As of tomorrow, I enter one of the most intense creative periods of my life to date. For three weeks, I will join a cast of five others and our director, Jennifer Hartley, to create a world that we will take on tour in October.
Almost a year ago, six actors including myself went into rehearsal for a production of a play called No Soul For Sale. The production had its debut at the International Conference on Human Trafficking at the All-Nations Centre in Cardiff and was hugely acclaimed by all who saw it. From those beginnings, the play has now become SOLD which, supported by funding from the Arts Council, will go on a tour of venues around Wales in October and November 2013.
SOLD is based on testimonies of individuals who have suffered at the hands of traffickers in Wales. They come from different backgrounds and circumstances, all different ages and each with their own individual story of how they have been trafficked. In SOLD, six characters collide at a city centre bus stop on a series of winter evenings; human suffering finding solace in its fellow’s pain.
When we first started working with the text of No Soul For Sale, we had an understandably dour and upsetting story in our hands. Fresh from interviews with over 30 people who had been trafficked through Wales, Jennifer Hartley wrote the play and presented it hot off the presses to the cast. At that time, she confessed to feeling as though the inclusion of humour in a play dealing with what was at times such personal and deeply upsetting subject matter felt disrespectful. However, as we as actors brought life to the characters that separated them from the stories of the individuals whose experiences were reflected in the play, elements of laughter began to creep into the dialogue in the way so many people in harrowing circumstances try to lighten their own situations with gallows humour.
SOLD is a reworking of the original script and includes much of the material that emerged through the rehearsal process as we worked together to bring to life the characters as separate from the people whose stories form the basis of the play. With new cast members, a revised script and time to spend developing the lives of these six individuals further, the play that goes on tour is likely to be deeper, richer and more hard-hitting than before. Having been involved first time, it’s hard to believe that such a thing is possible, but knowing Jennifer and TvO as I do, I know that will be the case.
The tour starts on the 12 October in Cardiff and continues at venues around Wales through October and early November. If you are in the area and are able to attend, it would be fantastic to see you there. I’m very proud of this piece, even before we start working on it anew, and would be honoured to share it with you.
Wales tour dates:
Chapter Arts Centre 12 + 13 October
Volcano @229 Swansea 14 -15
Wrexham 17 travel – 18th 9a.m performance
Theatr Gwaun Fishguard 19 October
Cardiff & Vale College 21 October
Sherman Theatre 22 October
Llanelli Studio Y Ffwnes 23-24 October
Theatr Soar Merthyr 7 November
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