A Life In The Theatre
13th – 24th March 2012
The Actors Studio, Liverpool
Written by David Mamet
Produced by Lifeinthetheatre productions
Directed by Andrew Schofield & Stephen Fletcher
Cast: Andrew Schofield & Stephen Fletcher
Running time: 1 hour 10minutes
A life in the theatre follows the relationship between two semi-professional actors; its pitfalls, frustrations, its patience and understanding. This comedic gem will have you laughing hysterically before whipping you off into another brilliant scene of the bizarre and wonderful moments that make an actor’s life on and around the stage. It then sobers you with the underlying sadness beneath all the drama and flamboyance that plays out before us.
The elder of our pair Robert played by Andrew Schofield is a veteran actor who is one of theatres true eccentrics. He follows an old fashioned actor’s etiquette which bemuses and irritates his young counterpart John. John played by Stephen Fletcher has a life and passions outside the theatre, which is exactly what Robert lacks and craves. The two are at opposite ends of the spectrum and clash over age, a jealousy of youth and the knowledge that as one career is on its way up the other has stagnated and nears to its end.
This tale of the frustrations as well as the reliance in partnerships is interspersed with hilarious scenes of rehearsals, backstage conversations and on stage antics, which makes this play so much more than simply a commentary on actors or their profession. Scenes like that of the Jewish father and son and ‘experimental theatre’ were the most memorable due to their perfect comedic timing and the knowledge that somewhere in the UK scenes like this are being played out for real.
Clever use of music built atmosphere and keeps up the pace so the audience remain engaged during costume and set changes making it feel like a part of the performance instead of simply a tedious necessity.
Andrew Schofield’s Robert eccentric as he is never becomes unrealistic or over the top he instead optimises those unique and interesting individuals that find their place within theatres four walls. His fragility, loneliness, sadness of unfulfilled dreams and a weariness of a life that’s grinding by is revealed in a touching and thoughtful way, making its impact far greater than any obvious statement or gesture. His use of tone makes every thoughtful comment have no genuine meaning, every sly criticism sound like a kindly meant word of advice, never enough to be out right rude but ample to infuriate John.
Stephen Fletcher’s John is a normal, balanced young man in comparison to the showy Robert which sometimes makes his the harder task to communicate. The calmer character of the two John keeps his emotions under control – most of the time. Stephen Fletcher manages to make John embody the passion and frustrations of a generation filled with optimism, always looking forward trying to make its way in the world and prove itself despite the opinions of their elders.
A poignant, moving and brilliantly funny performance.
Nina Lloyd Jones