Ferment is the Artist Development strand of Bristol Old Vic, run by Sharon Clark in her role as literary producer, and twice a year there's a showcase for the 'exciting and adventurous' new work which has been developed by workshops and dramaturgy. Rosie & I went along to their 70 minute programme of short plays Get Shorty, curious to compare this more professionally supported and funded event with our own highly-acclaimed Flaming Voices in Frome Festival. One exciting aspect was that these 5 plays were also directed by fabulous Emel Yilmaz, though the tiered seating of BOV studio made a big contrast to our intimate pub-theatre venue.
Short drama sounds easy but it's actually a difficult structure to master, as the characters need to make immediate connection if we're going to care about their challenge, with some kind of palpable change evident within the brief running time. The 10-minute limit was very loosely interpreted and, perhaps significantly, the longest piece was the least interesting. By far the best was Rainy Season by Chino Odimba, a brilliant confrontation between a child and a wounded soldier in a war-torn African country: lyrical, moving, and pitilessly unsentimental.
Script-in-hand performance continued after the interval with The Heat, a 60-minute play about four university friends remeeting on a sultry summer night in France. Immediately engrossing, with characters who were credible as well as fascinating, this was witty and touching as well as thought-provoking: if friends are the new family, is it impossible to avoid family-style feuds and jealousies? And if Mike Bartlett could write dialogue this good, then would Love Love Love be more than an over-rated parody of social mores? Writer George Gotts' new play about the tensions of loving intimacy made me want to see more of her work.
It's been a perfect week for a Leo ~ blue sky and dazzling sunshine from dawn till dusk ~ so I can't resist ending with a birthday image from our lunch party at Annabelle's, and a starry particle by PK Page from Dark Matter, the collection of 'poems of space' that Emily gave me:
The very stars are justified.
I have proofread
the beautiful script
There are no