This week we started rehearsals for Limbo by Declan Feenan, the compelling and tender story of a young girl who gets into a relationship with an older man. Its a one woman play performed by the actor intern at the Citz, Lynn Kennedy. When I arrived at the Citz last September to be the resident assistant director, Dominic mentioned to Lynn and I that we should meet up and see if there was any work we could make together.
I had been at the Citz for a month, working on A Day in the Death of Joe Egg before I got a chance to properly meet Lynn. We sat down together briefly in the office we would later share to chat and see what kind of projects we might like to work on together. I have always worked on new writing and was very keen to find or create a new play for us to develop together but first we both wanted to get to know one another and each others tastes. Taking a trick I’ve used to get to know designers I’ve worked with we went to visit galleries together, see exhibitions, installations, to build up a knowledge of what work was going on right then in Glasgow and to find common ground. Going to the theatre together, then sitting down after with a drink to argue about what we liked and disliked really began to allow us to see how we might begin to work together.
We soon started to focus upon two ideas, to find an existing play to work on together or to devise our own. We got to work just before Lynn started rehearsals for Hansel & Gretel at the Citz and before I headed to assist on Mister Merlin at the Tron. By the time these shows started we knew we wouldn’t have time to devise our own show and should realistically be looking for an existing script.
With this in mind we started then to read, read and read some more. Searching for the best one person play that would suit Lynn perfectly. It was not easy. Finding a great one person play especially a great one person play for a young female actor, proved much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. After striking out with my own search I decided to call in some help and try to find a new play at the same time. I began a wider search by calling, emailing or generally shouting across the street at the literary departments of the Traverse, the Royal Court, Paines Plough and Tinderbox. Four of the biggest new writing companies in the UK. Asking each for recommendations and advice on finding what I was looking for. I got some great advice from everyone in these theatres but nothing at first came up, there seemed to be a lack of new one person plays. Calls then went out to the Playwrights Studio and onto various new writing blogs and still I couldn’t find anything that was suitable.
When I was particularly desperate and days away from when we needed to finalise the decision, I got an email from Tinderbox and one from the Traverse with a few more recommendations, one of which was Limbo. At first I wasn’t sure about the recommendations, I didn’t recognise the names of the writers but after a bit of research and a read of the plays I knew that I had found some winners.
I took a few recommendations to Lynn and after she had time to read them we sat and discussed what we liked. We whittled the choices down to two plays, Limbo and Adult Child/Dead Child by Claire Dowie. One of these two we would take to Dominic. Both were great scripts, Adult Child/Dead Child would be a real challenge in performance, with a fantastically rich and deep character, plus a great story, but Limbo attracted both Lynn and myself to it. The gorgeous and heartfelt story of a young girl alone and trapped in her own life really made us want to produce this piece and so it was Limbo that we took to Dominic.
Several months later we have now just started to get stuck into the play and are really excited about what we will discover and create together over the next few weeks. Come along to find out...
LIMBO | 8-10 March
Starts at 6.30pm (under 45mins)
£5 or £3 with a ticket to Betrayal!
£5 or £3 with a ticket to Betrayal!
Many thanks go out to: Jennifer Williams, Chris Campbell, Andy Arnold, Hanna Slättne, Emma McKee and James Grieve. For all of your help and advice, very gratefully received.