On Stage: Features

Stalked by Flowers comes into bloom

Beach Hut Theatre Company is presenting Alison Watt’s latest play, a comedy thriller called Stalked by Flowers, as part of Coastival’s Rather Splendid Day Out on Saturday 11 February, and for a week’s run later in the month.

 

With special filmed sections created by Paul Nash and a live music score performed by film composer John Pattison, Stalked by Flowers should be an exciting multimedia event.

 

A quick rundown of the plot: it seems to be family business as usual at Festive Flowers for busy mum, Heather, and her shy daughter, Iris, as they prepare for Valentine’s Day. But out of the blue, after years of absence, Heather’s other daughter Holly pays a visit. Fresh from her high-powered marketing success, and on her way to an even better paid job in Manchester, prodigal city-girl Holly has decided to return to hometown roots to recharge batteries for a while. But what Holly doesn’t tell is that she’s hiding a secret. And when a handsome, male stranger also arrives in the family-run shop, suddenly life lurches into the danger zone.

 

This is Beach Hut’s second appearance at Coastival. Last year the company presented its comedy Love, When It’s Brass. The play, which was a wedding comedy dealing with debt, was performed in three sections over two days at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, The Palm Court Hotel and in The Town Hall Gardens.

 

Writer and director Alison Watt says: ‘ It was really exciting performing at Coastival last year. We received a very warm response even though the actors and audiences had to brave the chill February weather for the outdoor sections. This year I wanted to move away from farce and write a thriller with a stronger focus on story. Supported by Scarborough Police and the Cambridge Centre with research, I wanted to introduce more serious elements by looking at dependency issues as well as generating laughter.’

 

Performances take place in the Concert Room at Scarborough Library, where Beach Hut Theatre Company has been performing regularly since 2007. The dates and times of the performances are:

 

Stalked by Flowers at Coastival’s Rather Splendid Day Out

Saturday 11, at 1pm

Other shows:

Wednesday 15, Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 February at 7.30pm

Not suitable for under 15s

 

Tickets cost £9.00 full price and £7.00 concessions.

Tickets for all shows available from Scarborough Tourist Information Centre in the Brunswick Shopping Centre. Telephone number: 01723 372075.

 

Tickets are also available online from www.wegottickets.com/BeachHutTheatre

 

 

Getting it write: Roger Osborne

 Write about the contemporary world and you soon find that life really does imitate art. I had finished the third draft of The Art of Persuasion, a play set in the murky world of high-level politics and journalism, when the Murdoch phone-hacking scandal erupted. Aaargh! Don’t panic, re-write a few lines and hope that nothing else happens before opening night.

 

I always wanted to write plays but never quite knew how to do it. That sounds daft, but I had a problem that is common to many would-be dramatists. I would invent a situation, put some people in a room, and then have great fun inventing dialogue. Some of it was good, some indifferent, but I always just let it go wherever it would – and of course it ended up nowhere, just in my bottom drawer.

 

The SJT WriteStuff course drummed in the need for two things: character and structure. Before you start writing dialogue you need to know who your characters are: how they speak, where they come from, their hopes, desires, fears. And you need to know exactly where the play is going. I guess this varies from one writer to another but in my case I wrote a detailed description of every scene. Do all that background work first, and the dialogue writing (which comes at the end) is a joy. It’s not a bad idea to follow Alan Ayckbourn’s rule of thumb: tell the story with the minimum number of actors and scenes and with the shortest lapse of time.

 

I have had the benefit of being coached at every stage by SJT artistic director Chris Monks. Not only that, but the script has been worked on by Chris and two sets of actors who have made hundreds of suggestions, and pointed out errors and inconsistencies. All that before they even begin rehearsals.

 

That has taught me something else: the SJT earns its world-class reputation by a meticulous attention to detail and an extraordinary level of professionalism. We have a truly great theatre in our town; I hope The Art of Persuasion will help to show that we deserve it.

Roger Osborne

The Art of Persuasion runs at the SJT on 28 and 29 October. Details from www.sjt.uk.com

A living memento: Monica Ross

The ripples from a terrible event can spread in unexpected ways, as an event this month in Scarborough confirms.

 

The tragic and mistaken shooting of Brazilian national Jean Charles De Menezes in London in July 2005 brought anguish and grief at a national level. It also inspired an artwork that is touring the country and drawing people to a new interest in the sometimes abstract topic of human rights.

 

Monica Ross challenged herself to learn the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by heart, following the shooting. She began her Anniversary: an act of memory series of public recitations in 2008 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the declaration, and so far over 30 recitations have been held.

 

From The House of Commons, Brighton seafront, a private flat, art galleries, universities and even to an opera, more than 250 co-recitors of all ages from different communities have memorised and publicly recited articles of significance to them. Each recites in their own language: over 30 languages so far in total. Monicas aim is to achieve at least 60 solo and collective recitations.

 

Now Scarborough Library and Crescent Arts have taken up the challenge to highlight the importance of sharing experience, information, knowledge, education and creativity. They want everyone who cares about human rights to take this chance to learn a small part of the declaration and recite it in public, in their own language, as part of this unique performance.

 

The emphasis is not on perfect recall, but on the attempt to remember and the difficulty of fulfilling the Declaration’s call to keep it ‘constantly in mind,’ especially when under pressure. Everyone is welcome and the organisers hope that the recitation will fully reflect the many voices and languages of Scarborough’s communities (including British Sign Language).

 

The UDHR is the world’s most translated document and can be downloaded in over 370 languages from

 

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

You can find out more about Anniversary – an act of memory here www.actsofmemory.net

You can see video from previous collective recitations here: www.youtube.com/actofmemory

 

 

To take part, or for further information, please get in touch with: 

Stuart Cameron at Crescent Arts on 01723 351461

OR by email (subject: anniversary):

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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