The last two BOLDtext Open Door shows at The REP couldn’t have been more different on the surface but again reflected the strange times we live in.
On September 19th 2017, the theme of the four short plays was Fake Times, inspired by the fake news that had exploded into our consciousness and set the tone for the year. We were certainly not short of material. Brexit fake facts, Trump and the Russian election interference continue to rumble on into 2018, and trying to sort fact from fiction remains a problem. Four of our playwrights – myself (Julia Wright), Liz John, Nicola Jones and Tim Stimpson tackled the theme, reflecting the difficulties we all experience in sorting out who we can trust for our information.
Our January 8th 2018 show was called A Mouthful of Rhinestones to mark the birthday of one Elvis Presley. How is The King relevant today? The theme of separating fact from fiction again raised its head but this time in relation to the myths and truths surrounding celebrity: ‘Elvis might be gone but he ain’t never left the building.’ Elvis impersonators appear on stage every night somewhere in the world and the first popular music celebrity remains a force to be reckoned with. Some uncomfortable truths were revealed by Helen Kelly, Vanessa Oakes and myself in three plays which looked at different aspects of his influence and examined the links with the recent Hollywood revelations.
The evening treated the audience once again to the wisdom of Ted Pigeon (Steve Jackson), who popped back to run the Unwanted Christmas Present Swap, which has become a popular annual event.
So what next for this year? We’re excited to be planning a Birmingham-based site specific event, leading on from our ‘Behind Bars’ show and its very lively after-show discussion. We will also be able to do some audience development beforehand, thanks to the Sir Barry Jackson Trust. More news on this very soon!