As we enter into the penultimate month of 2018, we can expect to be treated to 4 weeks of thought-provoking entertainment as two theatre productions will take place: one to make us think about the deeper questions of life, and the second a performance about a life with Alzheimer’s. The former is to be Julian Felice’s next step in his career in theatre as he partakes in performing six of his original plays over the course two nights, and the latter is a Rock Theatre production, by award-winning director, Angela Jenkins, starring Monica Ritchie as the protagonist.
Within the last few years, Julian Felice has written and directed a number of plays, including work that has gained recognition as far the U.S. On this occasion, he will be handing over his role as director to six handpicked new ones, who will each be directing one play, with Julian playing a part in each, bringing his own characters to life. In changing tactic with using guest directors for each of his 10-15 minute short plays, Julian is hoping that each director will add new ideas and treat each play as a unique, individual piece. Julian noted that each of the plays is a self-contained piece, two of which could be fleshed out into full-length plays in the future. According to Julian, writing short plays as opposed to full-length ones allows the writer to experiment with ideas that may not be workable as a full play, but are nonetheless interesting and entertaining. These six plays take on a vast array of ideas, from what it would look like if the Messiah returned in our modern day, to a poetic monologue walk through Main Street towards Casemates. Within the six plays, there will, no doubt, be something for all members of the audience. Political and philosophical questions are tackled, which may interest fans of Black Mirror or the famous playwright Samuel Beckett, whilst another play involves the audience themselves in the performance. In writing six short plays, Julian will hope to have his works showcased in other theatres, something that has already happened as his play Happy Birthday will not only be performed on the night in November, but will be showcased in London by a theatre company in March. Julian’s showcase will take place 21st and 22nd of November inside Bayside School’s theatre. Priced at £5 each, tickets will be available upon entry to the theatre but can be reserved via Julian’s Facebook page: “Julian Felice – Playwright”.
Likewise, the troop from Rock Theatre are back with another performance with their rendition of Gail Young’s tragic-comedy, Bothered and Bewildered, that first premiered in 2014 and tells the story of Irene (Monica Ritchie), a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, and her two daughters. The play seeks to express the difficult effect that the disease has on their lives; a difficulty that Angela notes would be close to the heart of many people in Gibraltar. Though dealing with a sensitive topic, the play does have a comedic element to it, including a cameo from a world-famous romantic novelist who Irene regales with long-kept family secrets. Bothered and Bewildered was inspired by the playwright’s real-life experience of encountering Alzheimer’s within her family, and tickets will be sold in hope of raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. This play is likely to be another successful performance by the company who, since being founded in 2009, have brought performances such as: Blood Brothers and Not About Heroes to local stages. This performance will open on the 23rd of November and will be held in the GADA Studio and will continue through till the 27th of November; though an extra night may be added on the 28th, if tickets sales have a good response (buytickets.gi).
With Gibraltar’s theatrical schedule showing such good opportunities this month for intelligent and entertaining theatre, you will no doubt be wanting to plan a few November nights at the theatre. Tickets and reservations will be available shortly for both productions and, as with previous performances by Julian Felice and Rock Theatre, are likely to go very quickly. So, as we make our ways into the cold winter nights, make sure you get your ticket whilst it’s still warm!
BY JEREMY GOMEZ