Alison Watt has had plays produced by Hull Truck Theatre Company and The Stephen Joseph Theatre and has written many episodes of Eastenders and Crossroads.
On her play and production for three locations, 'Love, When It's Brass'
All plays are a journey. Whether it’s an emotional journey for the protagonist as they struggle on their way to their goal, or an intellectual journey for we, the audience, engaging with different worldviews. Over the past hundred years, or so, this journey for both protagonist and audience has taken place, traditionally, with a lit stage and darkened auditorium. This is a successful method of showing plays. But, of course, it’s not the only way of doing things. Brecht took issue with the ‘cocooning’ effect of this approach to drama and Medieval theatricals might well have found it strange; they being used to creating plays outside.
As writer/director at Beach Hut Theatre Company, when I first considered ‘Love, When It’s Brass’ for Coastival 2, I decided I wanted to create a theatre piece that embraced both the indoor space and the outdoor style of theatre. Also, I wanted to set the company the challenge of trying to tell a story that not only went on an emotional and intellectual journey, but that also went on a ‘physical’ journey for both the actors and the audience. The play was to be a promenade performance moving from indoors to outdoors and from one theatrical style of playing to another. Actors and audience would visit ‘actual spaces’ where events could unfold and locations would be linked together by characters’ stories. The audience would become eavesdroppers, ‘listening in’ at the blurred edges of the real and the theatrical.
Beach Hut has always set itself the challenge of combining experimentation with populist new writing and this project continues our own particular theatrical tradition. ‘Love, When It’s Brass’ is a comedy in three acts, about a maid-of-honour, Rose, who faces the challenge of saving her best friend’s wedding whilst struggling with her own romantic future. The First Act, at the wedding reception, will be performed in the McCarthy auditorium at the SJT. The Second Act will be performed in the covered residents’ car park of the Palm Court Hotel and the Third Act in the gardens next to the Town Hall (by Queen Victoria). The performances take place over Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th of Coastival. But, there is also a run of the play at Scarborough Library, with all three acts together, in nightly performances, from 2nd to the 5th March, for those who prefer their theatre, warm, seated throughout and in a darkened auditorium.
This article appeared in High Tide Magazine 2011
Alison Watt in conversation with Paul Spencer on Radio Scarborough, April 2017