By Jean Hill
‘Baggage’ is a play, written by Bev Clark, for Hand in Hand Theatre, now published by New Flight Publications. I sat beside a couple who had been married 55 years. They made a heart-felt plea for live performance, which had enriched them, their children’s and their grand-children’s lives. Treasure the theatres we have in the region, and celebrate what they provide.
There are only two characters in ‘Baggage’: a middle aged housewife ‘Sandra’ who was played by Susan Reeve and a homeless woman ‘Annie’, perhaps somewhat older, played by Geraldine Moloney Judge. They meet by chance by a bus stop, and that first meeting is beset with suspicion and misunderstanding. Sandra makes some sweeping assumptions about ‘the homeless’. Annie ‘puts her right’ and from these unpromising beginnings, follows an exchange of confidences, a reassessment of gifts to be grateful for, and by the end, mutual understanding and the makings of a friendship. This is a play that educates the audience about some of the tragic life events that can lead to losing almost everything, and that the person is always worthy of respect. It is a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, but none the worse for that. It is beautifully acted and very moving.
S.P.A.C.E. is a more whimsical piece, again with two actors: Teri Bennett: ‘Crazy’ and Elisa Cowley ‘Sanity’. There is more humour involved in this play. Worryingly I quite identified with the ‘Crazy’ character. By a sleight of hand, the boxes assembled to sort out clutter, and create space: keep, bin, repair and consign to charity shop, become hope, love, let go, and faith (in yourself). Sanity steps into the space to clear away pain and fear, and embrace life. Humour is used as a kind of defence. It is, in the end, a serious piece that recalled, to me. my counselling experiences. People sometimes get trapped in a place where they cannot move their lives forward. A dialogue can sometimes free someone up to make that first crucial step back to ‘sanity’. Again this is beautifully acted. Great night at the theatre.
Bev Clark has succeeded in her ambition to have these plays. performed at venues across Merseyside. They are thoughtful, insightful pieces and deserves a wider audience. Hand in Hand Theatre is pleased to support: ‘The Hope Project’ which is a charity helping the homeless of Liverpool. Great cause.
Tour dates: Saturday 20th January, 2018: Matinee at Neston Civic Hall
Wednesday 24th January 2018: The Studio Widnes, Merseyside
Thursday 25th January 2018: The Casa, Hope Street Liverpool
Saturday 27th January 2018: Matinee at Tarvin Village Community Centre