‘100’ written in 2003 by author Neil Monaghan, documentary producer Diene Petterle and Christopher Heimann, creative director for the BBC’s Endemol Shine UK and originator of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Heimann teaches Improvisation at RADA in London.
The play was inspired by the premise of Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda’s 1998 stylised film, ‘After Life’.
The first production of ‘100’ was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2002 when it won a Fringe First Award for ‘Innovation in Theatre and Outstanding Production’.
The play is now being presented by Halcyon Playhouse in association with Luminary Entertainment in the very pleasant and intimate 46-seater theatre The Round Room in the Memorial Hall, 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill.
The 65-minute show has no intermission. Late comers will not be admitted once the performance has commenced.
The performances are each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7.30 until the 20th July. There is a matinée on Sunday 14th July at 2.00 pm.
All profits from the nightly raffle and programme sales will be generously donated to support three worthy causes – Asthma WA, Helping Minds and Skyira.
The scene: Any time. Limbo – knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door.
The set: looks simply but there must have been hours of work constructing it. The foyer looks very good, with A5 artwork at bargain prices; but the theatre is a truly magical place. The ceiling is strewn with dozens of strings of tiny LCD lamps with a warm glow. Around 100 empty picture frames, ranging from 3 cms square to an A3 size hang from the ceiling. Strips of diaphanous gauze and lace hang like a hundred stalactites. The seating is in the round, with only three rows, every view is good. As anyone will tell you, the worst set to install is hanging things from the ceiling.
At one end of the room is a metre-high column, which like the whole room is pure white. A glass chess set, and a glowing blue light sit on the top. At the other end of the room, between two 60 cms white cubes is a mysterious ancient doorway leading to …? From beneath the cubes, wisps of smoke drift across the floor.
This set must have taken hours, but the effect is stunning. The set was designed by Ryan S McNally and constructed by the cast and crew.
Throughout the play, the creepy and ominous soundscape – designed by Lee Wilson – aurally chills the audience.
Dressed in white and looking like a nymph or sprite from ‘A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream’, Ketu (Kyal Wilkinson) creeps around the stage, checking out his surroundings. We learn that he is probably from a remote, primitive jungle tribe. He hides as a girl in a white skirt and blouse appears; she is Sophie (Jessica Shellcross). She mutters to herself, asking why is she here? On approaching the enigmatic doorway, two bouncers dressed in black seem to materialise from nowhere. Guide One (Lee Wilson) is cool, calm and reasoning but the other, Guide Two (Ryan S McNally) is belligerent, taking no excuses or answering back from anyone.
Guide Two looks at Ketu and begins to count. Guide One explains ‘just choose one single memory from your whole life and capture it with the magical camera in the doorway’. If the memory is not accurate or of sufficient quality, then passage through the door will be blocked. The Guides turnaround to find another panic-stricken couple, a young man in white shirt and shorts, Alex (James Dalgleish) and girlfriend Nia (Nikita Harwood) in white boob tube and white jeans. The group discuss memories, becoming dismayed at the conversation. The counting continues.
What could the future hold?
Director Alison J Kovacs has had plenty of experience in acting and stage management, but this is a new and most challenging task. An abstract style of play is one of the most difficult to create and direct, but with her Assistant Director Devetta Ridgwell and their highly experienced directing mentor Ryan S McNally, they have done a magnificent job creating the complex atmosphere of deception, fear, love and excitement. One specific outcome was disturbingly effective.
The strong cast were word perfect, with solid teamwork and played to the ‘ín the round’ audience immaculately.
An intriguing and quality production handled with skill.