Sunday 13th February Scratch Theatre @ Fruit
By Michelle Dee
I was just one of the many people on Humber Street Sunday 13th February to witness the first Scratch Theatre night at Fruit. Eight separate ten minute shorts were showcased tonight, each one a new piece of theatre written by a local writer.
Feedback sheets were handed out to answer the questions; what in your opinion worked/didn't work; what did/didn't you enjoy; how could it have been played better etc?
A scratch performance, is a public showing of an art form that is still in the developmental stage be it poetry drama film etc. They are an opportunity to put a piece of unfinished work out there and see what kind of response there is to it.
Scratch performances are a valuable and rare opportunity for an arts practitioner to be able to gauge audience reaction to an idea. They can then listen to the feedback respond to it in someway when considering how to take the work further.
From the eight there were those I felt were already stand alone pieces and I couldn't really see how they would be then developed into longer plays. There were also a number of monologues and duologues that didn't really come to life.
I felt the Anne Macnamara piece, There's No Escape suffered too much from the juxtaposition of the human-interest story against the cold facts about Zimbabwe's recent socio-political history. The tone wasn't consistent and the closing paragraph could have been taken straight from the Zimbabwe Tourist Board.
I was intrigued by the claustrophobic atmosphere of Mark Stainton's Being Boiled. I felt the single scene echoed Orwell's totalitarian vision in 1984 or the mania of 1976 sci-fi classic, Logan's Run by Michael Anderson.
Gertrude Loves Halibut was a wonderfully eccentric piece of theatre with some inspired characterization ideas. There was the icthyophobic daughter (fear of fish), the grieving Northern zookeeper who has replaced his dead wife with Gertrude, who is a real live cheetah and is currently at large, having escaped from the zoo.
Both of these pieces I could see being developed into radio plays and maybe then staged.
S-Cape by Anthony Maraveyas was perhaps the most outlandish and leftfield work on show tonight. I'm assuming it was set within an asylum if it wasn't I'm even more lost than I previously thought.
This one rather than being about the possibility of actors and greasepaint taking it to new heights, I feel was more to do with the words.
Although being essentially a monologue - there were utterances from other characters - it wasn't structured in normal sentence form. It was much more poetic with ideas colliding into being and becoming 'an issue' for, 'Clappert the stallion teaser come prophet.' (I can't believe I've just written that).
Someone later suggested this performance was perhaps a little too cosmopolitan for our provincial town. Well maybe so, but it doesn't half do us good to have our limitations tested now and again.
The biggest laughs, for it has to be said that some of the stuff on show was rather funny - intentionally so - came from Russ Litten . His tale of what fate might befall the unwary hitchhiker, had a number of gents doubled up at the bar. Having hitchhiked myself when needs must I am happy to report I've never been picked up by Mr. Spanky.
A Wasted Journey brought Scratch Theatre to an amusing end. It had been a very different type of night out at the theatre, with some strong acting performances and more than a few intriguing, as well as one or two bewildering drama ideas.
Dave Windass - Playwright and curator Scratch@Fruit Andrew Pearson - Artistic Director, Ensemble 52
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Right, me auntie asked me to go to this poetry thing - her mate couldn't go so I sez I wud (only coz she was gunna buy me a beer!).
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