Tit4Twat Theatre’s, yes you heard correctly, show Losers is attracting those that both love and hate theatre. Why?, is probably the appropriate question. This week I was able to get inside scoop with company member Arthur Jones.
Tit4Twat is a theatre company made up of four recent University of Warwick graduates; Arthur Jones, Rachel Johnson, Sophie Thompson and Will Barratt. The name, if you were wondering, comes from the common phrase ‘tit for tat’, meaning to give as good as you get, but as Jones explains, “the reason it’s”, he awkwardly pauses, “twat rather than tat is because the nature of our shows, it’s in your face.” They are most definitely a company that like to see the funny side, but don’t let that fool you, they are very serious about theatre. It is no coincidence that after graduating their dissertation production, Losers, has gone straight into production at The Rag Factory in London.
Tit4Twat have managed the seemingly impossible by producing the show without any funding whatsoever. In order to get Losers out of university and into the London scene the company have had to delve into their own pockets. The financial restrictions of being a new company are issues that have confirmed to Jones the importance of the show. He tells me Losers, “was never meant to be a money making thing.” But with the support of the University of Warwick and an acceptance to do the show on the cheap, Tit4Twat have more than fallen on their feet.
Losers is about four reality TV rejects desperate for their very own moment of fame. In an attempt to make it as the next ‘big thing’ the four characters have developed their own reality game show, which according to Tit4Twat’s website is “genuinely original”. The characters go through eight gruelling rounds to find one winner. Equipped with interactive voting handsets the audience vote on who should take the bragging rights after each round.
The title, Losers, has multiple meanings; the use of the word as a common insult, that of failing to win, and as an observation on reality TV. Jones explains that, “in the world of reality TV it is the people who lose that are far more entertaining” and it is this warped phenomenon that Tit4Twat hope to explore in their show. Why are we fascinated with those cringeworthy auditions on X-factor or the brutal trials on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here? Tit4Twat are confronting audiences with the oddity that in reality TV losers are the actual winners and asking them to consider the ethics of this strange world.
Losers is not just a live performance of a reality TV show, it is a comment on the actions that take place in that environment. The actors go through the trials and tribulations of their characters more than the audience may realise. Jones explains, “the most interesting thing about performing the show is that the decisions the audience make really do affect us in real life, not just our characters…whether that’s eating something disgusting or having a possession destroyed.” Tit4Twat Theatre are forcing the audience to scrutinise the morality of voting to inflict real pain on another human, and whether it is easier if the victim is behind a television screen. Losers is addressing the ethics of reality TV in a wholly unique way, confronting the audience with a shocking reminder that all actions have consequences. Jones states, “we’re asking does the fact that that is really happening to us as people, not characters, make it more enjoyable.”
Tit4Twat are blurring the lines between real life and fiction, “in the show we’re four reality TV rejects willing to do anything to make it, and in real life we’re four recent theatre graduates willing to do anything to make a name for ourselves in theatre.” There is a nice parallel between Loser’s hard hitting questions and the company’s ability to never take itself too seriously. Tit4Twat Theatre are not afraid to criticise themselves in the show, they are certainly not attempting to say reality TV is wrong, rather asking the audience why we love to see people lose, regardless of the implications.
Whether you relish seeing a contestant’s possession get smashed or just condemning them to a hefty slice of humiliation, Losers promises to be a night of entertainment.
Losers is playing in The Rag Factory, East London until the 1 February. Tickets are £8 and audiences must be 16+ shows start 7.30pm