– guest writer is Alan Harris –
Marsha is the story of a girl who, despite being locked up, goes on the same journey around a Welsh village every day. We are currently rehearsing it in the UK before travelling to Washington, DC.
The play isn’t based on one incident – there have been many over the past few years, both in Europe and America, where children have been kept captive for long periods of time.
It will be interesting to see how audiences react to the story – bearing in mind there’s been so much publicity recently over the kidnap and subsequent release of the women in Cleveland.
Throughout rehearsals it’s become clear that the story is not so much about Marsha’s captivity but about her mechanisms for coping. She starts to learn things about herself and the world around her – and in the end she is faced with a stark choice.
The one-woman show will be performed by Julia Thomas who also co-directs. You might expect it’s going to be quite a down-beat show but it’s not; Marsha is a touching, moving show that has lots of moments of humor.
Putting Marsha together for the Capfringe has been an inventive and insightful experience as we wanted to get to the heart of what makes a story captivating – to find the raw truth in that, and not to blur this with gimmicks.
We arrive in DC on the Wednesday and the first show is two days later. At the moment we’re rehearsing the play at a theatre here in Cardiff, trying to get the set up as close as we can to the DC venue so the transition can be as smooth as possible when we get to the States. In the UK, we have been working with sound designer Tom Elstob and lighting designer Isobel Howe. We’ll be working with local talent – DC-based stage manager Zoia Wiseman and ASM Colin Manning – so that should ease the transition.
by Alan Harris
at Fort Fringe – Bedroom
612 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
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The play is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Wales Arts International and UK-based new writing company Sherman Cymru who teamed up with the Studio Theatre a few years ago to take part in the Smithsonian Festival.
We have made lots of discoveries during the rehearsal process, especially with regard to how Marsha, the titular character, sees and hears the world around her. I’m going to really enjoy taking audiences on this imaginative journey where the language of the story is rooted in Welsh sayings and phrasings but the essence is about a shared humanity.
This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.
— Guest writer Alan Harris: An obsession with how people cope with change in extreme circumstances has led to this leading Welsh playwright making his Capital Fringe debut this year. His play, A Good Night Out in the Valleys, launched the National Theatre Wales in 2011. —
Part of Fringe Peeks, our “in their own words” series