Liverpool’s famous Zanzibar Club saw the launch of Page to Stage 2016, the only such festival of new writing in the North West.
The event opened with a talk by international Journalist, Rory O’Keeffe who also read us a couple of short chapters from his new book, “A Toss of the Coin.” Hailing from Crosby, Rory spent many years reporting from and writing about North Africa and the Middle East. Material for this book comes from his experiences and contains first-hand accounts of refugees from these regions.
“Truly Exotic” was the first show to be represented as a live trailer. For about five minutes, the writer (Frank Swannack) and one of the cast entertained us with a specially written trailer for an absurdist, time-traveling, period drama.
The sweet Charlotte Dowson provided the first interval entertainment, singing without the aid of a microphone. Charlotte is a multi-talented thirteen year old actress who plays Charlie in “The Reluctant Celebrity,” which was the second live trailer to be shown. The comedy drama shows family life beginning to unravel after Charlies brother posts a video of their father’s heart attack on YouTube. Families, eh!
Two poems separated by an intermission and a couple of video trailers, were recited by local writer, actor, improviser and poet, Denise Kennedy. References to JC and “If I’d known you were coming, I’d have baked a cake” will never have the same meaning again.
Due to cast illness, family bereavements, and all sorts of other trials and tribulations, not all shows were presented as live trailers, hence the two slide shows that could be seen either side of the intermission. These were “Bricks”, a story of two sisters disagreeing over the care of their father and “Chamber of Beheaded Queens,” an exploration of the meeting of four famous executed queens in a chamber somewhere in the afterlife.
A specially written trailer for “An Everyday Apocalypse” was the last live trailer and showed two strangers meeting on a roof top during a zombie invasion. Both of these character were trying to escape in very different ways.
Thomas Oleron Evans, writer of An Everyday Apocalypse, kindly offered to fill a spot by interviewing KT Parker, the writer of “Chamber of Beheaded Queens.” Thomas is no stranger to in interviewing and has produced a series of interviews with Page to Stage writers on his podcast – Little Written.
Rounding off the event was a cold reading of another of the planned plays – “A Role.” Showing an incredible degree of professionalism, two actors from another production stood on stage and gave a script-in-hand performance of the first scene from the play having never read it before. The play looks at the tensions between an actor and the gangster he is about to portray in an upcoming movie.
All in the preview/launch event was well received by the select audience in what is normally a noisy music venue.
This festival deserves support as it is aimed at providing a platform for new and emerging playwrights, something that is much needed following the 24:7’s recent announcement that they have ceased running such a festival in Manchester
More details of the festival can be found on www.pagetostage.org.uk.