Wednesday 19th September to Saturday 22nd September 2007
Produced by Jaspar Utley
Supernova is Bench theatre's festival of new writing for the theatre, showcasing the work of local playwrights over a week of performances, all performed and directed by members of the award-winning Bench Theatre.
After the success of the previous Supernova festivals in 2000, 2003 and 2005, we are delighted to announce that Supernova 4 will take place at Havant Arts Centre in September 2007.
Ted and Rita, a retired couple, live in a flat in a house close to the sea. Rita opens the door to a new neighbour, Ernest Baxter. When Ted hears the man walking above them he is convinced the man is Max Brown, he recognises the walk. Something happened in the past. "He said he'd get me one day." Rita tries to convince Ted that the man is not Max Brown. And when Rita invites the neighbour for tea and biscuits, Ted is put at ease, and the ghost of his worst fears laid to rest.
|The Neighbour||Peter Corrigan|
This play was written in a different life, and very much influenced by Pinter. I loved Donald Pleasance in 'The Caretaker' and wanted to take what is a slightly younger version of the character of Davies and put him in a play.
1885. Blackmoor Asylum. Its latest inmate, a young woman, finds herself alone in a squalid room, subjected to the scientific whims of a sadistic Doctor, terrorised by the staff and haunted by dreams of a mysterious girl who stands in the corner, a figure that only Rebecca can see. With the help of her one and only friend Rebecca seeks to uncover the secret of Blackmoor House, but as the plot unravels she realises this can only end with the loss of her sanity... or her life.
|Doctor Grey||Jaspar Utley|
|The Girl In The Corner||Charlotte Self|
"This play was my attempt to go 'serious' again after the success of my last serious play, the thriller 'Father for Justice' which appeared in Supernova3. I immediately found myself trying to write another thriller with a 'twist' ending, but rather than echo a previous success, I thought I'd use the festival to try my hand at another genre that I have not tackled for the stage and which I couldn't remember the Bench having done before. Therefore this was a deliberately contrived piece to test my own abilities to once more swap out of my comfortable comedy zone and play around with my dark side again. Also, I wanted to see if I could write a play with a strong central female character as I had written for male actors last time."
It is 1930 and a young war veteran arrives unexpectedly at a house in the country looking for his missing identity. One lady tries to help him but another one doesn't - and that one is Jenny.
|Mrs Flynn||Sharman Callam|
The play you'll see tonight is in a room once splendid but now long past it... and the people in it too. But, with the cast and the team and the guys on the spotlights, out of this tattiness can come something otherwise. Fingers crossed.
A new hospital is due to be opened in a few hours, but the place is nowhere near finished. Ward manager Tony and his assistant Gordon try desperately to get everything ready for the visiting Minister for Health. Will Tony's talent for spin get him out of this particular crisis?
|Tony, Ward Manager||Darryl Wakelin|
|Gordon, Assistant||Damon Wakelin|
|Avril, a patient||Jo Wakelin|
|Minister of Health||Sally Hartley|
|Pete, a photographer||Dan Finch|
The inspiration for 'Openings' came from a newspaper cutting I was sent about the opening of a new ward that threatened to go awry, in a hospital in Ireland. How Tony and Gordon got mixed up in it is not clear... it just happened.
Jane and Richard Smith drink coffee in a coffee bar, before Jane has her hair done at her daughter Helen's hairdressers in a new shopping mall. A dosser sits in a shop doorway opposite them, begging. Jane is critical - "They shouldn't allow him in here. There should be rules." When the dosser sits at the next table to them, it's time for Jane to quickly leave. "God, I can smell him from here." The dosser introduces himself to Richard as Thomas Smith. They share the same names. And lots more besides.
|Jane Smith||Sue Dawes|
|Richard Smith||Terry Smyth|
|Dosser (Thomas)||Andrew Caple|
|Directors||Andrew Caple |
I liked the idea of two people sitting behind glass (the coffee house) looking out onto a person in front of glass (the shop window) thus the title. The suburban couple behind glass, and the dosser in front of it. I think there is a thin layer of something between having and not having, winning and losing, success and failure. Sometimes it is just a piece of glass that divides.
