February 12th to February 15th 2014
Produced by Thomas Hall
It is now more than 12 years since Bench theatre launched an ambitious one-act play competition aimed at promoting local playwrights and displaying the fruits of their labours on our stage, in a week-long festival - Supernova.
Supernova 6 took place in February 2014 at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre. Nine brand new works were performed twice over the space of a week, each directed and performed by our award-winning membership.
Helen's dinner with boyfriend Freddy is interrupted by an unexpected and unwelcome visitor. She struggles to cope with him, while trying to concentrate on the important question Freddy is asking her.
The characters of Helen and Stephen presented themselves to me first - I find that my strongest characters won't leave me alone until I've written them into something. I've always loved the elegant ease and wit of Noel Coward, so I developed this setting and story as it was a great opportunity for me to try and emulate that atmosphere in today's setting.
Toby Maitland is retired but claims to be busy from Monday to Friday. It is only at the week-end that he can indulge in his unusual hobby...
I heard years ago of a research scientist at a government laboratory who behaved conventionally during the working week but indulged himself on Saturdays.
Isabel is sitting in a cafe trying to read a book, Dan is deliberately posing at his local swimming pool and Trevor is entertaining tourists in Covent Garden. Little do they know that their lives are never going to be the same again.
I was interested in writing a play where a strong central character never appears. The audience must learn about him through the eyes of others. I hope Triptych sparks the imagination so that the audience can created there own Benedict St. John.
Sense and Sensibleness is the kind of play Jane Austen might have written when under the influence of certain hallucinogenic herb teas. In the play, heroine Amber Vertigris despairs of ever finding a man to match her intelligence, wit and feminine wiles. Could Clayton Wensleydale be the man that finally tames her or is she destined to be left on the shelf with the candles, the tin of Spam and the high energy light bulbs?
|Mrs Vertigris||Dena Hare|
Romantic literature, from the sublime (Jane Austen) to the ridiculous (Barbara Cartland), never goes out of fashion, and is ripe for parody. As with most of my comedies, Sense and Sensibleness has been written over decades, is constantly updated and will never be finished. It's inspiration is lost in the mists of time i.e. I've forgotten.
A hotel by the sea. A couple in love. Trying to run from their past. But there are some things that you can't escape from..
Earlier this year I was roped into writing a script for a student film about two gangsters, an older man and his youthful apprentice on a bungled hit. At one point in the script the older man narrates a story about an ill fated love affair. The film was ultimately never made but those few lines about the man's past stuck with me and I decided to turn those few sentences into a whole play instead. If the film had been made I'd have probably never bothered. Part of me is now glad that it wasn't.
It's Tara's wedding day. She's about to be married to the most wonderful man in the world and just as she's heading to the altar her best friend Martin accidentally lets slip a secret that causes her to rethink everything. A romantic comedy for the perpetually indecisive. Possibly. But it might not be. Or is it?
I've been Best Man at five Weddings and I've always had this idea to write a comedy about the comedy misadventures of a best man and thought now was the time. To start I sat down and started writing about the bride, intending my best man hero to arrive a page or so later. Instead I carried on writing about the bride and the play turned into something completely different. The Best Man never even makes it into the script! One of the easiest scripts I've ever produced, it fell out over the course of one day and I hardly had to change a word afterwards. If only they were all this easy!
An out of work actor takes a job as a department store Father Christmas, thinking it's easy money. But someone is going to walk through those doors that will turn his life upside down. A girl with the darkest secret..
In 1995 upon leaving university and in need of gainful employment I took a job for one month as the Merdian Centre's Father Christmas. It was an amazing, hilarious, heartbreaking, frightening experience. I'd write a play about it but nobody would believe it. But I thought it was a good setting for a script and originally thought to write a comedy but that was the lazy option so instead I opted to challenge myself and produce one of my 'Experiments' instead. The bit about the Swedish Child is based on true events. Everything else is not.
Grieves, Plum and Jonjo have had enough. Max has something they want and they have come to get it. Three against one, what could possibly go wrong?
I was in the middle of writing a longer piece and the worst thing happened - I got stuck. I opened a new project and just started writing the first thing I could think of, no definite plot just a place and characters. It was an exercise in playing with pace and tension, something on the side. I was trying to get myself unstuck and ended up with a completely new play. Plays are very strange things... sometimes they form over time, others just jump out at you and scream like they have been hiding in the darkest corner of your mind, biding their time waiting for their moment.
Remember Paris - a tale of passion, pride and pain. Or is it?
|1st Woman||Megan Green|
|2nd Woman||Sue Dawes|
The germ of the idea for Remember Paris actually came to me during the last Supernova Festival, specifically during the tech run!
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:
Sense and Sensibleness
Thursday and Saturday:
|Festival Producer||Thomas Hall|
|Stage Manager||Thomas Hall|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Di Coates|
|Lighting Design||Phil Hanley|
|Lighting Operators||Robin Hall |
|Sound Design||Jacquie Penrose|
|Sound Operators||Paul Millington |
|Programme Design||Derek Callam|
|Props Coordinator||Jaspar Utley|
|Poster Design||Pete Woodward|
|Front of House||David Penrose|
The multi-award winning Bench Theatre group are currently performing Supernova VI a debut festival of nine one act plays in two alternating programmes, providing a wonderful opportunity for not only professional writers but first-timers too. With nearly 100 submissions from a wide variety of playwrights, this year having dropped the local only restriction, an eclectic mix of 9 were finally chosen to have their one act dramas performed for the very first time.
On the opening night, first up was "Triptych" by Edwin Preece. A highly imaginative concept that drew three people together though the central connecting character remained concealed. Strong performances from this trio with Sophie Hoolihan giving an emotional portrayal of the vulnerable Isabel, seduced, manipulated and controlled by the unseen artist.
This was followed by the strongest performance of the night "Sense and Sensibleness" by Peter Barrett. Retiring in 2007 to write full time Barrett has written 36 short stories for the Interact Reading Service. This comical parody sees heroine Amber despair of ever finding an eligible husband. Jessie Wilson superbly delivers and is admirably supported by would-be suitors Mark Wakeman (Clayton Wensleydale) and Dan Finch (Edgar).
Completing the first half of the evening another entertaining drama "Spirited2 penned by Corinne Foster, a prolific writer who wrote her first book aged 12!. Again admirably performed by Sarah Parnell (Helen) and David Penrose (Stephen).
Following the interval "Toby's Pastime" by Phillip Gething and "Choices" by Mark Wakeman. Mark of course is a stalwart member of Bench, not only was he performing in 3 plays but had also written 3 of them!
The second performance selects storylines as diverse as passion and romantic comedy to the experiences of a department store Santa Claus and a new play by Bench member Chris Vanstone.
This was an exciting opportunity for both writers and performers alike as these premieres were showcased to a large and supportive audience.
Remotegoat, 13th February 2014