and I hope the audience will fall in love with these distinctive and charismatic characters.
What can you tell us about the characters?
Thomas wakes up in bed with Adam. Both are gorgeous. Tom is shy and wildly embarrassed, but Adam is completely relaxed and confident. We then meet Adam’s mother whose favourite hobby is visiting her son’s bedroom in the morning and catching up on the night’s gossip – while the new guy is still there! Later in the play, our fourth character crashes into the scenario. An eccentric uncle named Martin who has zero inhibitions.
What was the inspiration for the story?
I didn’t plan the play at all, just sat down and started writing. So I’m not sure where it came from! Sometimes your inspiration is simply wanting to tell a story, whatever it is, that will entertain people and make them laugh. I also really wanted to write something for a primarily gay audience. I remember going to see plays in the 90s which were about gay people and billed as comedies. But what kept happening was that it was funny in Act One, but by Act Two virtually the entire cast was dead! It was as though if you wrote a gay comedy, you were obligated to also make it a gay tragedy. I don’t sign up for that. So The Morning After is a pure and joyful comedy about gay life.
Is this a story as much about families as it is about two young gay men?
Yes, I think it touches on family and relationships in a way that everyone can relate too. I think straight audiences will enjoy it just as much. It’s only that straight guys might not equally enjoy the sight of half naked men running about as much as the Stag’s core audience. But target one is for the evening to be funny. If everybody laughs, whoever they are, that’s a victory.
Is it more important than ever that we can come to the theatre to have a laugh?
Absolutely. The world is falling apart. People will write books about this decade and what a fucking mess it’s been. Laughter is the balm that calms us down and reminds us that every cloudy day has a chance of sunlight and maybe even a rainbow. Come to the show, laugh, smile, be happy. And admire our gorgeous cast. And buy them a drink in the bar afterwards.