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The Bet – the Director’s Preview

Barry Heselden introduces The Bet, the first of our season of one act plays

What was it that attracted you to this play?

At first glance this may seem like a simple story. Four friends, given the choice between serving a long prison sentence or the death penalty, discuss which they would choose. But when a challenge is laid down by the host and one of the characters offers to be incarcerated for ten years, the story starts to take an interesting turn. Can he survive ten years of isolation to win a fortune, or will he go mad and lose his property? This basic question fascinated me – What would I decide and why? Come and see the play and we can discuss over a drink afterwards.

Tell us a bit about the character we’ll meet?

There are four characters. The Novelist, played by Ben Rathe takes us on the journey throughout the play. The story takes place at the country estate of a very successful banker, played by Simon Gleisner, who is always used to winning and getting his own way. Jack King plays his life-long friend, a caring doctor who shows great concern for the young, arrogant lawyer played by Daniel Kelly – who in turn lays down the main challenge to his host. 

What have been the difficulties staging a play during a pandemic and what precautions have you had to put in place?

There are so many challenges in staging a production at this time, not least of which is trying to direct when your actors are wearing masks during rehearsals! Luckily we have started to use visors so I can see their facial expressions throughout the rehearsal period.

We’ve also been very lucky to receive funding thanks to the government’s #CultureRecoveryFund so that we can continue to be here for you and #HereForCulture. This has been a major operation for all aspects of the theatre and as usual the SLT family has risen to the challenge of making sure that everyone is not only safe during rehearsals, but also that when we welcome audiences back through the doors, they also feel comfortable and confident with how we are looking after them. We’ve positioned a red line on the stage to keep a safe distance from the performers and the audience members, who will be seated in a socially distanced manner. 

We are so looking forward to show-week and doing what we all love; live performance to a live audience.

The Bet runs October 13 –  18  at the Old Fire Station. Buy tickets here

Rehearsal images by Barry Heselden