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Is HAPpiness cause for concern?

4 November 2011


BAFTA playwright explores the comical cause for the governments £2million a year research survey.

BAFTA award winning playwright, ex- BBC scriptwriter and Research fellow at Bournemouth University John Foster has written comedy play called ‘HAP’, which will be performed at the Winchester this month.

The play ‘HAP’ is partly inspired by the recent publication by the Office for National Statistics of the ten barometers of well being and happiness people in the UK can score, which should influence the shaping of government policy according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

‘HAP’ is being produced by Sabrah Wilson of Doppelganger Productions, a company which has formed to support the work of playwrights and actors, as well as other new writing, staring Nathasha Stokes and  Jon Nicholas, and will be performed in Bournemouth’s Winchester pub from the 14th of November.

Sabrah Wilson said, “I think its very poignant today as we are all obsessed with how we feel and none of us feel that great, and I think that’s interesting as the characters crave to have the opposite of extreme, but what they need is a balance of both, as we cant be really happy all the time.”

The comedy is set in a Doctors surgery where a woman known as 'Hap' comes in one day complaining that there is something wrong with her- she is too happy, and that all she wants is to experience other emotions such as sadness and depression, stating, 'I just want to be miserable like everyone else!'

John says the play was inspired by a friend who, “was a women I knew who made me laugh, laugh at everything, and she was extremely happy, but she got terribly worried about the fact she thought she was very happy so she felt shallow.”

The play taps into the conversational topic that our society is so powerfully bombarded by the news agenda, contradictory messages in the media, books and adverts that we no longer know how we are supposed to feel.

The ex-Holby City and Emmerdale writer continues that “It seems to be a comment on life that we can’t be natural and ourselves and can’t accept ourselves as we are, we have to worry, almost a social condition that we need to be troubled, not the way Hap feels.”

The contemporary topic of the play links to The Office for National Statistics happiness survey the government issued in July to measure the nation's wellbeing for the first time, of which the £2million a year research project will be published in the same month next year.

John also revealed the topical nature behind the inspiration behind the play:

“It ties in with campaigns, action for happiness, and studies for happiness, happiness wellbeing ties into all that idea that the government are concerned about and actions for happiness.”

As a consequence, the lead  character ‘Hap’,  a vivacious and joyful young woman heads to the doctor because she is concerned that she is too happy and that she cannot experience states of mind such as misery and boredom like her peers.

The play is on at The Winchester Pub on the 14th, 20th 21st and 27th of November. You can keep up to date with the play by following @Hap_Play on Twitter and visiting Facebook.

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