Interview: Luke Wright on The Remains of Logan Dankworth, ‘It’s one of the best things I’ve done in 25 years.’

by Jim Keaveney

Luke Wright. Photo: Andrew Florides
I’m talking to Luke Wright, the poet, theatre maker and broadcaster, part-way through the tour for the final part of his trilogy of verse plays which look at certain political events through what he describes as “the lens of other personal relationships”. The first was about Blairism and class in the 90s, the second was about the 1987 general election and the left in the 80’s, and the third, The Remains of Logan Dankworth, is about Brexit.
“It’s about a marriage breaking up and what happens when people who used to be on the same side, find themselves on opposing sides of the debate and how trust breaks down,” Wright says. “The couple involved don’t fall out over Brexit, they fall out over something else; she wants to move and he wants to stay in London.”
The Logan Dankworth of the title is a political journalist who is “right in the fray of this historic landmark event” but is balancing what is going on in the world with what is going on closer to home. Despite the events that give the play its context, Wright says that it’s still “mainly a story of two people, because I think we are more interested in people…I think we are more interested in the personal.”
He’s using the couple and their personal story to talk about the bigger political issues that surround them, should the audience choose to make that link. “You could just look at it as a story about two people who used to love each other, struggling to cope with not loving each other. And that, in itself, is a good story,” he adds.
Originally debuted in 2019, the play has remained (almost) unchanged since, “I’ve added one line in the last scene,” Wright says. It’s a testament to the play’s power and Wright’s craftwork. “It’s a very, very recent historical piece,” he points out. “I think the calls I made were right. Things have gone on since; the only difference is, obviously, the pandemic, but I don’t really think the pandemic’s massively changed our political discourse… I didn’t think anything needed to change. We still told this story accurately.”
Luke Wright in The Remains of Logan Dankworth. Photo: Andrew Florides
And is this the end of the story, I ask? Given that it’s being described as the third part of a trilogy, it feels like a line is being drawn under the story. Could he be tempted to continue or is there something else he has planned? “It’s just been sort of stuck in my mind that I would do three,” he says, adding; “which seems like a good number.”
It might not be completely the end. “It’s not that I’m not going to write any more plays but it’d be quite nice to sort of try doing something completely different next time, but I should imagine, everything I write will have a political-slash-satirical element, as well as a personal story, and it’ll be funny but also sad.”
What he has in his sights next is something quite different, though. “The next big project I’ll be working on is a novel.” His yearly shows and poetry will continue while he develops that work, he says, “but I’d like to take on that challenge, really.”
He has one other goal in mind, which threads through whatever he is doing, whether it’s poetry, verse plays, novels or anything else. “What I want is the freedom to be able to make the work that I want to make, as and when I want to make it. So that’s always just the goal.”
I ask what success looks like to him, given his, it’s fair to say, extensive list of achievements;  touring his own shows nationally, playing festivals, curating the Poetry Arena at Latitude, playing with John Cooper Clarke, working with BBC Radio 4… the list goes on. He reflects that “the best achievements are when you write something that you think is really good, and you’re proud of it.”
That sense of humbleness comes in too when I ask how he might describe the show to someone considering buying a ticket for the tour.  “I need to make myself better at promoting it because I go, ‘oh I don’t know, some people might like it!’” he laughs, before reflecting a little on the play. “It sounds beautiful and it pins you to your seat… it’s one of the best things I’ve done in 25 years.”
Wright’s tour of The Remains of Logan Dankworth continues nationally until July. For full dates visit his website.