Manuel touches the memory of his dead mother. She stares down at the Table which seems to shed tears of pity at the loss of her Chairs – the only possession remaining to give them some sense of home. ‘Chairs’ is an emotive play about a Spanish prostitute enacted through the eyes of her son. Sonia Linares Beroy, playwright, was awarded one of the three prizes in this year’s Critical Stage Award. The theme of the competition for unpublished playwrights was ‘Travelling through Life’. All three award winning writers submitted plays about living with difference. Manuel fought the disdain of his school friends without knowing why.
Krishan Copengara tells the story of an Asian fighting another kind of prejudice. Danny Horrigan weaves together five plays which spurn power and prejudice through sex, war, hierarchy, violence and marriage. Critical Stage set them all in an airport where the three main characters cross paths in their voyage.
Critical Stage Co. created the Award to support the development of new playwrights throughout the UK. The Travelling through Life theme was selected partly due to CSC’s nomadic nature, performing regularly at Edinburgh, also in Berlin, Liverpool, Brighton and their home base of London. CSC presents bold, sometimes harsh messages which are intended to persuade their audiences to reflect on strong social themes. Last year they toured the UK with their production ‘Experience the Innocence’, a new play by Caroline Baillie about homelessness and hope. They are often occupied with non-profit making Theatre in Education and Community theatre projects involving local performers.
Critical Stage will also host a ‘Future of the Fringe’ symposium later this year with Patron Ben Elton’s support. ‘..it is an event such as this that gives one hope that Fringe Theatre might indeed have a future and a future it must have… Writers, directors, actors and audiences alike need an arena where risks can be taken, experiments tried and mistakes made’. The Critical Stage production of ‘Travelling through Life’ provides one such arena.
Travelling Through life was performed at Landor Theatre in Clapham May 2002.