I am making a show about my dad, but I don't want him to see it.
In Hard Graft David Sheppeard investigates how much can change between one generation of a family and the next and the lengths we go to bridge the divide.
A performance about reluctant fathers and wayward sons set against the backdrop of the occasional mining disaster and the fading industrial landscapes of South Wales.
We asked David a few questions about the show...
You made Hard Graft for FiRST BiTES last year. How has it changed since then?
Completely. When I was doing FiRST BiTES here it was the start of the journey. I love FiRST BiTES because you can get away with risking a lot, but I hope at this point that I’ve got much more knowledge about what the show is.
What would you say Hard Graft is about?
It’s a show about the magic of having children who are completely different from you. I'm looking at ways of bridging those gaps; seeing those similarities that sometimes are really uncomfortable and to realise how similar I am to my father. That’s a really unexpected thing for me.
You’ve talked before about issues of privacy and who family history belongs to. How has that influenced the show?
All family stories are relational: there’s the person it happened to and then there’s the person down the line that feels the influence. All these traits and habits and behaviours are passed down through generations. I think it’s fascinating how completely unclean slates we are.
You didn’t grow up in Wales but your parents are Welsh. How has that influenced the show?
I remember going there a lot as a child: going over the bridge and through some tunnels and then past the steelworks. It was almost as like going into a Dante’s Inferno-style wasteland. But there are beautiful things about it; the beaches, the nature. The show has a lot about reclamation and how nature takes things back.
What’s been most surprising thing about making Hard Graft?
When I started out it was completely different. You think you’re interested in drier, more containable subject matter, but then things crop up, you follow your nose, and the fun part of the process is that you end up somewhere completely different to where you began.