By Isabel C. Davis and Harrison Newsham
Durham Drama Festival comprises of nine short student-written pieces, all being performed this week. Grappling with a variety of styles and themes, from climate change to family disputes, each writer has made a comment about their original work.
Fishbowl by Lowri Mathias
Fishbowl comes from an idea I’ve toyed with for two or so years. In some ways it’s about family, and about what it means to love someone.
In another way, however, it’s about forgiveness, and how it feels to live when you’re too busy anatomising the past.
Implosion by Issy Flower
Implosion was inspired by a lifetime of watching 60s TV and an interest in the dynamics of marriage. The format of a duologue has allowed the actors
to really dig into their characters and convey the ins and outs of the relationship. So if you like intense, small cast dramas with references to forgotten TV personalities you won’t want to miss it!
Laika by Aliya Gilmore
I’ve always been very afraid of space, irrationally, and in particular dying in space. ‘In space no one can hear you scream’. Nobody can hear you talk, too. No one can hear you say, ‘I love you,’ or ‘I miss you’.When astronauts go up into space there can be no one around them for millions of miles. Laika is a play about loneliness as much as it is about space. It toys with other ideas: the human desire for adventure, folklore, animal rights. But, for me especially, Laika is a play about what it’s like to be alone.
Lungbarrow’s Insomnia by Aidas Zvirblis
A colourful collision of the voices that keep you up at night, Lungbarrow’s Insomnia offers an honest glimpse into the holes we all fall into, and the ways we attempt to get out. The talented cast and crew have turned an insular, isolated place into a play, which invites the audience to examine how they talk to themselves when night falls and they are left with nothing but the flickering of their late night thoughts.
The Landlord’s Arms by Charles Edward Pipe
The Landlord’s Arms started out as a short, one- scene play at DDF Scratch Night 2019. When it was met with laughter, applause, and great reviews I decided to extend it into a one-act play. It was exciting to flesh out the existing characters and create new ones. The Landlord’s Arms is a love letter to classic British comedy, so be prepared for situational comedy with a healthy sprinkling of puns and absurdism.
Green Alert by Ryan King
Green Alert is a parody of Dr Strangelove that satirises attitudes towards the most prevalent threat of apocalypse faced by the modern world: climate change. When eco-terrorists threaten to nuke the planet unless the sea levels stop rising, the President and his top people meet in the White House situation room to coordinate a response. What are they willing to sacrifice to save humanity?
Number Theory by Imogen Usherwood
Number Theory came from a desire to talk more openly about mental health. It follows Evelyn, a maths student with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, the night before an exam when Stella, a personification of that disorder that has been with her since childhood, shows up. Everyone should find something relatable about the play, whether that be academic stress, relationships or medical diagnoses and anything else about mental health.
Tourists by Eliot Ancona
Dee lives in a tent. It’s winter, and a young volunteer is standing in his home. Her name is Allie and she says she wants to help. Dee thinks it isn’t so simple. Over the border in a tiny office, two aid workers hatch a plot. Things are getting worse and the time for action is now – but is it worth risking everything for? Tourists is a play about friendship, tea and war.
He Never Married by Kane Taylor
This play takes its name from a conventional euphemism in the obituaries of suspected gay bachelors and acts as a timely reminder of the fragility of political ‘progress’ and the necessity of claiming one’s voice and space. The play is based upon the secret love letters of two soldiers during the Second World War, and illustrates the fierce prejudice that was, and is, held for queer people.
Durham Drama Festival is running from 5th – 8th February. Visit www.durham- studenttheatre.org for more details and ticket bookings.
Image: Durham Drama Festival