Within the depths of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art (SCVA) we find a small drama studio, deserted for far too long now, waiting in high anticipation for one enthusiastic director, two spirited actors and one extraordinary play to bring it back to life. Coincidently, from 31 October this is going to happen.
After the End, an incredibly intense two-character play written by Dennis Kelly, will be directed by Rob Henderson. Interestingly, Rob is not a drama student but in fact currently studying for a mathematics PhD.
After approximately 75 auditions, Rob selected the nervous yet raring-to-go freshers Luke Rogan and Gemma Barnett who admit they really are diving in at the deep end.
Last year, Rob took Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to Italy, performing a sunny outdoor production.
However, After the End is far from a sunny outdoor play, for this highly naturalistic play is much more enclosed as the character Louise wakes up to find herself trapped with character Mark, who has saved her life. The incredibly small and confined space is conveniently appropriate.
This highly naturalistic play is very enclosed – the character Louise wakes up to find herself trapped with character Mark, who has saved her life. The incredibly small and confined space is conveniently appropriate.
It is very clear, by the expressions on the actors’ faces that their experiences of the rehearsals so far have left an impression: “Never have we experienced anything this intense!” explains Gemma, “The play will certainly engrave its incredibly political and bold messages on you. It will make you think.”
Nonetheless, the nerves and the stress, Gemma and Luke both explain, are far from being a bad thing at all: “The stress is good. Keeps us busy, because at the same time we are incredibly excited. We have faith in our director and we love the challenge we’ve been faced with.”
So how can it even be possible to learn and practice a play in the space of two weeks alongside studying, going out with friends, joining societies, cooking, and of course, doing laundry? The answer: passion, focus, sacrificing sleep and other important things, and the support of friends.
Despite the sacrifice and hard work, the three of them were all so passionate about the play and drama in itself to worry about any such sacrifices.
The play takes place in such a close and compact area, so that the actors can reach the audience very closely both emotionally and physically, and therefore, leave the audience with a very clear reaction.
The play’s focus on the social implications on a democratic society will certainly reach out to most members of the audience. The team have clearly been working incredibly hard to prepare a fantastic show for us all to witness.
The play is being performed in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art on the 31 October, and the 1 and 2 November at 6pm. Book tickets.