In Conversation with Sophie Osbourne of 'Kissing Frogs'

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 23:00 | Posted by 

Sophie Osbourne is the writer and performer of 'Kissing Frogs'.  She is an alumini of Italia Conti Drama School, where she won a commendation in the BBC's Carlton Hobbs competition.  As well as her extensive work in theatre, Sophie has also appeared in 'Emmerdale''Dalziel & Pascoe'  and can shortly be seen in forthcoming feature  'Rhumblerama' (90/10 Productions).  Sophie brings  'Kissing Frogs'  - her laugh out loud funny one woman show about looking for love  - to Unity Theatre on Fri 9  to Sat 10th October.  We popped round to her place for a natter...

Sophie Osbourne
Hi Sophie!  So what inspired you to write Kissing Frogs?

I'm a 34 year old single woman myself. I think there's a lot of pressure to have achieved certain things by a certain age. When you reach 30, haven't ever married or had kids, and don't even have a successful career, it's easy to get judged, or to feel like people are judging you. You feel left behind as friends find their Mr Right and have children, which then become the focal point of their lives. Also at that age, as a woman, many of us feel in a panic as we don't have too many child rearing years left. With Facebook such a big part of a lot of people's everyday lives now, this is even more obvious. Those 30 something, childless singletons see every day what they're missing out on. I wanted Kissing Frogs to be something people could relate to. I think people of all ages and relationship statuses can relate to Jessica or have a friend similar to her. Most of us have been on terrible dates in the past and, for the majority of us, finding that special someone has had it's rocky moments.

Is Jessica based on your experiences then?

In some ways, yes. I'm still single, childless and in my 30's and, as a writer/actor, my career path isn't stable. I've tried internet dating, blind dates, etc., none of which have worked out for me - I have my fair share of heartbreak & of funny dating stories to tell! However, I'm happily single whereas Jessica herself is very different to me, she needs a man in her life - any man! She's extremely insecure, her only ambition is to have her own family and she's desperate to find her life partner, but it's for all the wrong reasons. She doesn't like herself very much and this isn't helping her in her relationships. Hitting 30, with the last of her friends getting married sets her into panic mode. Throughout the play she learns to accept and even like herself.

What made you write it as a one woman piece?

One of the first plays I saw was Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine. I'm a big fan of his writing and I fell in love with everything about the show. I'd known I wanted to act from a very young age and on seeing this I knew I wanted to be in a one woman show myself. The thing I love about just one person being alone on the stage throughout is that there's so much raw honesty and vulnerability about them. We put a mask on to other people, when you take that mask away there's nothing left to hide behind, just the actor standing alone, all honesty exposed. The play actually started off as a monologue which I wrote to perform at the Manchester Monologue Slam. It was received really well and I was encouraged to turn it into a full play. I saw this as a great opportunity to not only fulfill my ambition of acting in a one woman show, but write it too.

What was your worst ever date?

Oooh so many to choose from!! I think the worst was actually a blind date I was set up on. The guy was very nervous so brought his sister & her boyfriend along!! He spoke to my chest the whole night! I was actually very glad he brought his family along, it would have been even more awkward without them!!

Your director is John Garfield-Roberts. How did he get involved?

John is a very old friend back from college days. He's since become a successful director, most recently assistant directing the fantastic Ghost Train at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. He's on the board of Stage Directors UK and was recently shortlisted for the Regional Young Theatre Directors Scheme. He's a fantastic, imaginative director and is bringing his own unique touch to Kissing Frogs. Expect the unexpected!

What's your past experience?

I trained as an actor at Italia Conti in London. Since leaving there I've had various roles in tv, commercials, theatre tours, voice-overs and short films. I've always written - it must run in the family as my mother is a writer! This is the biggest thing I've done with my writing to date though. It's been challenging but so much fun - I've enjoyed every minute. I can't wait to get it on stage now.

What made you set the play to 80's music?

You tend to look back at the era in which you were born with very fond memories. I'm an 80's baby myself, and Jessica, being 30 would be too. I think the reason in general we look back with such fondness is that it's a time we felt safe, with no responsibilities, pressure or decisions to make. For many of us it was an easy, carefree time. For Jessica this is the opposite of how she feels now. I also wanted the audience to feel like the show is a fun night out. 80's music is still popular - loved by many generations. If you want to get up and dance at the end if the show then please feel free to do so - it's encouraged!

To see Sophie in 'Kissing Frogs' click here
Scott Fulton

Scott is the Unity's Digital Officer.