News Article

Preview: One for Sorrow

31 Mar 24

What was it about this play that made you want to direct it?

I was really drawn to the writing of One for Sorrow because it straddles the line between naturalistic and absurd. The writing is at times bitingly funny and at other times extremely poignant. Moreover, woven into the choppy dialogue are some beautifully poetic monologues that reveal the complex inner lives of the characters. I love the family dynamic in the play and hope many people in the audience will relate to their relationships.


One for Sorrow rehearsal image

What themes does the play explore?

Fundamentally, the play explores what it means to be “good” through the lens of a family that can talk the talk, but struggle to walk the walk. It highlights the limitations of middle-class liberalism – or at least, the intellectual idea of liberalism – by exploring a white family’s journey of welcoming an outsider into their home during the high stakes aftermath of a terrorist attack. It is a show that raises important questions about race, identity, belonging, and what it means to welcome in the outsider.


One for Sorrow rehearsal image

Tell us about the characters we'll meet.

The core of the play is a stereotypical middle-class family who have strong ideas about what is right and wrong. Mostly, however, these ideas are rational arguments and not based on any personal experience. When John (a man of South Asian descent, played by Mansa Ahmed) enters the home to gain safety from the terrorist attack, the family’s whole sense of self is rocked; Emma, the mother of the house (Julia Blyth), has some particularly humorous moments that stem from her instinctual desire to fill the awkwardness with doting hospitality and superficial small talk.


Overall, however, the narrative hinges on Imogen’s (Odette Clark) experience as she puts her world view to the test and negotiates the generational divide with her parents (her father is played by Stephen Grist, and sister Chloe by Lucy Gant).


One for Sorrow rehearsal image


What have been the challenges in directing the play?

So far, there haven’t been many challenges, thankfully! The cast have been very responsive to the acting techniques we’ve used in rehearsals and have contributed some strong creative choices to their characters. Perhaps the most difficult parts of the text have been the longer monologues, but I am a big believer that they should be treated like any other dialogue; if you give actors an environment in which they can play freely, then the performance almost sorts itself out!




One for Sorrow rehearsal image

What do you hope your audience will take away from the play?

Most of all, I am hoping the audience will feel challenged to examine whether their own actions match their beliefs. The play ends in a very different place to where it starts, so it should also give the audience a bit of a shock!


One for Sorrow rehearsal image

Sum up the play in three words?

Funny. Compelling. Provocative.



One for Sorrow runs 16 - 20 April at South London Theatre