"The Long Road" by Shelagh Stephenson (25-28 Apr 2018)
I feel really lucky to have come across this play - it was recommended to me by one of the cast members, Elizabeth Ollier - and it immediately struck me as a powerful and urgent play. But the thing that persuaded me was how moving it was; it brought tears to my eyes as I read it.
This is without a doubt a hard-hitting play. But it isn’t preaching and it doesn’t offer answers. It’s not even about knife crime per se; that is just the point at which we start off. It simply asks questions, the main one being: how do you make sense of a senseless act? How do you handle the grief of losing someone suddenly and meaninglessly? Whatever road you take is likely to be fraught, even a search for understanding. As one character says
“Understanding will change how you feel. It always does.
That’s the point of understanding, isn’t it?”
And those changes are not even guaranteed to be positive.
As director, I see my role simply as the audience’s representative: to present to the cast and crew how it looks through the eyes of the audience, what works, what doesn’t. And in the case of this play, my role is minimal. The play is so powerful and I’m lucky to have a cast so strong that I mostly just sit there enjoying their performances. I have no doubt that anyone who sees this production will remember it for a very long time. It is hard to leave unaffected by it.
What They Said
(and the press)
“Super show last night (Friday). Completely absorbing with some very strong performances. Well done to cast and crew for a top notch production!” Guy F
Danny (Alex Dewar)
Joe (Louis Bricusse)
Mary (Elizabeth Ollier)
John (Alastair Dewar)
Emma (Fleur de Henrie Pearce)
Elizabeth (Leonia Chesterfield)
Director (Paul Smith)
Assistant Director (Jane Atkinson)
Producer (Bryony Wilman)
Lighting Design (Marc Pearce)
Lighting & Sound Operator (Utku Er)
Publicity (Jon Holmes)
Publicity and Social Media (Fleur de Henrie Pearce)
Stage Management (Jane Atkinson & Bryony Wilman)
Backstage Assistance (Chris Pease)
Poster and Programme Design (Fleur de Henrie Pearce)
Front of House and Bar (Members & Friends of St Michael’s Players)