Student writing is difficult to pull off well. Selling tickets is a hard job even without the play being completely unknown and there can understandably be scepticism around inexperienced playwrights – but ‘New Town’ and the smiles it gave to a full Barron theatre was a wonderful advert for overcoming these difficulties. A warm and funny play that left a smile, it made for a lovely evening out, even if it perhaps didn’t leave a lasting impression.
This semester, directors Montse Picado and Krishna Patel bring Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding to the Barron theatre. I spoke with Krishna to see what she had to say about their upcoming production.
Closer by Patrick Marber is a play about the emotional distance that can occur in relationships and the restless neediness of love, following the interweaving and interrelating lives of four characters.
The Real Thing is not Tom Stoppard at his finest. It meanders, it’s too long, makes its points too loudly, and to be honest by the time the last half of act two rolled around I really had no time for any of the characters. One gets the sense that we’re supposed to find these people charming, but their affluence and pretentious musings on the nature of love just came across as arrogant. But perhaps that’s the point.
It is incredibly difficult to adapt a play out of its native language and culture. You have to inform the audience about thousands of years of customs and context in at most an hour and a half or, more often than not, much less. While the effort by Alberto Micheletti and his team to stage a performance of Rabindranath Tagore’s play Sacrifice was a bold and admirable choice, the production’s inconsistent tone and inability to convey its message effectively hampered the show from excelling.
Blood Brothers felt like a musical without music. Actually, considering the musical version of Blood Brothers ran for over 20 years in London, most people probably know it as a musical. Following the lives of two brothers – twins separated at birth – the play spans the 1960s and 70s in Liverpool, dealing with themes of connection, loss, love, and class. This week’s production in the Byre Theatre, directed by Seb Bridges, did its best to tackle the complexities of a decades-spanning family drama, and in many ways, it succeeded. However, despite a number of quality performances the play was ultimately limited by a lackluster script.
Last week, director Bennett Bonci brought Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to the St. Andrews stage. It’s the 65th Birthday of Big Daddy, the Delta’s biggest cotton-planter, and his family has travelled to the Pollitt family plantation to celebrate. However, unbeknownst to Big Daddy and Big Mama, this is likely to be the patriarch’s last, as he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It seems the news has been hidden from the couple by the rest of their family to spare them tragedy during the party, but as the play goes on, it becomes clear that each family member has their own agenda for Big Daddy’s famed estate that will soon be up for grabs. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof touches on the themes of alcoholism, mendacity, homosexuality, and death in the American south.
Filling the Wednesday and Thursday night slots in the Freshers Drama Festival, ‘Black Comedy’ was a roaring success.
In student drama, next week is a big one, with the St Andrews premiere of Equus, Peter Shaffer’s haunting drama on what is literally our town’s biggest stage, the Byre Theatre. The play, a startling, almost supernatural story of a boy who suddenly blinds six horses in a stable, and the combination of psychological factors that got him there, shows on the 13th and 14th of October. Owl Eyes interviewed the director, Alexander Gillespie, to learn about what it’s like at the helm of this grand play.