29 June 2013

Our Share of Tomorrow at Theatre503 (tense)

Theatre503 is a small intense space, especially for those of us addicted to sitting in the front row, and so it is the idea place to stage small intense dramas like Our Share of Tomorrow.

There were similarities to Desolate Heaven that I saw there in February, and it was the brilliance of that which brought me back for this. Both featured a small cast with strong regional accents telling the intense story of young adults. The outcomes were quite different though.

A young girl, 15, arrives at a coastal town looking for somebody. She finds him working on his boat. He is in his early thirties and he immediately sees a former girl friend in the face of this girl.

It is no surprise that she is the daughter that he never knew he had but the point of the revelation was not to be a surprise, it was to set the scene from which the drama flowed.

The girl's mother had recently died and it was that which had driven her to look for her father. She had questions that she wanted answers too, and so did her father who wanted to understand why his girl friend had left him suddenly all those years ago and why she had not told him about his daughter.

There is a third character involved, a middle aged man who met the girl in hospital and who offered to help her. This looked at first like a touch of lechery but we learnt that he also had issues of loss having separated from him wife and also from his daughter in the process.

Father and daughter share some fond memories of her mother and they go out on his boat together just as the young couple had sixteen years earlier.

The play jumps forward through intense conversations between the girl and her father and the girl and her helper. All share a loss but none of them really knows what they want to happen and that leaves just accusations about the past to talk about without any positive plans for the future to provide an emotional balance.

It was all very tense and quite sad, but nothing like as grim as Desolate Heaven was. It was also superb theatre with the three actors being spot-on with their characters and the set doing enough to be a boat and a harbour but not doing too much to get in the way.

Theatre503 is on something of a roll at the moment and it really knows what works in their space. This was my third visit there this year and all three performances were excellent.

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