Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a showcase performance that brought together various writers, directors and actors in Manchester to perform short pieces using a very minimal staging. ‘Scripts Out Loud’ event took place at the quirky, yet welcoming and cosy ‘3 Minute Theatre’ located within the Afflecks Palace emporium located in Manchester’s bohemian hotspot – the Northern Quarter.[blocktext align=”right”]Date: 15th April 2015 Time: 7:45 Location: 3 Minute Theatre, Manchester Price: £5[/blocktext]
Organised and hosted by Manchester based organisation, Hercules Productions, the showcase drew an excellent crowd. With all seats taken by the time I arrived, I had to sit on the side of the stage which worked out to be a great spot to really get a feel for each piece. The venue was like a hidden gem that I was surprised to find. It was perfectly fit for purpose and gave a very intimate ambience to the show.
With a relatively small stage and just a chair for a prop, the lights went low and the show commenced; not on stage but rather to the side of the audience. The spot light shone on the first actor Kash Ashrad, who performed a one man piece called Andy. Written by Sarah Eastaff and directed by Mark Croasdale, the piece depicted a teacher who had developed an inappropriate affection for a student. And whilst the audience become fully aware of the wrong nature of this affection, the actor managed to maintain the perception that his character hadn’t quite reached the same conclusion.
And so the strong messages delivered in well written and exceptionally acted pieces continued. I would have to say that my absolute favourite piece was delivered by Louise Wilson and Sam Beresford. Written by Desmond Hogan, the story of pregnancy, abortion, a broken relationship and the painful consequences was acted out superbly by the couple. Louise Wilson really shone with a performance that can only be described as moving, powerful even. The emotions she exuded felt so real and she really drew the audience in to the emotional space that her character was in. Excellent.
Slotted right in the middle of the evening was an introductory preview to the organisation’s flagship piece ‘Prison Games’. This is a one-man show in which Hercules Production’s Artistic Director, Marcus Hercules plays a number of characters telling the story of how a young boys exciting family relocation from Jamaica to England slowly leads him down a path of crime. The story highlights a number of issues facing young men in this country and how even those with good intentions can end up making choices that negatively affect the rest of their lives.
The short snippet of ‘Prison Games’ that we received really gave us a taste of how effective the one-man piece can be. Marcus successfully navigated the audience through the story and at no stage were we confused as to which character he was playing. He skilfully combined the use of comedic and serious content to drive messages home to the audience. And there was such a level of ‘realness’ in his performance and that if all the pieces presented by the other actors.
I think that that was the best thing about the show overall. You could either relate to the characters acted out personally, knew somebody like them, or have seen them along your life journey. You literally got what the characters were about in a very short amount of time. I think that really bares testament to the writing, directing and acting quality that we witnessed last night.
This is an ideal way to spend an interesting mid-week evening out with friends. Be prepared to go on a bit of a rollercoaster of belly-hurting laughs to real concern and thought-provocation.
Apparently, the team at Hercules Productions are planning on putting on another showcase in a few moths time and are looking for writers, directors and actors who want to get involved in something fresh. If you’re interested then get in contact with Rose on [email protected]. Also Like them on Facebook and Follow on Twitter to stay up to date with what they have coming up in the future.
The production enterprise is also seeking for support to help them to launch the Prison Games and take it around the country. Contact Rose for more information on how you can get involved. herculesproductionsent.com
If you would like to invite Vinejuice to review your event then simply email dates to [email protected]