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Daf James is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, composer and performer working across theatre, radio television and film. He is the brains behind the translation and adaptation of this script (which began its life in French - sacre bleu)!

Here, Daf shares his cultural inspirations from Foucault to Jake Gyllenhaal...


Angels in America by Tony Kushner. Probably the play that's had the greatest influence on me as an artist. Its combination of wit, politics and magic realism; its doubleness, and how it combines the epic with the mundane, taught me the possibilities of what theatre could be.


The Leftovers. I usually like my TV dramas to have a few jokes, and possibly a song! It always amazes me how humourless so much drama is: as if we don’t laugh in the darkest of situations. I often ugly cry between laughing myself silly at wakes. I’m a massive fan of Russell T. Davies and Sally Wainwright – they know how to write light and shade. Having said that, The Leftovers is one of the few serious dramas I adore. When you start with the concept that 2 per cent of the population disappear in a rapture-like event, you can pretty much go anywhere after that. And this series does. It goes to the most surreal, extreme, beautiful places, and manages to say more about existential angst and the human condition than any other TV drama I know. It speaks of mystery and miracles, without ever trying to solve them.

Theatre production

Ivo Van Hove's A View from the Bridge …and I didn’t even see this in a theatre. I saw it in the cinema. But this production made me realise what an extraordinary playwright Miller was – his craft is masterful – and it did something astounding with his subtext. When it ended my legs were so numb, I couldn’t actually get up. I’d never experienced that before, or since. It’s one of the few times I've experienced true catharsis in theatre.


On the Red Hill by Mike Parker. Part memoir, part gay social history, part ode to nature. It takes four elements, four seasons, four compass points and four lives as its structure, and crafts the narrative in a way that’s deeply moving, informative, and spiritually healing. I’m adapting this into a film at the moment. Books rarely speak to me in the way this one does; but also, the creative possibilities of adaptation here are endless because the text is so rich and multi-layered.


Donnie Darko, It's a Wonderful Life, Pride, Y Dyn Nath Ddwyn y Dolig. Time travel, community, redemption, queerness, Christmas. Make of that what you will. But I'm a sucker for redemption. And Christmas. And Jake Gyllenhaal in a hoodie.


I saw Taylor Mac perform at the Edinburgh Festival, 2006. Judy (Taylor Mac’s pronoun is judy; judy’s gender is ‘performer’: someone whose gender constantly changes) sang a song called ‘The Palace of the End’. It imagines an encounter between Lynne Cheney (wife of Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States) and Saddam Hussein, both of whom have written romance novels. As Taylor Mac says: ‘you can’t make this shit up’. Although he does make some shit up. But it isn’t shit. When Lynne Cheney and Saddam Hussein’s eyes meet as he’s being executed, it’s one of the most complex, deeply empathic and humane moments of theatre I’ve ever encountered.


Rufus Wainwright and Caryl Parry Jones. Both tremendous melody-makers, both wordsmiths and fantastic show-people. One gay. One Welsh. I like to imagine that I am their creative love child, dancing in their shadows.


Mewn Dau Gae by Waldo and Dychwelyd by T.H. Parry Williams. These poems are the work of masters of their craft and, like The Leftovers, both speak to the great mysteries of life too. One of the greatest pains/joy of speaking Welsh is that it’s often difficult to communicate the profundity and skill of such poems in translation. But then we can’t ever understand the mysteries of life either, so perhaps that frustration/gap is entirely fitting. I’d love to be at a dinner party with Waldo Williams, T.H. Parry-Williams, Melquiot and Mathilde (the director of Petula), for good measure. I reckon the chat would be pretty awesome.

Cultural Theorist

My love affair with France extends beyond Eurocamping holidays with my family and taking French GCSE. To some people, this category – cultural theorist – might make me sound like a wa**er. But a chance encounter when I was a student with a book called Foucault and Queer Theory by Tamsin Spargo, led me to French theorist Foucault’s The History of Sexuality and, from there, the work of Judith Butler. And that changed my life. Genuinely. It was the beginning of my journey in understanding how our identities are a product of language, and how sexuality and gender are something other than concrete, essentialised constructs.

So, French texts in translation are something very close to my heart!