Cal Beckett and her cast introduce our next show, a funny and poignant story of female friendship and growing up, written by Elinor Cook.
I first saw this play at Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, performed in the round by Paines Plough. I fell in love with its energy, freshness and honesty in the depiction of the joy and pain present in the twists and turns of relationships. Lorna and Grace felt very real. Once I’d got used to the seemingly random nature of the timeline, I could see how it mirrored the workings of their memories, and in working with the play, I realised how Elinor Cook had linked it all together.
My cast members have been amazing in their willingness to explore their inner children and the depth and physicality of feeling in the play. Here are their impressions.
Izi Miller (Lorna/Penny)
Out of Love has been an interesting process because it’s really enabled us to explore the depths of female friendship, from the highest highs to the lowest lows. I’ve loved playing Lorna because she’s the slightly more independent of the two, and this has been fun to discover and portray. It’s been an enjoyable challenge bringing to life a relationship formed and shaped by years of love and competition with Jess, the two of us having only met for the first time in the audition room.
Jess Partridge (Grace/Ruth)
For me, Out of Love is loving someone unconditionally without being in love with them, like loving someone from afar. For me it scarily echoes the soundtrack of my life from Spice Girls to LL Cool J, and although I wasn’t brought up like Grace, some of her mannerisms remind me of myself trying to find who I was when I was younger. Outwardly I may have not been as brave and as loud as Grace, but I have almost changed into her character growing up into an adult. The play flits back and forth, through our darkest and happiest times as children and adults, focusing on those memories that stand out the most. Izi and I have had fun growing into our characters and can now call each other friends from this experience.
David Carr (Leonard/Reg/Mr Lorimer/Christopher)
Family relationships, ageing, care and resentment; loss, bereavement, obsession – but it’s not always as serious as it may sound! After reading the audition pieces I was immediately drawn to bringing four of the very different older male characters to life, and was intrigued as to how these scenes illustrate significant milestones in Grace and Lorna’s story. The biggest challenge has been to create the four distinctive characters in four very concise scenes and I have loved dipping back into my native Geordie for Mr. Lorimer!
Rob Wallis (Charlie/Ted)
Although a few of the SLT productions I’ve been involved in have been based around strong female characters, like Nell Gywnn and Sister Wendy, this is the first in which a female friendship takes centre stage. Elinor Cook sketches the fraught, funny relationship between Lorna and Grace with such wit and insight that I almost feel a bit guilty, playing a couple of the blokes who inadvertently end up getting in the way. Even so, both Charlie and Ted, while lightly sketched, feel like fully-rounded characters; flawed and funny individuals with their own hopes and dreams. They might be generally useless, and not as entirely harmless as they might think, but to me they’re easy to relate to and it’s been a real pleasure getting to know them both. I feel that, when the show is done, I’ll be sorry to see them go.
Jake Wayne-O’Neill (George/Mike/Sam)
What feels to me like a Ken Loachian tale, this is an engrossing story of friendship between two girls whose adherence to one another is constantly in a tug of war. It’s been nothing but a joy to work on this production – I’ve had so much fun re-discovering my inner kid and portraying randy teenagers. I’m in the process of applying for drama school and so the chance to establish and shape three distinct characters in the space of one play has been an interesting and useful challenge. My characters provide some of the comedy in the show and we’ve had a good laugh in rehearsals working on that.
Out of Love runs from 19 – 23 February at the Old Fire Station, and tickets are on sale here.