The sea reveals and conceals its secrets and mysteries, just as life itself does to us humans. For a moment we think we see life. Then it is gone. And then we forget. And then we forget forever. Sea is one of Jon Fosse’s later plays; more abstract than his earlier work, in that it is stripped of social totems and his figures face the dark unaided and isolated. Even when the sea drift pulls them together their memories are fractured and the life shared recedes with the tide. What survives of the moment once glimpsed? Love, warmth, tenderness. But the certainty has gone with the strength to ride the waves. Jon Fosse describes the theatre as the “art of the human.” Sea is terrifying, but seeing human beings free of distraction in their reality is a relief and, almost, a comfort.
The idea for this play arose from the news appearing in the newspapers of the Beslan massacre, in Russia. On the 3rdof September 2004, a group of 32 Chechnyan rebels took hundreds hostage in a school in Beslan, where parents and students joined to celebrate the first day of classes. The Russian government did not agree to negotiate with the captors and in the immediate repression the school was attacked with flame throwers and tanks. The operation, in which only one Chechnyan rebel was captured alive, had a high and unforeseen cost, 331 hostages died, the majority of which were children. As we know, no work is entirely imagined.
Our Central London Readings are entirely for ourselves (usually 12 - 14 attendees on and off throughout the day - all professional working actors and industry guests, including directors. There is no audience, and scripts are forwarded for downloading to devices 48 hours or so before - and with a small number of paper copies available on the day. No prep is required, in fact the contrary: the spontaneous discovery and realisation being all; and with a general principal of 'fair gos' for all as far as possible across each script (so roles switched and shared around between each scene etc). Over the last year we have read neglected classics, international new translations, new UK plays (with writers in attendance). Many more discoveries and rediscoveries planned for the year ahead.