Escape? (April 2010)

EscapeA Man Without a Name by David Shellan

Fumed Oak by Noel Coward


It began as a development opportunity – for two people to practise their skills as directors – and ended as a most memorable community experience!

From the ten who travelled together on the Autumn workshop programme the two who each agreed to direct a one-act play were not at all the ones we expected. One had had the courage to volunteer for the workshop; the other had accepted her invitation despite exams and her 16 years! Their personal styles revealed a fascinating contrast and their brave choice of plays were right ‘out of the blue’. And yet the total production had links and contrasts that almost suggested some overseeing Intelligence!

As if the plays weren’t a sufficient challenge in themselves one director selected two co-pupils of contrasting build and the other a ’30s stage-set of testing construction. The Production team was both generous and efficient, and, importantly, everyone involved seemed to be enjoying themselves – at least until an elusive line or two! Even then a ‘novice’ prompter saved the day – and discovered a talented scene painter!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable ‘village’ entertainment that revealed quite surprising depths of meaning in both plays. Later enthusiastic comments confirmed the real pleasure felt by those who came to the show. We were fortunate in seeing three genuinely talented youngsters, a new multi-layered leading lady, and more familiar faces excelling in roles far removed from their previous ‘comfort zones’ – one, I believe, has never performed with such depth and sensitivity. It was the ‘Players’ at their best – and it was only for practice…!

Peter Grainger