During lockdown, Glass Half Full Theatre have produced a series of monologues that depict women from different walks of life.
In Lizzie, which is written by Stephanie Silver, Hannah Khalique-Brown delivers a heartfelt performance as a soul-searching teenager in a neonatal intensive care. Recalling how she came to be pregnant in the first place, the chronicle of her ex-boyfriend and the night of conception is told matter-of-factly, belying any tenderness or emotion to the proceedings. But as she gazes at the new-born child, a certain clarity takes place…
Family’s TV viewing habits come to the fore in Michelle Payne’s F**k The One Show. Performed by Helen Squires, we find a millennial daughter frustrated by the choice of programmes that her parents likes. The monologue touches on the possible reasons why people watch certain types of programmes and the judgment calls each generation makes. In between the lines, we also pick up on the ‘etiquette’ of watching streamed content and the justification for ‘borrowing’ someone else’s login.
In Lucky 8 (which is written by Stephanie Silver and performed by Charlotte Hunter) we meet Marcy who asides from working in accounts, foregoes socialising to look after her mother who has Multiple Sclerosis. Be that as it may, she meets another woman at work who is just her type and all the ‘signals’ say ‘they’ have possibilities. But of course nothing is quite how it appears… Hunter savours the humour and pathos in this bittersweet piece, expressing just as much as much with her timing and body language as with her words.
The behaviour of women is often prone to scrutiny, especially amongst their peers. However, in Temptation (which is written by Lizzie Jackson and performed by Hannah Tarrington) we meet someone who is completely unapologetic for who she is. While outwardly conforming to the stereotype of the partygoer who has a bacchanalian appetite for alcohol and sex, Tarrington’s character isn’t oblivious to subtlety or immune to caution. While almost everyone is ‘up for grabs’, there is one friend who is never far from her thoughts. However, ‘doing the deed’ could possibly change everything between them…
Emily J Clark
In To Be Or Not To Be, (which is written by Stephanie Silver and performed by Emily J Clark) the importance of female relationships within the family is given the spotlight. As the ‘moody twin’, Clark’s character reminisces about her mother who raised them by herself. With no ‘father figure’ for many years, his presence at a later stage is not how anyone hoped for or imagined. But mental health (or its absence) plays its part and some things that are spoken can never be taken back… Clark’s performance shows how with family, one can feel multiple things simultaneously, frustration at one end of the spectrum and unconditional love at the other…
None of the monologues can be described as facile, but in Stephanie Silver’s Jess (which is performed by Kate O’Rourke) we have arguably one of the most in-depth monologues of this batch. As a 34-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon, the eponymous Jess has an important job and no stranger to stress in her life. But after a visit to her GP, the diganosis of early menopause and accelerated infertility sets alarm bells ringing. Now all she think about is what lies ahead if circumstances doesn’t change soon. As in all the best writing, ‘the devil is in the detail’, with O’Rourke deftly picking up on the nuances of Jess’ predicament.
As someone who work for the NHS, Silver’s experiences and her observations of people shines through in her writing, as does her love of family and people in general. Proof indeed that writing about what you know is the lifeblood for genuine human connection.
© Michael Davis 2020
Glass Half Full Theatre’s Lockdown Showcase can be viewed online at:
Part 1 : https://youtu.be/a8ROAkh5EsU
Part 2 : https://youtu.be/GAIMAnxDvR0
Part 3 : https://youtu.be/55X7PZEgcZQ
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