TFTV Spotlight: Vernon God Little

tftvOften overlooked due to its position on Heslington East, TFTV Theatre Society is one of the most exciting, growing societies on campus. With its multi-million pound building and large budgets the shows are getting increasingly ambitious, innovative and state-of-the-art with every term. There is a constant drive to deliver bigger and better productions and a relentless focus on delivering quality drama.

With only two shows a year the competition is fierce but the committee are clearly striving to bring the most challenging and diverse contemporary theatre to TFTV. Productions are acclaimed and aim to showcase the variety of talent on offer in York.

With the humble beginnings of Churchill’s Cloud Nine, Angelis’ disturbingly watchable Wild East, to last year’s sell-out performance of McDonagh’s The Pillowman, TFTV Theatre Soc has arguably created some of the best theatre our university has to offer.

TFTV’s next production isVernon God Little. Originally a novel by DBC Pierre, Tanya Ronder’s adaptation was first brought to the stage by the National Theatre’s Rufus Norris at the Young Vic. This stunning drama follows the victimised Vernon, wrongly accused of being an accessory to a school shooting in a fictional Texas town. It promises to be one of the
highlights of the university’s diverse theatrical calendar.
We spoke to the Director, Connor Abbott, to find out more about the play:

What’s the play about in essence?
“It’s about a lot of things really. I first became interested in it because it’s essentially about a main character that has no control over his destiny. He is never in the engine room of the play. Whilst all the other characters are used as a device to bring about his downfall, a 15 year old is accused of a school shooting and no one listens to his cries of innocence.”

Why should we come and see it?
“As a team we felt that productions within TFTV could be more ambitious and we wanted to do something that felt very different from anything on campus. Vernon is a fast-paced irreverent comedy that is deeply satirical of modern America. At the same time there’s a real depth to the story; it’s not just spinning tops. It is not only hopefully entertaining, it is also extremely affecting.”

What are the main challenges you face as a Director?
“The biggest challenge of this is how crazy it is. It’s insane. It’s good to embrace the anarchy, it’s how far you push it and the sense of judgement that is quite hard. For example we have sofas that turn into cars, TV’s made of wooden frames, and a classic country music soundtrack. The challenge is trying to use madness in the right way to tell the story clearly and effectively.”

Do you have a favourite line from the play?
“Near the very end of the play; “Son, you heard the true way to mourn the dead? Take care of the living, it’s all you have” – Lasalle.”

Vernon God Little plays from 6-8 February in TFTV’s Black Box – tickets are now available at