In his new outstanding play Faith, Hope and Charity, Alexander Zedlin stages the uncompromising story of a run-down, British community hall where those in need can seek help. This realistic portrayal of austerity is striking, and continues to explore themes found in Zedlin's previous work.
Photo Credit: Sarah Lee
Conversations in the audience slowly die as Hazel (Cecilia Noble) comes on stage and begins to cook. There are no curtains or boundary of a "proper" stage, everything backstage is visible. The fringes and forgotten are visible. All lights are on and we, as spectators, see each other, as if we were part of the community. One by one, characters take a seat, sometimes within the audience. We become not only spectators but witnesses.
This play depicts the truth of social dismay with all its brutality. Homelessness, poverty and justice feed the dialogue. Alexander Zedlin avoids wordy speeches filled with pathos, instead tragic situations can be identified in the cracks of conversation. Faith, Hope and Charity remains subtle and is not about morality or about grand political speeches but real concrete lives, shared by people of different backgrounds, gathered by starvation.
The play could have been emotionally draining and yet, thanks to a good sense of rhythm and humour, is not paralysing. This is particularly evident during the choir rehearsal scene where Mason (Nick Holder) who runs the choir is comedically carried away with excitement. The success of the humour and balance in the play can be attributed to the strength of the actors, especially in comedic roles. The strength of characterisation enables a feeling of complicity on stage, as well as delivering a bitter, heart warming tale.
Faith, Hope and Charity is appalling in its reality, brilliant in its staging and shows the audience a community where hope is not wanted, but is needed. This play is a reminder to us all that some lives might soon no longer be a reality if we keep on denying the consequences of public spend cuts. The community shown will become merely a memory, if not a myth.
Edited by Charlee Kieser, Deputy Digital Editor