By Ruth and John Howard.
Ruth and John Howard enjoyed a sneak preview of StrikeUp Theatre’s debut, Silent Generation, by attending their rehearsal this week. The play opens at South Street Arts Centre with a free community performance today, Thursday 25 April.
The play was written by Joe Marsh using oral histories of Reading residents interviewed over a ten month period. This work involved the Whitley Community Museum where the play’s artistic director Rachel Mary met with the museum’s Trisha Bennett.
Many over-70s live alone with little human contact with their pets or television as their only company. Modern technology is a huge contributing factor to their isolation. For example, our elderly neighbour feels left behind by technological advances; Reading Borough Council now only publish their bin collection calendars online, which is difficult for people without internet access. We can print the calendars out for her, but not everyone is so lucky.
Silent Generation stars Peter Marinker as Kenneth, Stella Ross as Hazel, Michael Curran as Stephen and Patricia Loveland as Julia. The cast have a great chemistry together from what we witnessed at the rehearsal.
The set is minimalist but striking in its simplicity; the scene was set by hopscotch chalked on the floor and four chairs. There are projections on a screen at the back and dramatic sound effects by Benjamin Hudson that complement and enhance the poignant memories; some of the scenes included doodlebugs, rabbit hunting, religion, planes and cinema.
We saw in the programme that Peter Marinker had a part in a favourite sci-fi movie of ours, Event Horizon; we asked what part he played, and he said he was the captain of the doomed spaceship the Event Horizon itself. This made our day!
Rachel Mary said that StrikeUp Theatre hopes to develop the play further and they want to do interviews and performances in other places. She seems very passionate about her work and we hope that she and her team do well.
People of any age can only obtain free tickets to the community performance at 4pm on Thursday 25 April by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 2pm today, Thursday, or you can try your luck on the door just before the performance at 3.45pm.