Saturday, 25 July 2009

After the Showcase

The showcase is over, and what do we think? The first man to quote is our producer, Tim Gambrell who sent the following email the next morning:

"I would like to thank you very much for all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into creating an excellent Showcase last night. From the writers who wrote and the directors who directed to the actors who acted and the front of house ladies who front of housed, you all gave a great deal and the results were clear to a very large and satisfied audience.

I feel it was a very fitting way to close P-P for the summer and I hope you all feel, despite the limitations under which we have to work, that the end result was well worth it".

Exactimundo! I was slightly startled to get this email. Hadn't Tim been the one to thank the most? He'd produced it, and keeping all these egos and personalities and three different pieces all shipshape can't have been easy. I'd have thought it would have been easier to produce a real show. We had an hour and a half get in, remember, for three pieces.

So thank you, Tim!

What about the rest? Well, one of the pieces was mine, Love Me Backwards, so I'll write about that. I was thinking about this yesterday, and I've had a production and a number of readings over the years, but I'd say this was the best representation of my stuff I've ever seen. I didn't feel like I had to apologise for things I didn't believe in, and I didn't feel that any of the changes reduced it. All the direction improved it.

Yes, it was a very hot night, and turning on the fans at the interval did mean that some at the back didn't hear every single word. Nonetheless, I am very grateful to P-P for making this possible, and for Jennie Scott who directed it, and for Nick and Paula who acted.

1 comment:

Peter Thompson said...

P-P’s Summer Showcase proved very successful. A few opening words from Maurice Gran made a clear connection between trying out scripts at our Monday night meetings and getting them before the public (in Maurice’s case full houses at the Savoy Theatre from 23 July!). The three pieces that followed demonstrated the professional finish which P-P writers can achieve with the help of our wonderful actors.
First up was Dylan Davies’s TV sit-com COLIN DICKER about an 11 year old child played by one of our senior actors, Silas Hawkins. This unlikely casting is explained by a fatal accident in which two people called Colin Dicker are involved. The body of the older Colin dies but, with the sort of mess-up that happens so often in life, his soul survives in the body of Colin, the child. The premise, brilliantly established in about 10 seconds, gave us 15 minutes of laughter as Silas is turned back by the Pearly Gates Mafiosi (played with spirit by Panny and Amr) and has to go to school and fight Stephen Mullens the playground bully (unsuccessfully). His pluck wins him pursuit by lovely schoolgirl Lexy Howe - What is it about women in uniform? - who is determined to play on his weakness (craving for alcohol) while he develops impure thoughts on the comfortable bosom of his birth mother, Nicole Forbes. Beautifully directed by Amber Homes: an excellent start.
The second offering was WALKING ON WATER by Kara May, a sinister play about a couple who return to a deserted beach on the anniversary of their first meeting and are joined by a young man and a girl whom they invite to share their picnic. The young people say they are very envious of the evident happiness of the older couple and would like to learn from them; and this is when elements of menace and mystery creep in. Stunning performances by Daniel and Denise as the married couple and by Napoleon and Sherill as the youngsters. A good set and props, well directed by Dimitri Devdariani. A number of Kara’s students were in the audience and she will be pleased to know that they thought hers was the best of the three plays.
Finally LOVE ME BACKWARDS by Peter Briffa tells the story of a married man’s obsessive desire for a young prostitute: Nick Ewans and Paula Gilbert gave convincing performances, carefully directed by Jennie Scott. The play starts at the end, when the girl is dead and works back, scene by scene, to how it all started. Kara’s students thought the play was a typical male fantasy(!) but hung in with the story and enjoyed the cleverness of telling it backwards, so as to reveal the origins of the various deceptions they played on each other. There was, however, some disappointment that this intimate play had to be acted script in hand.
So ended a very entertaining evening of new writing and great acting, produced without a hitch by the talented Tim Gambrell. Well done, Tim.