Plays, Pies and Pints

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Theatre journalist Rina Vergano talks to actress Molly Taylor and assistant director Emily Reutlinger about ‘Faith Fall’ and about A Play, A Pie and a Pint migrating to Bristol.

How would you describe this play?

E: I would describe it as a really brilliant piece of storytelling, you get different takes on the same series of events from different characters. It deals in really big themes like what motivates us as far as love and death go, and the way in which people can change each other, not always for the better.

M: It’s a play that revolves around three characters and the blossoming and ending of a love affair.  The character I play, Christina, is suffering from a terminal illness and when she meets Adam at a faith healer’s, they begin a relationship. Adam doesn’t have a faith, he’s a journalist doing research. As they tumble into a very passionate but finite love affair, she has to question her faith while Adam sees in the situation his version of the devil. The characters are really well-drawn and easy to identify with, although you don’t always like them. It’s a really good yarn, with a mythological resonance.

It sounds like quite a dark play

E: Describing it as a dark thriller isn’t really accurate, I’d describe it as more of a comedic drama – it finds the humour in the tragic. It’s actually really well balanced between dark and light, and I think that’s one of the questions it poses: how do you balance really big serious ideas with a lightness of perspective. It’s about a couple of ordinary people trying to balance big ideas about love, death and the devil within the everyday. It’s very much about a guy who falls in love with a girl who has cancer and the repercussions of it, taking something that could be quite sad and making it bigger than the two of them.

M: It sounds really meaty and heavy, but it has moments of warmth and insight too. It is quite funny and comic, it’s also understated and written with a deftness of touch. Frances the writer is tackling big themes – love, fear, guilt and the nature of faith – and what it’s like to have death in the room. Graham [McLaren, director] hasn’t presented it as a naturalistic piece of drama. It isn’t staged with traditional scenes, instead the characters talk directly to the audience, so it’s  quite stylised in that way.

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How did it go down at Oran Mor?

E: Lots of people said it’s the best show they’ve ever seen there. It gets a really lively response from an audience: one minute they’re laughing, then they’re crying, then laughing again despite themselves – so it’s pretty enjoyable. It got very good press, with the notoriously discerning Joyce McMillan of The Scotsman calling it a perfect play: quite something, coming from her.

M: Lunchtime plays at Oran Mor are real fixture in the theatre scene in Glasgow, with a diverse audience of students, people from the industry, working people and retired people. The theatre is situated in quite a bohemian area, a bit like Tobacco Factory in Southville. So it’s great that Oran Mor has made this connection with TF as it’s one of their few initiatives with an English theatre. If they think that a play is really good they will look for other opportunities to get it out on the road or into other theatres such as Traverse and Dundee Rep. They’re also about to do a collaborative season with National Theatre of Scotland working with six young Chinese playwrights, as well as having done an ‘Arab Spring’ season back in April with young writers of Arabic extraction, in response to the social upheaval and political change sweeping the Arab world. So Oran Mor promote a diversity of voices and seek to connect with a wide range of writers who maybe wouldn’t get a foot in the door with most major theatres and companies. It’s really exciting stuff and audiences love it.

“As perfect a play as you could hope to see in the lunchtime ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ season.” (**** The Scotsman)

Faith Fall is on Tue 23 – Sat 27 October, Tobacco Factory Theatre  0117 902 0344

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