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Steven Berkoff's EAST

2019         Oxford

In Spring 2019, Atticist collaborated with North Wall Arts Centre to commission two new monologues by two award-winning playwrights as part of Alchymy Festival (the annual new writing showcase and residency):

THE UNICORN by Sam Potter (performed by Georgina Fairbanks)

I'm not a whirlwind of sexual energy. I'm just a very lonely unicorn.

THE IS A LOVE STORY by Iman Qureshi (performed by Jasmin Hinds)

How can love be oppressive? Love is liberating.

Alchymy Critic-in-Residence, Hannah Greenstreet, wrote:

 

'Sam Potter and Iman Qureshi's monologues, The Unicorn and This is a love story, provide two very different perspectives on negotiating love and sex in the world.

 

Potter’s monologue manages a tightrope walk of nuanced character, in its positive portrayal of a woman who enjoys sex – lots of it, with lots of different people at sex parties – but who also recognises that there is a point when she starts to lose control and it becomes an addiction. There is a huge amount of craft in the plotting of The Unicorn; a butterfly effect is set in motion when the character loses her job and turns to sex for relief, but the story ends up in an unexpected place. Georgina Fairbanks’ performance makes the character relatable, despite the extremity of her actions. Lazar’s staging is simple and effective; the only chair onstage is very well used.

 

At the start of Qureshi’s This is a love story, performer Jasmin Hinds stands, nervous, arms stiff, faltering...She then launches into a romantic story of meeting her girlfriend at a pride march and how she asked her to marry her, getting all the details just right. Qureshi sows seeds of doubt – why is she talking about her wife in the past tense? is her behaviour caring or controlling – but keeps the audience guessing till the twist is revealed.'

Producers North Wall Arts Centre, Ellie Keel, and Olivia Ouwehand

Director Jessica Lazar

Festival Design, Technical and Stage Management Clive Stevenson, Rebecca Welburn, and the festival team at North Wall

Further thanks to John Hegley, Ria Parry, Sherrell Perkin, Amy Walters, Maria Muños.

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