Owen Kennedy introduces his play, ‘PLUMB’, an exploration of masculinity, relationships and emotions in the modern world for Durham Drama Festival 2021.   

‘The crisis of modern society is precisely that the youth no longer feel heroic in the plan for action that their culture has set up. They don’t believe it empirically true to the problems of their lives and times’.

Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death).

I would be lying to you if I said that ‘PLUMB’ explores anything that hasn’t already been examined or is particularly radical. I simply wanted to write about the unconscious feelings that attack me and many of my closest friends every day.

It’s impossible to write about the modern man without drawing from the experiences I’ve had with the men I know, including myself, and asking questions about what actually drives the masculinity within us. I don’t need to tell anyone that we must encourage men to talk about their feelings. Why can’t a best friend tell me they feel sad about a break-up? Or a family member tell me they feel lonely? Why does doing a High School Musical dance workout make me feel weird? I couldn’t tell you. It’s my hope that perhaps this play might encourage just one person, also feeling similarly hopeless, to talk.

The play is designed to be a complete deconstruction of gendered dialogue and I hope that the gender swap will highlight this; with a male actor playing the dialogue of an older woman, whilst two female actors play the dialogue seemingly reserved for men.

It is unfortunate that we are unable to present the play to you in its entirety, but I hope you nevertheless enjoy what we’ve been working on.

‘PLUMB’ is available to stream on the Durham Student Theatre Youtube channel. The production is sponsored by UltraViolet Theatre Company.