27 Jan

The play is set at some time in the future – We are in a crumbling office. There are four desks and four telephones. On one of the desks is a computer. Everything in the office seems to have been built during some former time – as if things have just been dragged out of a rubbish dump. There is a small kitchen and on the wall, there are hooks for the people to hang their gasmasks on.

The world outside is disintegrating. There are gales blowing and constant rain – occasional thunder and the sound of police cars.

Around the walls of the office are posters saying ‘This is the first day of the rest of your life’ and ‘Empathise, don’t sympathise’ and across the back wall there is a poster with large letters’Thought for the week’ which changes during the evening as the weeks go by. There is music playing – folk music and music from the seventies.

This is the office of Brightline – a kind of Saracens which takes place every Tuesday night where the four people in the office answer calls from those in desperate circumstances.

.Frances, thirty five years old and heavily pregnant is on one of the phones, so is Angie and twenty year old girl and Joe, a seventeen year old boy is just regarding his phone nervously as if worried it might ring. He is of course a new boy.
When the phone rings, his nervousess increases. He picks up the phoune as says ‘I am someone you can talk to’. Frances gives him a thumbs up.
Jon, tall bearded and early thirties arrives and tells them that the bridges have fallen down. They are used to these kind of statements. They do not et excited.They all work on their telephones all the time, each having a different conversation. It is almost impossible to follow any of them as they are all talking at once.
When there is a break they all play with a large beach ball, throwing it to each other. They also have smaller balls to play with. They are passing the time. It is all they can do. They come into the office once a week and face more and more devastation every time.
That is the beginning, the middle and the end of the play. LIttle things happe, the kettle blows up, Frances brings in the doughuts, They talk about the courses they are taking. Some of the callers are affecting them.
Every week the wind blows and as they come into the office they have to sraighten up the posters and the furniture that have been broken down.
Then one day the lights don’t work. They are plunged into darkness and Frances gets out a whole bag of tealights and they are lit up and spread around the place making it look even festive. By the time this happens two of the desks have already broken. Things seem to be getiting worse. But they survive. Even a little thing like the pretty tea lights bring pleasure in these hard times.

Frances is played by Jenni Maitland, we worry about her all the way through wondering if the baby will arrive by curtain call. Angie is Lydia Larson , Joey by Andrew Finnegan sand Jon by Andy Rush. The director is James Grieve – he has cast the play well and produced the eerie atmosphere along with designer, Amy Jane Cook and Lighting director Peter Small. It is a Paines Plough and heater Royal Plymouth Production.
It is a struggle for optimism in a disintegrating and depressive world.

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