2013

Listed in order, just scroll down to find them – The Building / The Lover & Celebration / How To Disappear Completely / Far Away / Seven Jewish Children

For New Venture’s July production we turned the entire theatre into a block of apartments. ‘The Building’ was a promenade piece, where the audience were conducted in small groups around various locations over our two floors, to see events in the lives of a number of the residents of ‘New Venture Properties’.

Sarah Davies devised and directed ‘The Building’, and she achieved a remarkable result, dressing different areas just enough to suggest a room, or a garden, without the normal use of fixed stage scenery flats.

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June’s NVT offering was a double bill of two Pinter plays – ‘Celebration’ and ‘The Lover’ The first features a very boozy dinner in a restaurant, that doesn’t turn out quite how the diners at the next table expected . . .

‘The Lover’, by contrast, takes place in a couple’s suburban living room, where the wife may – or may not – be having an affair. Kevin Moore and Tim McQuillan Wright got some powerful, and very funny, performances from their actors.

There was a minimal change of scene between the two parts, involving mainly the removal of the restaurant tables, and it was an interesting challenge to use the same lighting rig to create a completely different atmosphere for the second half.

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Yep – being dead is a pretty good way to practice ‘How To Disappear Completely’, our March production, directed by Ian Black. Fin Kennedy’s play is about a man who’s had enough of his corporate life and tries to escape. Part of the action takes place in a cemetery – an interesting challenge!

As well as office locations, We had to create some disco scenes, too – is there no end to our talents?

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In January we staged a double-bill of two Caryl Churchill plays – ‘Far Away’ and ‘Seven Jewish Children’. Tamsin had wanted to direct a full production of ‘Far Away’ since we saw a rehearsed reading of it at The Royal Court.

It’s a strange piece, set in a very dystopian future and open to a variety of interpretations, and Tamsin achieved a real feeling of unsettling menace from her cast. (you can read my personal assessment ‘Far Away’ in the ‘Analyses’ page of my theatre writing at http://www.stratmastoris.wordpress.com).

I’d wanted to direct Caryl Churchill’s ‘Seven Jewish Children’ since I first read it. But it’s very short – less than fifteen minutes overall – so when Tamsin decided to do ‘Far Away’ it seemed a perfect opportunity to bring this stunning play to the NVT. It’s a series of monologues, delivered by an adult to a small child, in locations starting in occupied Europe during The Holocaust and taking in the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, and the subsequent oppression of the Palestinian people. The author states that the speakers can be of either gender, but at the auditions I was presented with a group of wonderfully talented female actors and it suddenly became obvious that the thing should be done like The Chorus in a Greek tragedy.

So here they are, seven actors all in black. For each speech, the actor stepped forward into a pool of light. The final monologue was broken up and distributed among all seven.

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