I first became involved with Off the Cliff Theatre last year in their production of 'Metamorphoses 2' at the Waterloo East Theatre. During this production, I met fellow actor Meg and, on the last night of the show, we had a chat about doing a two-hander together with Kasia, the company's founder, as the Director.
After 6 months of researching and reading plays, we came across Luigi Jannuzzi's 'A Bench at the Edge'. We immediately felt a connection to the play, both as individuals and as a Company; we had such a strong urge to share this story and it was a perfect fit with the aims of Off the Cliff Theatre.
What I particularly like about 'A Bench at the Edge' is the anonymity of the characters: we never learn their names and it is not until half way through the play that we begin to discover more about them. My favourite part of the rehearsal process so far has been creating a history for the role I am playing - deciding who she is and where she has come from; as an actor it is a joy to have so much creative freedom.
The anonymity of the characters is also highly symbolic of the nature of psychological disorders: mental health illnesses can affect anyone and everyone, often those who you least expect, and suicide is sadly a universal problem. Each of us in the Company has been affected by mental health issues, either directly or indirectly, and we are keen to raise awareness of both the devastation it causes but also provide hope: there is help out there for those who are struggling and nobody should be left to suffer alone.
Despite all the above, the play is in fact a comedy which is another aspect that really drew me as a performer. The darkness in the play makes the lighter moments all the more enjoyable and we definitely want our audience to feel that they can laugh!
A BENCH AT THE EDGE
by Luigi Jannuzzi
26th - 30th November 2019
(Tues - Sat at 6.15pm, matinée on Sat 30th at 1pm)
Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower St, London WC2H 9NP
Tickets: £12 / £10
Online booking: https://www.actorscentre.co.uk/theatre/a-bench-at-the-edge
Box office: 020 3841 6611