Rapture Theatre

by Patrick Marber

The Red Lion FC is an English non-league side who have dreams of the big time.

However, the club’s manager, Kidd, will stop at nothing to realise his own ambitions of achieving money and fame. So, when a talented young player, Jordan, joins the club and ‘plays like a God’, Kidd sees his golden opportunity. However, kit-man, Yates - club legend and footballing ‘hero’- has other ideas. A ‘Clash of the Titans’ ensues between Yates and Kidd over the future of Jordan and the football club.

Patrick Marber’s hit play unfolds like a Greek Tragedy, transcending ‘the beautiful game’, in a tale of heroism, hubris and handballs!

The Red Lion offers a funny, profound and unmissable night at the theatre. Starring Emmerdale and Brookside star John McArdle, Brendan Charleson and Harry McMullen.

(Age recommendation 14+)

By Harold Pintor

Deborah was a lively sixteen-year-old and part of a close-knit family when she fell victim to a strange condition, a sleeping sickness.

 Twenty-nine years later, having been watched over by the same doctor, she awakens and gradually tries to adjust to the world around her. 

A Kind of Alaska recently had a successful run in London's West End, with Tasmin Greig and Meera Syal in the starring roles.

Now, Rapture presents an unmissable brand new production of this astonishingly prescient play by one of the twentieth centuries most influential writers. 

By Terrence Rattigan

Rapture presents a timeless masterpiece of love and regret and the human capacity for change. The Browning Version is set after the Second World War, at a boys’ public school and on the eve of Greek Classics teacher, Andrew Crocker Harris’, retirement.

Moving, humorous and displaying a profound understanding of the human heart, only those made of steel will be able to sit through this play dry-eyed. 

By JM Barrie

 

Rapture presents a scintillating one-act satire penned by the Scottish scribe of Peter Pan and What Every Woman Knows.

Harry Sims is about to receive a knighthood for his services to business and the 'art' of making money.

His dutiful wife has enlisted the services of a typist, to respond to the many letters of congratulations Harry has received.

But Harry is in for a shock, as a 'ghost' from his past is about to visit….

"Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is defiantly my play. I borrowed a 4 LP box set of the original 1962 cast New York production from my brother Hugh and I still have not returned it. I must have listened to it about 300 or 400 times. I bought the script for it 50 years ago on the 6th October 1967. I have lived with that play as some sort of unintelligible backdrop to my emotional life and yet I have never had the opportunity to see a production. And I never saw the film. But I have constantly been drawn to it’s poetic nature, the rhythm of the text, even though the content is disturbing and savage. I have remained obsessed, mystified and delighted

I have never even read any critique or explanation about the play, its content and its inner themes. I have never before written about my connection to the play. I seldom speak about it to other people, even though remans  there in the background, like some older relative of my family who has influenced me in some way but we never meet up.

So I was excited and a bit apprehensive when I heard a production was coming to my home town. I think if it had been an amateur production I might not have gone. It might be too upsetting for me to see a production that wasn’t anything like the one that I have had in my head all these 50+ years. When I bought my ticket it was a reassured  to be told that they were performing an uncut version- I wanted to hear it all… I wanted to slog through the whole drunken evening.

And the joy was that the production and acting met practically every expectation for me. It was everything I was looking for. It was a faithful and unapologetic interpretation, with no compromises or attempts to update it. The set ‘set the scene’ well, clearly giving an impression of  that 1950’s living room of a house on a campus of a small New England college. It was cramped, given the size of the stage at the Eastgate, but the actors worked well with the challenge.

The interpretation of the play slotted beautifully into my inner vision of it. It was a joy to see George, Martha and Nick acting the play, for the most part, the way I had imagined them too.  Inevitably there were a few discrepancies from my inner version- some of them added to my enjoyment and occasionally I thought that they had missed a trick. Honey was not quite as I have imagined her to be and I was surprised and delighted that I found I actually preferred her interpretation to mine. It must be challenging to inhabit the role a miserable little simp for an entire play. But her interpretation added something fresh and new to my enjoyment.

It is nearly six months since I saw the production. If I had sat down immediately after it and written, then I would have had more specific recollections. But I do remember walking back from the theatre with the contented knowledge that I don’t need to see a production of it ever again." 

Julian Goodacre, Eastgate Theatre Customer

Lyn McAndrew, co-srtistic director for Rapture theatre recently held a workshop with a local community theatre group at Birnam. 

The workshop comprised of a series of physical and vocal exercises to help the participants prep for their annual panotomime rehearsals. 

These photos show some of the participants being taken through their paces. 

Today The Herald published our response to Brian Beacom’s column ('It’s hard to see Stanley Kowalski as anything but white', The Herald, August 31). The unabridged letter is below:

We are writing in response to Brian Beacom’s opinion piece on Rapture Theatre’s current production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, which was published in The Herald, on 31st August.

Despite writing prior to viewing the actual show, and with absolutely no knowledge of our company’s creative approach, Mr Beacom decided to make several assumptions about our artistic decisions which are both inaccurate and unacceptable to us.

Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski just might be the most contrasting characters found in modern drama. Practically every aspect about them is a polar opposite, from their gender and background to their outlook towards life.

While every production takes a different approach to these two fascinating characters, playwright Tennessee Williams wanted Blanche and Stanley to be evenly matched, having ‘a balance of power’. The richness of A Streetcar Named Desire’s text is found not necessarily within the plot but within the power struggle between these two icons of modern theatre.

We asked a school pupil 'Who’s your favourite character in Streetcar?'. Here is what they said:

My favourite character is Mitch because I think he gets a bit of a raw deal in the play and I can’t help feeling sorry for him.

Mitch is a decent human being who is constantly trying to please his mother and is accused by Stanley of being a mummy’s boy because of it.  He maybe resents his mum because he’s been away in the army and travelled a lot, but now he’s stuck at home looking after her. If he does resent her though, he doesn’t really show it. He just does it because it’s his duty which makes me like him because he cares enough to put his own feelings to one side.

Michael Cox: What was your first experience with Streetcar?

Gina Isaac: It was watching the Elia Kazan film. I'm a huge Brando fan and absolutely loved the film when I first saw it about 20 years ago. It's an amazing film, and Brando and Vivien Leigh work so well together - the old style meeting the new. I've only ever seen one theatre production of
Streetcar, with a wonderful actress, Geraldine Alexander, playing Blanche. Years later I had the pleasure of working with her on the national tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It was a lovely thing to be able to tell her that I'd seen her play Blanche.

MC: Let’s talk a little more about Blanche. When was the first time you thought of her as a viable character for yourself?

GI: I don't know really. There are always parts that you'd love to play as an actress, and of course Blanche Dubois is definitely 'up there' in terms of the biggies, but it wasn't a part that I felt I had to play. Once I started preparing for the audition though I became totally gripped by her. It's a great feeling when you read a part and something about them speaks to you. I guess that's when I realised I would love the chance to try and play her! Funnily enough, I have been watching a lot of southern and classic films as part of my research, and
Gone with the Wind (also starring Vivien Leigh) was the film that really 'clicked' for the concept of the 'Southern Belle'. It completely captures the old world of white privilege and vast plantations, the world from which both Blanche and Stella descend.

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