Dora Lynn, Kat Cory and Nora Alexander, the trio behind In Bed With My Brother and winners of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, create performances that critique power, inequality and the state of the world. They tell us about their new show PRIME_TIME.
Tell us about the premise of PRIME_TIME
Dora: It’s basically a one-act extravaganza of us tormenting Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) and trying to take him down in the only way we know how: through the magical power of theatre - and with the aid of a few axes we’ve purchased via Amazon.com.
Kat: We don’t want to give it all away, but we’re going to annihilate him. Having said that, we’re also ordering something from Amazon Prime. So, don’t worry guys, there’s a bit of retail therapy in there too.
How did you come up with the idea?
Dora: Our basic thinking was: if this big bald bloke is gonna destroy the planet and leave us all behind to burn while he floats around space in a big dick-shaped rocket - how do we want history to remember him?
Kat: There’s a whole generation of aspiring Jeffs who wake up every day at 4am hoping it will make them billionaires. We don’t want those guys to write the history books - to make out that Jeff was this great innovator or hero. We want to write our own account and I guess this is it.
Nora: I think we also got really dejected thinking about how the internet was meant to be this incredible resource where anything was possible and you could instantly connect with anyone in the world and share ideas and art and feel inspired. But it turns out it’s just a massive shop. We wanted to imagine what the internet could be if it hadn’t been seized by a bunch of blokes with rockets who don’t pay enough tax.
We’ve tried, but we just can’t do nuance.
Dora: Yeah, we’ve also been thinking a lot about the Greek myth of Amazon women and how we can reclaim the word Amazon from Jeff and his mega online shop. In pop culture, Amazonians are usually just sexy tall ladies with hench thighs, but they also went into battle against powerful men, so we want to take on some Amazonian energy.
Nora: Because we live in such an extreme time it doesn’t feel right to make a kind of subtle and nuanced show, so it’s not going to be that. We’ve tried, but we just can’t do nuance.
Do you think people’s attitude towards Amazon has changed since lockdown?
Dora: During lockdown, Amazon delivery drivers and staff at Fulfillment Centres became essential workers, putting their health at risk and getting paid a shit wage to get us our next-day sourdough starters. And when you’re shielding, you find Amazon is the only place you can turn - it becomes a sort of lifeline.
Kat: I feel like most people are aware of Jeff Bezos’ disproportionate wealth and power and that Amazon is ‘bad’. If you ask someone where they got something and they say ‘Amazon’, they always make this face, where they look down all apologetically. Why do we do that?! It's a shame so many buy from Amazon but as wages get worse and the cost of living goes up, Amazon becomes the only choice - Amazon can always sell cheaper.
This show isn’t going to be us shaming anyone for using Amazon or calling for a mass boycott. You can’t really escape it.
What did it mean to you to win the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award?
Dora: It’s a little bit surreal to be honest. The future of live theatre feels really uncertain at this time, especially for early career artists, so it’s amazing that the Trust and the Barbican have given us this opportunity. We’re well aware of how lucky we are, so we really want to make this show mega.
Interview by James Drury