The Pensive Federation
The point of difference of Rewritten from many other play festivals was billed as each of the plays starting from the same three page script and then being rewritten by four different playwrights. With all of the pieces performed by the same actors what emerged was a very tight and well rounded presentation.
Here we have two friends dealing with each other and the fallout at the end of His relationship. He in particular can’t get over Michael and She, well She knows a little bit more about Michael than She has let on before and the time has come finally tell Him what she really thinks. What results is the very friendship affirming I’m Okay, Are You? by Jo Pockett.
The second play Done operates on a very different premise. The most affecting of the pieces, it involves Him assisting Her in ending her own life. This subject is very delicately handled and superbly performed. It is a very touching representation of what love can be. Caro Dixey treads a fine line in her writing but it pays off well.
We then move into slightly cutesy territory when a couple of Animal Lib campaigners confront their politics and feelings whilst breaking into a University. The programming of Direct Action is an ideal pick me up after the previous emotional play. He likes her and She likes him and they both want to free the fluffy little animals, what could possibly go wrong? Serena Haywood clearly delights in the fun awkwardness of the characters.
The final play returns to friendship, but this time they are dealing with the fallout from then end of Her relationship. He’s just her housemate, but He values her so much more than the douche who has ruined her life. The Beginnings of Love by Sarah Pitard alludes to what might be ahead for the two of them in a sweet way that provides a satisfying conclusion to the evening.
The direction connecting these pieces together by Cat Robey is strong, but what is really satisfying about a production like this is the acting. You really get an excellent sense of how rounded the performers are when you see them in such different situations being different people. Both Neil J Byden and Laura Kim deliver complex performances and are very talented actors – it was a real pleasure to watch them.
Some of the connections between the plays felt a little bit forced – I am not convinced of the necessity of being quite so on the nose with the blue toy cat – but the lunchbox worked as a nice prop detail that echoed throughout each piece. The different covers of ‘And I love her’ echo through out the work and leave Rewritten with you long after you leave the theatre. Here’s to more intriguing concepts from The Pensive Federation!