Jim Cartwright’s award winning play “Road” appeared in Poole this Thursday evening. The play written in 1986 explores the lives of the despairing working class of Lancashire under Margaret Thatcher’s Governance, a time of high unemployment in the north of England.
But, this time, it was slightly different. Students from The Arts University College brought the background to Boscombe, revealing those who were struggling in a David Cameron’s Britain.
They tried to use their performance to deliver the humour and depression between the lines of the play. Started with its classical opening line: ‘THIS IS OUR ROAD! But tonight it’s your road an’ all! Don’t feel awkward wi’us, make yourselves at home…” all the classical scenes and monologues were reproduced by adding local details into the original lines and settings.
Annoying but funny argument between a mother and adolescent daughter, a Cherry footballer who wailed about life and killed himself, lonely old woman, self-abandoned jobless young people, a housewife waiting for drunk husband every day, riots on street and of course the narrator Scullery, who was living on the road and knew everything. You could see how they condensed the mass society into stories on the stage to highlight the most serious issues.
The play was a black humour. You may laugh at their jokes but you wouldn’t laugh at their life. Poverty, loneliness, indulgence in alcohol and the saddest thing was no one cared. Just as Joey, who stuck at a slum apartment after losing his job, said: “I am half-dead, but no one was glad or sad.” Time changed. But the road still led them to a same dead end. “Everyone is poor, everyone is insane.”
As a students’ work, the performance was quite natural and proficient. You could feel their sincerity in it when they argued, cried or shouted.
The costume and makeup matched the scene although the transitional music was a little bit awkward.
It won’t be easy to perform a play, which was voted the 3rd best play of the 20th century. Since the students made people laugh and sympathize with characters, they had done their job well.