Theatre West

2009

2009 was an exciting year for us. In February a fantastic weekend of playreadings - a joint project with Bristol Old Vic Writers Room - resulted in two of the plays, My Green Your Grey by Sarah Cuddon and Muscle by Tom Wainwright, being produced by Bristol Old Vic in association with Theatre West in early September.

Another joint project saw us working with SouthWest Scriptwriters to develop scripts. After plenty of readings, feedback sessions and re-writes, we finally selected Steve Lambert's Showing the Monster, but the season kicks off with script in hand performances of the other three shortlisted plays.

We commissioned Jimmy Whiteaker and Alex Boyt, who both had 15 minute scripts produced by Theatre West in 2008, to each develop an hour long play. Nostalgia and Play Time were opportunities to hear two exciting new voices.

The season opened with White Lights and was a welcome return to the Alma from oldtimer Mike Akers, whose play Holding Hands with Angels was the first ever production in the theatre.


Blavatskyís Tower

Three hundred feet in the air, the Blavatskys live their lives with their heads firmly stuck in the clouds. Whilst Dada sees angels all around, Roland endlessly watches soaps and Ingrid gardens on the roof.

Moira Buffini takes dysfunctionality to a whole new level with the Blavatskys who choose to shun the modern world and live their lives at the top of the tower block built by their tyrannical father architect and visionary, Hector. Although blind and bed ridden, he rules his odd little brood with an iron fist.

Sanity enters in the form of an outsider, or one of "the crushed" as they refer to the rest of civilisation. But is letting light into the darkness always a good thing?


A playreading of 'State'
by Virginia Bergin

An allegorical, darkly comic, sci-fi eco-tragedy.

Karen, an art teacher from Milton Keynes, wakes to find herself dressed as a clown in the middle of the South American jungle - with a tiger, a spirit and a cute mouse for company. This is no fancy dress party; this is the state we're in.

'Like Beckett on acid' - Gerard Cooke, actor.


A playreading of 'The Other Reader'
by Andrew Graham

Connections made, connections missed. A chance meeting in a pub reveals the erotic beginnings of a fledgling relationship. But an opportunity seized is soon in jeopardy. And twenty years on, the true consequences of a failure of nerve become apparent.

Is it too late to make amends?

The Other Reader looks at the fragile nature of passion and the achingly human forces that can destroy it.


A playreading of 'Genesis'
by Heather Lister

How far is a mother responsible for what her son has become?

What do you do when someone you love does something unforgivable?

How can a family survive in a culture of drugs and violence?

Genesis is a single mother from Philadelphia with an estranged daughter and a son on Death Row for shooting a man in the street.

Is it too late to bring the family together and save her son's life?


White Lights

White Lights
by Mike Akers

The downturn takes its toll on a small supermarket chain and area management resort to desperate measures, but the Day of the Dead promotion brings unexpected visitors through the automatic doors.

For checkout operative Holly and store manager Martin the shift from hell is about to change their lives forever. Mike Akers' comedy brings a whole new meaning to the phrase retail therapy.


Nostalgia

Nostalgia
by Jimmy Whiteaker

A political satire that explores ideas of nation, identity, cruelty, and humanity, Nostalgia contorts and compresses twentieth and twenty first century Britain into an image of absurd glee and ordinary cruelty. In the world of Nostalgia you holiday as Pol Pot, blow up children with semtex and sugared almonds, are terrified of coughs and sneezes, and feel swamped with guilt when you tread on a snail. It is a hideous, violently funny, and uncanny place. Come.


Showing the Monster

Showing the Monster
by Steve Lambert

It's 1968 and theatre censorship is over. So anything goes - right?

When a famous actor gets cold feet about a gay kiss in a new play, the producer and director just want to keep him happy. But his co-star threatens to quit if the kiss is cut. Once the gloves are off, itís easy to shock but hard to be honest - on stage and in the real world.


Play Time

Play Time
by Alex Boyt

Spike has a new idea for a play.

It's dangerous. It's crazy. It's a theatrical stunt. And it's going to put everyone involved at risk. On purpose.

Through a series of calculated choices, a controversial writer pits the most important women in his life against one another in a play destined to destroy itself. What he isn't expecting is to be played back in return...

Alex Boyt's ambitious and challenging new work explores our desire for control, our need for self-worth and the flimsy divide between truth and artifice.


After the Accident

After the Accident
by Julian Armitstead

The house was where they were going to be happy: Petra, Jimmy and little Charley. Until Leon broke through the security gates, and took their happiness with him. Four years later they have the chance to meet face to face, in a final attempt to redeem something from the shared wreckage of their lives.

'After the Accident' is a dramatic exploration of the Restorative Justice process in the context of traumatic bereavement. It was the winner of last year's Amnesty International UK / iceandfire 'Protect the Human competition', and has been commissioned by BBC Radio 4.