Theatre West

2011

Dec 2010 found Alison Comley, one of Theatre West's Artistic Directors, standing at a market stall in a freezing Berlin selecting 50 random photos. It's a real mish-mash; stiff looking portraits, landscapes, holiday snapshots, happy people, sad people, sick people, hogs....you can see most of them here

Over the next few months we worked with some of Bristol's key supporters of new writing; Bristol Old Vic, Script Space at the Tobacco Factory, Southwest Scriptwriters and the Folk House, on our Picture This project. We threw down the gauntlet to nearly 100 writers to come up with an idea for a play and 10 pages of the script taking a randomly allocated photograph as a starting point. 45 brave souls took up the challenge and May saw us spending a hectic weekend at the Alma hearing them all read. By the time the dust had settled we'd asked nine writers to develop their ideas into finished scripts.


The Darkroom

The Darkroom
by Steve Lambert

"We'll convince him we're the most normal couple in England. Tea on the lawn. What could be more normal than that?"

1949. Austerity. Make do and mend. A nation fed up of going without ...

Faye doesn't know what James did during the war – but she's had to pick up the pieces of a broken man haunted by memories and a terror of the dark.

But one day she finds a 'collection' compiled by her husband's wartime comrade, who ran away one night and never came back.

What secrets will come to light in the Darkroom?


Dorian's Second Life

Dorian's Second Life
by Penny Gunter

Dorian Matthews has counter-phobia. He is pathologically addicted to fear.

He parachutes off buildings and walks along a tightrope-like line illegally suspended between them.

The thing is, when something's pathological you can't really help it, can you? When something's pathological it's not really your fault what happens…

Mechanisms, like that in the image, echo throughout the play. From the mechanical workings of the ratchet used to tighten the tightrope-like line, to the intangible machinery of the internet. From the inescapable blueprint of our DNA, to the inner workings of a twelve year old boy's clarinet.


Raising Kamila

Raising Kamila
by Edson Burton

The mighty Rhine. A tugboat. Home.

African orphan Kamila and Oscar, her mentor, haul loads back and forth and, although the work is hard, they take comfort from making plans for a brighter future together. But when Lukas steps aboard, smouldering tensions ignite and all three characters are driven to reveal extremes of love, fear and desire.

Set against the sumptuous surrounds of the Rhine, the story captures the turmoil at the heart of German society during the interwar years. The tide is turning.


I Remember Green

I Remember Green
by Heather Lister

Deep in a green forest, a father urges his young, blind son across a raging river. A mother watches in horror from the bank.

Over the years, Jim and Ellie's relationship splinters. Accusations fly, along with the crockery. Their son Sam, who cannot see, sees it all.

Offering you poetry, humour, and some serious quarrelling, "I Remember Green" is all about seeing things differently.


Sitting with Thistle

Sitting with Thistle
by Marietta Kirkbride

It's been snowing solidly for two weeks. Mark and Elysé have been staying with their reclusive grandmother waiting for a family reunion that never happened. They've been trapped there for four days. Gran died after two...

Mark and Elysé have not spoken for over a year and as the play unfolds so does the ugliness in their relationship. How absurd does the situation have to get before they start talking? Sometimes people aren't themselves in extreme situations. Sometimes unresolved secrets make us do things we couldn't ever have believed we'd do.


PLAY READINGS

A chance to see script-in-hand performances of the four plays that were shortlisted for Picture This but just pipped to the post.


Donkey Talent

Donkey Talent
by Mark Shand

Flo drags Donkey into her life. She wants him to help resurrect the car wreck in her garage; sticking two fingers to her philandering husband. But Donkey just wants to keep his head down; to continue life with the handbrake on. But is that possible when 'the husband' is your boss, you've got a reputation for having certain physical 'talents', and neighbours are quick to talk?


The Climbers

The Climbers
by William House

Inspired by an old photograph showing a cluttered interior, The Climbers uses the absurdist form to reveal the senselessness of our human predicament. As the two protagonists struggle to cope with one another, temptations beguile them at every turn. Confused and bewildered yet determined to win through they attempt to rise above the mêlée by perfecting the rhythm of life, only to find themselves in deeper trouble.


You're Going to Miss Me When I'm Gone

You're Going to Miss Me When I'm Gone
by James Killick

Imagine the figure in the photograph is the child you've always wanted. Imagine he turns up at your door. Now imagine he's a man, the child of a woman not your wife. Imagine your wife doesn't know. Now imagine that man is sleeping with your wife. Would you want him then? Would you welcome him? Would you miss him when he's gone?


Three Women

Three Women
by Katriel Costello

When war takes men from their women, is it a wrench - or a relief? Who is missing their husband the most, Rita or her sister Camilla? With stomachs made hungry by rationing, they discover a locked cubby-hole and find that Rita's husband Owen has squirreled away a ‘Harvest Festival For One'. But the open door reveals much more than a stack of tinned baked beans…


National Lottery Funded