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Graft launches at the Pleasance

Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

New Initiative for Theatre Writing

The Graft launch event was an enthusiastic, varied and well presented evening, successfully celebrating the importance of new writing in the fringe arena. As a new writing collective seeking to construct a community of artists and audience, their inaugural affair certainly proved they have the determination and support needed to get words off the page and onto the stage.

The Pleasance Theatre provided an apt venue for this new fringe outfit, and could barely contain the masses that turned out to root for these artists’ latest enterprise. It was obvious that the majority of attendees were connected in some way to the various writers, directors or performers involved and, in a world where new writing is often poorly graced with much attention, demonstrated that an creating a large network from the inside out works. I sincerely hope this continues to be the case for the Graft collective, and that their outfit grows and matures as they endeavour to continue to create a forum for new writing.

The night was constructed as a showcase of the many writers they already have on board, and therefore the performances were concise and diverse, including theatre, performance poetry, music, and opera. The encapsulated moments taken from full length plays were well chosen to give an accurate idea of the overall essence of each complete work. The issues addressed in each piece were as assorted as the style, and touched upon parental love (or lack of it), dynamics in the workplace, faith and sexuality, to name but a few.

All the pieces were written by women, which gave the evening a feminist edge. This may seem a little one-sided as a collective but, in an area that is still partially dominated by the male mind, sought to readdress the balance somewhat. Unfortunately, the scripts themselves fell slightly short of the mark, and although showed obvious promise through structure, comedic and musical ability, were rooted in clichés that failed to raise any new innovative angles on the female or human condition.

Nonetheless, the Graft launch was a thoroughly enjoyable evening that was well organised, directed and performed. Their ensemble is strong in number and support, and I am confident that, with time, occurrence and the shelter of this proactive troupe, the writers will flourish.

Writers

Amy Draper; Jackie Kane; Carolina; Anna Portch; Jasmin Howard; Debbie Kent; Beatriz Echeverri; Lauren Monaghan-Pisano; Natalie Wilcox; Columbus Giant; Reen Polonsky; Vivienne Rowdon; Laura Hocking; Susan Crothers.

Directors

Clare McKenna; Jackie Kane; Simon de Deney; Amy Draper; Tarek Iskander; Bobby Brook; Scott Le Crass; Robert Wolstenholme; Clare Betney.

Performers

Felicity Davidson; Emma Brown; Richard Woolnough; Martin Aukland; Ann Gillespie; Karlyn Stephen; Rebecca Hewett; Rosalie Jorda; Anna Brook; Chandrika Chevli; Sam Mannox; Charlotte Whitaker; Denise Mack; Stephanie Farrell; Angie Fullman; Matthew Barker; Katie Lightfoot; Laura Jackson; Andrea Miller; Damian Quinn; Law Ballard; Vivienne Rowdon; India Fisher; Helen Matthews; Emily Randall; Dionysios Kyropoulos; Eleanor Briggs; Susan Crothers.

Costume and Set Design – David Woodhead

Set Design – Anna von Eicken

Photography – Cat Garcia

Lighting and Stage Management – Adam Burns
Design Assistant – Leigh-Anne Gilbert

Venue – Pleasance Theatre
Date – Monday 8th November 2010

(c) Tracy Keeling 2010

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