A touching new play by the Tideline Runners Theatre Company commissioned to commemorate the outbreak of the Great War is a cover to showcase the biggest on-stage explosion since pyrotechnics went badly wrong during the 1945 performance of Run for your Wife at The Confucius Theatre, Nagasaki, that left 73,000 dead and Neil Morrissey’s acting career uncertain, it has emerged.
Author of Sam & Isla Forever, Robert Wilkinson, is marketing the play much as a blockbusting holiday read:
“The incredible love story that is born in The Great War and spans six decades.
Set locally in Berwick upon Tweed between 1914 and 1974, Sam & Isla Forever is the tale of a boy and a girl torn apart by war, whose story would go on to inspire three lonely souls to aim impossibly high in the name of justice.”
However, a source close to the writer/director has revealed that his motives may not be as pure as those of popular novelist, Ken Follett.
“Well, Bob has to say that, doesn’t he? Ever since PTSD was made up, loud detonations are seen as a little outré, vulgar even. People can be very judge-y if you suggest that bombs are actually very good fun and the perfect foundation for a two-hour play.”
This sentiment is echoed by most of the male cast – a cast whose average age is 19, poignantly representative of the doomed youth of 1914 and commensurate with joy found in loud, surprising noises.
“I think when people see Sam & Isla Forever,” said veteran actor, David Simpson, 22, “they’ll realise that there was, like, actually some real romance? People didn’t know if they were going to live or die because of all the explosions and blowing stuff up, so this play is like honouring the truth of explosions… in that they’re, y’know, intense?”
So the bombs are a metaphor for love set against the backdrop of an uncertain future?
“No. They’re explosions. Big fuck-off ones to make your nose bleed. Lovely.”
And it seems that retinal afterimage isn’t the only thing the show’s production team are hoping will draw in audiences for the show’s three-night run.
“If I don’t receive complaints of at least 11 perforated ear-drums, then my name’s not Enola Gay,” declared the Technical Manager. “Which it isn’t. It’s Steve, but anyway.”
Featuring 20 originally composed songs ranging between folk, rock and ballad, Sam & Isla Forever is billed as the theatre event of the summer. Matthew Rooke, Maltings’ Chief Executive and Artistic Director, believes this is the sort of groundbreaking theatre that will put Berwick-upon-Tweed firmly on the cultural map.
“I’m very excited about the future of The Maltings and its place in bringing top quality blasts to the stage. It’s an area of theatre very much neglected and I plan to rewrite the percussive element of supersonic shock waves for a string quartet so as to suggest the generation of high temperatures and the release of gases. It’s very exciting – certainly something worth wearing heels for.”
Sam & Isla Forever, The Maltings Theatre & Cinema, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 31st July to 2nd August 2014. Really not to be missed! (Bring earplugs. And a first aid kit.)