You might not think of short plays as dramatic theatre, however, INK festival’s latest contribution would prove you wrong. The plays span themes such as the loss of a parent, lovers quarrels and poor musical theatre directing choices. Whilst the first half was a bit hit and miss the quality of the plays soon warmed up with plays that captured characters unique problems. Rather than feeling like we were missing out on a full theatre experience these plays sheared back any extraneous detail leaving tight, hard hitting plots.
The energy in the theatre was amazing and, as an audience member, your attention was not taken for granted. The contrast of multiple actors, directors and writers meant that each play delivered a unique style and message with convincing character portrayals and particularly strong acting from Chris Larner and Tessa Wojtczak. The productions were very high quality and it’s wonderful to see the directors of INK festival giving first time playwrights the opportunity to see their plays performed so professionally.
However, occasionally monologues focusing on the issues of growing older as a woman, break ups and relationships fell flat without the support of another actor on stage and the tension that created in the other pieces. Whilst it was brilliant to see so many LGBT issues addressed and plays that put women at the forefront of their stories. I would have enjoyed seeing a more diversity, particularly, in such a large cast.
The stand out pieces of A Selfish Boy and After Prospero ended the acts. Both pieces explored a relationship between two characters. The length of these plays allowed these relationships to be explored in depth and develop something that was occasionally lacking from the shorter pieces. They were exceptionally memorable and built tension beautifully, with carefully handling of difficult family situations and mental illness.
I would highly encourage anyone to go see Feast From The East. The play was a beautiful way to explore a variety of issues and be exposed to a variety of exciting new playwrights, some of whom I will definitely be following for future work.
Feast From The East is on at the Tristan Bates Theatre until the 18th of May and tickets are available here.
Edited by Dimitrina Dyakova, Deputy Digital Editor