rock paper scissors by Olga Nikora
directed by Kate Bannister
Olga wrote this script to absolute perfection. Not only did the narrative flow easily, but the characters were introduced in depth, allowing the audience to build a connection with them from the very beginning.
The storyline itself is very realistic, incorporating a range of themes and issues within each of the character’s lives. With such simplistic conversation, the whole time you feel as though you are a fly on the wall in their small living area
Rock Paper Scissors is the third and final play of Jack Studio’s Write Now Festival, which celebrates the diversity and energy of south east London’s emerging playwrights.
Writer Olga Nikora explores the turmoil of confused identity, dramatising the problem of artificially constructed boundaries and social categories in a progressively diversifying world.
Nikora has a talent to inject fire and emotion into every line that engages the audience tirelessly holding their attention until the very last. 90 minutes straight through, and not once did it falter
Rock Paper Scissors is writer Olga Nikora’s first full length play and is a worthy winner of ‘Write Now 6’. The text flows beautifully and really paints a wonderful word picture of the four characters…
Kate Bannister’s direction is first rate and makes fantastic use of the space and her actors…
At around 90 minutes with no interval it is an intense and emotional play
Talking to Alice by Lucinda Burnett
directed by Tanith Lindon
Below the River
It’s a testament to both performers that the audience warm to the pair of them so readily. Adam, all nervous energy and cocksure charm, both challenges and intrigues Harriet, while her positivity and indefatigability wears down his wariness too. Together they set out to overcome Adam’s unemployment, relationship issues and self-doubt, each as invested in the outcome as the other.
There’s much to relate to in Adam’s behaviour for anyone who’s ever been a teenager: narcissistic and conceited one minute, anguished and overcome the next. At what point we medicate for this, and indeed how best to ‘treat’ it at all, is the question at the heart of Burnett’s subtly probing piece.
This play tries to define the moment when ordinary human emotions become something to be labelled – and treated. And there’s much to admire.
Dog Country by Joseph Wilde
directed by Mark Leipacher
British Theatre Guide
It is testament to Royal Court and Chichester Festival Theatre Young Writers Programmes graduate Joseph Wilde’s writing that Dog Country continues to linger in my mind a theatre-filled week after the event. It is not just the compelling narrative of the piece but its execution that makes the play a stand-out.
In Dog Country, Mike and Trish meet by chance after some ten years. They have been differently damaged by experiences from their past, which are revealed in a non–linear narrative with their younger selves, played by different actors.
The effect is of two stories running alongside each other rather than one account interspersed by flashbacks. A further consequence is that the storyline keeps moving forward even when going back in time. It makes for a very absorbing watch.
Mark Leipacher directs an excellent cast in this captivating play by Joseph Wilde. I shall be looking out for his future work.
Write Now Shorts: Lead Us
What defines a leader?
Do they command or defer?
Do we pick them, or do they pick themselves?
To launch this year’s Write Now Festival we have a selection of seven short plays to whet your appetite. Chosen from submissions to the Jack, these plays explore different aspects of our chosen theme: Lead Us.
We’re giving playwrights the chance to show the world what a real leader looks like – or failing that, to show us where we’re going wrong. Heart-warming, thought-provoking and humorous, these short plays are drawn from UK and international submissions.
Footprints by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson
Four Interrogations by Maximillian Singh Gill
Queens of the Realm by Ian August
Roleplay by Nick Myles
The Catch by Tom Harvey
The Soldier by Chris Paxton
True Grit by Judy Upton
British Theatre Guide
The Jack is to be applauded for the high standard of writing that emerges from its Write Now initiative, and this year especially for its compilation of plays which would struggle to be more varied in their approach to leadership.
The most thought-provoking and immediately relevant of the collection is Footprints by Joe and Joe which grasped the homogenisation of messages in a media-led personality obsessed political landscape… More evidence that nice things come in small packages.