George and Nir are a real-life couple and co-artistic directors of the UK-based theatre company Ad Infinitum. This June, they are making their Asia debut with the award-winning show No Kids, a staged discussion of the couple’s questions related to having children, from adoption to surrogacy, co-parenting and the environmental impact of childbirth. Set to a lively Madonna soundtrack and named Best of Edinburgh Fringe 2018, be prepared to laugh, cry and ponder in this energetic and provoking production.
Our editor, Timothy, spoke with the co-directors to ask, ‘kids…or no kids?’
My husband John and I have a lot in common with you, George and Nir! We’re also at the point in our lives where so many friends are having babies. What used to be boozy weekends with friends have turned into baby showers and kid birthday parties, so that naturally has us also asking if we should we go out of our way to have kids.
How did you come up with the theme of the show?
Nir: We are not only the co-artistic directors of our company, Ad Infinitum, we’re also a married couple. For years I have talked about wanting to have children, and for years we discussed it – but George always assumed it would never happen. But a lot has changed, and laws have changed, and so have we. So, two years ago when I not only wanted to discuss having kids, but said, “why don’t we make a show about whether we should have kids or not…?” George had his apprehensions, but it was also exciting.
Recently, there’s been issues in Hong Kong about visibility and representation of gay couples. Why is it important to have a same-sex couple lead this show?
George and Nir: The fact that this question – why is it important to have a gay couple lead this show – still needs to be asked is exactly why it is important. Visibility of LGBTQIA people and families is key to real change. People are afraid of what they don’t know. Hate is a product of fear. There’s nothing to fear about two people loving each other and creating a life, a home and a family together. We are very happy to hear that this is being discussed in Hong Kong. Living in the UK we are very privileged as LGBTQIA people – we enjoy equality. But the fact that in many parts of the world in 2019 people still need to hide, feel ashamed, suffer abuse and even worse is devastating and incomprehensible to us.
No Kids is all about the idea of parenting in general and gay-parenting specifically. Having children as a same-sex couple is a complex and lengthy procedure that requires a lot of thought and consideration. We are using that fact as a vehicle to discuss parenting in the wider context. As a society, should we have children at a time when overpopulation is getting out of hand and scientists are saying our planet wouldn’t be able to sustain the current rate of population growth?
My husband, John, and I also work together, which surprises a lot of couples. What is it like working on the show together with your partner? Do you think it’s helped or hurt with your question about having kids?
George and Nir: Making No Kids has been a real challenge for us. We knew it would be when we decided to go for it but it was too important to give up on, so we went for it. We have been running our company together for over ten years but we usually take turns leading on projects. We are both “ideas people”, so when we make something together it requires us both to compromise which as artists isn’t something we enjoy doing…
Having said that, making No Kids was also wonderful on many levels and we have grown closer and matured as individuals and as a couple. We have also gained tons of knowledge about the ins and outs of having children as a gay couple and we feel much better equipped to make the decision.
‘No Kids’ is part of ArtisTree Selects: Theatre Bites, which offers five irresistible and bite-sized British plays presented in collaboration with Lindsey McAlister, founder of Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation (HKYAF), and Tony Awards-winning producer Brian Zeilinger.
Find out more about What’s On at Tai Koo here.