The play runs backwards. It begins with a scene displaying the tragic outcome of a romantic relationship between Michael and Teresa and then the scenes move back in time tracing the relationship up until the last scene which is the scene where the couple first meet. It explores themes of grief, love, friendship and addiction.
Date: Saturday 13th September 2014
Venue: The Workshop @Vita Nova
Audience info: Some swearing. 60 minutes.
Michael, a recently qualified counsellor, meets and falls for Teresa, a recently bereaved war widow, at an AA meeting. Both recovering from addiction, Teresa with little sobriety time, their friends and family advise against a romance. The play explores the couple’s brief and painful relationship and the difficulties of relationships in recovery in general.
About The Princess Theatre Company
The PTC produces and performs original work written by local writers. We are a new company. We performed our first four original plays in April at our drama festival at Princess Theatre and Arts Centre in Burnham-on-Sea. The Meeting was our fifth play, performed in July.
About Lewis Coleman (writer and co-director of The Meeting)
“In trying to put on a play with Blue Sky, ie… an Arts Company made up entirely of people in early recovery, I struggled to find the commitment required to put on a production. I was a founding member of an unrelated playwright group, the Princess Theatre Playwrights and this helped motivate me to write my play about romantic relationships in recovery, which I’d always intended to perform with Blue Sky. After read-throughs with the group, I received a lot of empty promises. The project was put on hold, indefinitely.
With the playwrights we set up a community theatre company to put on exclusively new writing. We performed four productions in a drama festival we organised earlier in the year and afterwards it was suggested we do my play. The play has an important message and I agreed to do it with the PTC (Princess Theatre Company). I informed the more committed of my group and some auditioned. Three of the seven-strong cast, including myself, are in recovery. I am also co-directing it. Our stage manager is also in recovery.
One of the main reasons I decided to do this was because I wanted to see if it works as a stage play. It seemed early on it could be great as a rehearsed read-through, taken into rehabs and leading to a discussion – it could still be used in that way. There is a plot device used, it moves backwards and whilst there are many references throughout the play to show this, it is something we wonder whether everybody in the audience will get. How accessible is it? It is a work in progress. We take to the stage July 4th, so we are still building our production, but it moves along very nicely at the moment.
For me, I see the production has a therapeutic value. With the Princess Theatre Company we are all learning stagecraft and that is wonderful in its own way. But the play deals with big themes, grief, addiction and intimacy issues, and for some of us, myself included, it is proving to be a challenge in other ways. Emotional maturity seems to be key to it. For some of the performers in this, to be confronted with these intense issues as we form our characters is difficult. We are having to look at ourselves. Laughter is never far away for a few of us as we try to escape, which has led to discussions, something I always saw as the point of Blue Sky, only this has an effect on more than just those of us in recovery.
I’ve come to see the play has a power greater than I ever thought it might. The play was written in response to the suicide of a dear friend of mine who lost her way after a romantic relationship in early recovery. It was also written as response to my own personal experiences. In early recovery, under a rehab, I was brought in a number of times for romantic involvement with other people under the rehab, all of which were pretty innocent situations (I was far too frightened of intimacy – it is still very much a work in progress), I was mostly boyishly ‘in love’, call it a fix, what you will. The counsellor, also in recovery, who was most on my case ended up running off with a client who was very much a damaged person. It is very easy to talk the talk, walking the walk is another matter entirely. This is a big part of the play, what we project and who we actually are, what our motives actually are.”
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Photograph by Jan Bonus