'Noir' is the story of a guy and a broad in a difficult situation. They are strangers to each other but have one thing in common - the man they work for. Jerry. The guy is a cleaner - he removes unwanted objects from inconvenient places - is good at his job and has been on Jerry's payroll for many years. The broad borrowed money - and is repaying that money the only way Jerry will accept - through a favour. But not everything sits right - is she really all she seems...
|Dead Guy||Phil Gyngell|
The premise of 'Noir' came to me while watching a film called 'Brick' in which the director had shifted an archetypal film noir plot to an American high school, and done so to great effect.
It is said that goldfish have no short-term memory. Finding themselves in a hospital room with no idea why they are there, Julienne, Reuben and Spaulding are about to find out what that might feel like, and so are you. Surreal, black comedy with distinct echoes of the Theatre of the Absurd, 'Goldfish' is a piece that will make you think, forget, then think again.
|Doctor Forbes||Megan Green|
'Goldfish' was written in about three days. The idea just came to me. I was in my house with a couple of friends when the fuses went and we were plunged into total darkness. Eventually the lights came back on. With all the excitement we had completely forgotten what we were talking about. It occurred to me that this might be what it feels like to lose your memory - and that's where it came from. But because I only had an idea, it took me a while to decide what the characters would be like. I have always enjoyed creating characters and Reuben and Julienne were great fun to do, whilst Spaulding is a slight caricature of a good friend of mine.
Martin and Emma eagerly await the imminent birth of their first child but the Doctors have been warned that due to her high blood pressure Emma must be kept calm at all costs. Which proves to be a little difficult when an unexpected intruder bursts in upon their quiet evening in, and Martin must use all his invention to protect his wife from the truth. A comedy of Indian food, socks and pilates... but not necessarily in that order.
This play was later staged at The Totton Drama Festival in 2008 as Bench Theatre's entry to the first round of The All England Theatre Festival that year.
|Delivery man||Liam Fleming|
Stand and Delivery was actually inspired by a rather morbid story that a work colleague told me. It was one of those wonderful stories full of the awful details about something terrible that should never happen to anyone. Then, right in the middle of the story, was this wonderful moment of black comedy which, I'm ashamed to say, made me laugh out loud. Then I began to think... actually, that would be a fantastic scene in a comedy play, and so I built the rest of the play around that idea. I'm pleased to say that almost nothing else about the play echoes that tragic night.
These plays were staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. Each play was performed twice during the four days of the festival as follows:
Wednesday and Friday:
The Girl In The Corner
Thursday and Saturday:
Stand and Delivery
|Festival Producer||Jaspar Utley|
|Assistant Producers||Mark Wakeman |
|Project co-ordinator||Andrew Caple|
|Stage Manager||John Wilcox|
|Assistant Stage Managers||Steph Chaplen |
|Lighting Design||Robin Hall |
|Lighting Operators||Derek Callam |
|Sound Design||Darryl Wakelin |
|Sound Operators||Derek Callam |
|Programme Design||Derek Callam|
|Press and Publicity||Sue Dawes |
|Poster Design||Nathan Chapman|
|Front of House||Gina Farmer|
Tony and Gordon, senior and junior partners in spin. Ring any bells? No? Well, try this line from Tony: "We have to be practical, not ethical." And there are even hints of the junior partner's future as senior partner. The two characters feature in Openings, a slice of political satire by Doreen Fay that tops the polls in the first of two programmes of new plays being presented by Bench Theatre under the umbrella title Supernova.
Openings is impeccably short and sharp, well acted by Darryl and Damon Wakelin and directed with a sure touch by Pete Woodward. Otherwise the first programme tends towards menace, nightmare and fragile minds.
The Neighbour, a Pinterish piece by Roger Goldsmith, is less economical in the writing than in the acting of David Penrose, Ingrid Corrigan and Peter Corrigan. The Girl in the Corner written by Mark Wakeman and featuring an accomplished central performance by Sian Green, is like a whirlpool of despair.
Jenny by John Scadding, is about a young war veteran's search for his identity but lacks a clear identity of its own. This first Supernova programme will be repeated tonight and the second can be seen tomorrow. All the plays are by writers form Hampshire and West Sussex including Bench members.
The News, 20th September 2007