The Lechlade Players made sure the festival started in impressive style with their performance of an extract from ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare. The play opened with a violent storm recreated by clever use of light and sound and a young girl running onto the stage through the auditorium. Only a few minutes in and we knew we were in for a dramatic treat! Simply but powerfully staged and with just three actors who, our adjudicator noted, really understood the Shakespearean text and intent of the piece, this was a fantastic opener. Congratulations Lechlade Players!Next up we had festival newbies, Jackrill Productions, performing (ab)solution by Helen Ackrill. This was a complete contrast to the previous play with a modern setting and language! We saw three brothers all vying for the affections of one girl, the tense and ultimately fatal consequences of which unravelled through the characters’ confessions to their priest. As each brother sought penance for his sins, we saw a complex story of love and lust unfold which culminated in tragedy for some, redemption for others. This was a cracking play with powerful performances. Well done Jackrill Productions! For the finale to our opening night we welcomed another group new to hj1act, the Athenaeum Limelight Players. The ALPs had travelled from Warminster to bring us ‘Loose Threads’, written and directed by Marc Cox who also played the central character, simply known to us as ‘The Patient’. A session in a psychiatrist’s consulting room with a woman who may or may not be a real psychiatrist revealed a tortured story from a troubled man. Through flashbacks to childhood trauma we began to see why this patient was so haunted by his past and understand his longing to ‘go back’. This was a gripping story which left us guessing right to the end. Congratulations ALPs!
Our adjudicator, Mike Kaiser from The Guild of Drama Adjudicators (GoDA) rounded off the night with his adjudications giving his reactions to the night’s performances with lots of fascinating insights and constructive feedback.
A very impressive opening night and if you weren’t there, where were you? Never fear, there’s still time to join in the fun as we have three more great plays to showcase tonight.
Starting at 7.15pm we have Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society with The Laundry Room, then The Lechalde Players second entry The Proposal by Anton Chekhov and to finish the evening we have RWB Productions with So What Would You Do? by Derek Clifford.
Tickets are on sale NOW so get yours by phoning (01793) 524481 or come along to Swindon Arts Centre in Devizes Road and buy them on the door tonight.
See you there!
Next up: Festival Friday
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The Harold Jolliffe One-Act Play Festival supports SWINDON 175
Celebrating 175 years since the birth of Swindon as a railway town