Rag City Productions are an emerging new theatre company presenting works across the next year and on Friday we joined them in their company launch with the reading of two new plays: Icarus and Second Coming.
Led by just 3 actors, the two plays offered what they describe as “Wonderfully quirky imaginings of the near future” and this is exactly what they are. They both offer insights into possibilities of future lives for us and how that would pan out with today’s conditions, nuances and colloquialisms. Each take a role each in the plays and indivisibly play a part in producing these plays.
Firstly with ICARUS, here the main narration comes from Asheligh Aston as Tea-Tree - an inquisitive young girl attempting to explore her surroundings and Adaya Henry as Bourbon - a girl whose concern is her earphones and has little to do with the world around her. In a bizarre way, it is a play about language and the understanding of what we know now and what it will be in the future. The story plays on the idea of a world without adults, or childish beings that have been thrust between time periods. It lends to ideas of tribe like children and the consequences without parental guidance, placing the character of Icarus at the heart of the title presents the Greek mythology influence on the works. In terms of script exploration it is clear that there is very little and the actors deal well with the little scripted story given by Watts. On the other hand, one stand out quality is Jan Watts’ unique use of language comedy in her writing, taking a really childish approach to the language, which is not necessarily received as well as her other play.
SECOND COMING is the second play offered by Rag City tonight and with only 15 minutes of dialogue to play on, it is definitely the strongest. This short play provides a tale which narrates the corruption of a large corporation as they try to pass a news story off about a cloned child. Edward Loboda takes a lead in this narrative as the corruptive Delilah and Adaya Henry strengthens the comedy of the piece shining again, this time as the news reporter Fenella. This piece brings into question the use of the media in telling real world stories and the corruption of the mother, for the media’s advantage, bringing into question contemporary issues of media storytelling. Comedy is again clear in Watt’s writing here, instead sticking with contemporary comedy language and playing on situations that would be funny now. Laughter is evoked from the audience with a joke involving the genetic cloning of Hitler - a highlight as chaos ensues in this farce.
New plays always offer an exciting insight into the world of new writing in Birmingham and the emergence of new actors on the scene. There is certainly work to be done on these plays before they receive a bigger reception than the intimate Cherry Reds Café, but the team have done well with their material. Watch out for what they do next.
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