Margaret Perry’s play affectionately explores the story of two teenage girls and their changing relationship.
Filled with warmth and affection, Margaret Perry’s audio play as part of 45North and Ellie Keel Productions’ Written on the Waves project deftly handles issues such as religion and first love as seen through the eyes of two teenage girls.
Set in Cork, Ireland, Bridie and Sam are taking part in the their local passion play in a church and while waiting to be picked up after rehearsals get talking about religion, hockey and the trouble they have talking to boys. Beautifully unfolding across 30 minutes, the listener hears the change in their relationship – could there be more to it than simple friendship?
Perry’s play is filled with plenty of personality that effectively draws the audience into the lives of both characters, making clear the differences between them and using that as a way to build up the drama creatively. Helped along with Jessica Lazar’s direction and Annie May Fletcher’s sound design and editing, A Passion Play comes across as a sensitive and thoughtful two handed piece of drama.
Given the fact that this was recorded during lockdown, with the cast and creative team in separate locations the level of intimacy that can still be felt from this piece is incredible – particularly during the quieter moments in which both characters are figuring out what they want from their relationship.
The performances of Nicola Coughlan and Hannah Bristow complement each other nicely, capturing the differences in personality but genuine affection between them both well. Coughlan as Bridie highlights the character’s conflicting emotions with regarding her changing friendship with Sam and her utter devotion to her faith with great rawness that is never overplayed. Meanwhile, Bristow as Sam is a more assertive character but still vulnerable in her search to find out who she wants to be in life. Both performances are nicely complex enough to reveal that there is more about these characters than this thirty minute piece can cover.
Overall, there is certainly plenty of room for the piece to be developed for a further thirty minutes if it was to be performed live on stage. As it is, A Passion Play is a delicate and sensitive piece of drama that captures the heart and attention for the full half an hour.
By Emma Clarendon
A Passion Play is part of the Written on the Wave Project and can be listened to here.