Blather will turn theatre on its head at South Hill Park tonightBy Caroline Cook
December 05, 2012
Theatre will be turned on its head at South Hill Park this week when life backstage is brought to the front.
Bracknell writer David Wembridge has switched traditional theatre spaces around for his latest production Blather to draw audiences further into the action.
“As it is in the studio it’s small-ish so we have got a set which is like a little dressing room,” he explains.
“There are two doors which face each other and people come and go. There’s a lot of coming and going, actually.
“It’s set backstage and all the action from the play they are in goes on in the background.”
Blather follows two actors who are performing The Rose of Seville.
The play within the play tells the story of Miguel, a blind matador who is struggling to win the love of Flora, the daughter of a wealthy sherry magnate.
But as the end of the first act approaches, the actors realise they don’t have a script for a second half, and with the interval on the horizon, they agree there is only one thing they can do.
“It’s neither the writer’s perspective nor the actors’, it’s this group thing,” says David.
“The characters and the audience get together to produce, it’s a community effort.
“It’s very much involving the audience but there’s not too much direct participation – I don’t want to scare people off!
“I guess if they just bring a pen, that would be a good idea,” he says, adding, “I suppose you could say it asks questions about the theatre experience.”
Despite its quizzical nature, David says the play is not a heavy drama piece.
“I don’t profess any profound thoughts in it,” he says. “It’s just a funny piece for people to enjoy.
“I tend to go for wordy comedy as a writer, but the way the show has been directed and put on is quite visual.
“It’s quite quirky. There are lots of good visual gags and music too, which adds to the comedy.”
David is well versed in the world of theatre having written three plays and adapted Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well with Bart Lee for a production in the grounds of South Hill Park.
And he says the best moment of the production process for him is seeing his work on the stage for the first time.
“That’s the best bit of it, by far the best thing,” he says.
“You can write something and have it in your head as you see it, but when someone else does it they always imagine something else and it’s so much fun to see them spot something that you never saw but that works perfectly.
“Everyone interprets things differently and brings the characters to life in a different way, so that’s the joy.
“If it was just how I saw it I imagine it would be very boring!”
Blather will round off the studio theatre season at South Hill Park, which has seen an array of exciting productions like Bent, Bug and Orphans.
And David says it is an ideal space for his play.
“It’s great as a non-professional writer to have the opportunity to put on a play at South Hill Park,” he says.
“It’s fantastic for the community and great that people get involved. The studio theatre is a brilliant space.
“With this sort of thing it’s perfect because it sort of questions the theatre experience but it gets the audience closer to the action.”