Pomona – the Director’s Preview

Director Jason Salmon introduces his latest edgy, urban thriller ahead of its opening on 11 June.

This is a dark, dark play – what drew you to it?

When I first read the play I was blown away by the themes it was tackling as well as the characters themselves. The themes that it explores are challenging; I’m fascinated by the way it asks genuine questions about the more unpleasant sides of society and makes us question our own beliefs.

Some elements of the plot and characters are surreal, but there are very real traits in each of the characters that I see in people every day, which resonated with me so I felt the messages deserved to be shared with a wider audience. There’s also a definite question about what’s real and what isn’t too, but the piece also has plenty of comedy and humanity throughout!

What do you think is the central theme of the play?

The central theme of the play for me questions how comfortable we all are with what goes on in the shadows. The play makes us question where our boundaries are; how much are we willing to ignore and turn a blind eye to if it has no impact on us?. By ignoring things are we bad people? I think it’s a very relevant question with all that’s happening in the world right now, and one I think a lot of people won’t feel comfortable answering, so it’ll be interesting to get people’s views after the play.

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No spoilers of course, but what can the audience expect in the way of staging?

Without giving anything away you’ll see staging that is more adventurous and challenging than the plays I’ve directed before. It still keeps the audience and performers close together, but I think what I’m doing this time adds to the intrigue and atmosphere of the play more than in previous shows. Pomona is a place that we need to try and encapsulate on stage.

Tell us about the characters we’ll meet.

We come across 7 very different and interesting characters drawn together in Pomona. Without revealing too much: Ollie is lost, looking for her missing sister, and at the end of her tether with nowhere to turn. Fay is a young woman in the oldest profession, but she’s been around the block and is haunted by her past. Gale is a successful, tough character who doesn’t suffer fools but is a prime example of someone turning a blind eye. Keaton is quiet, controlled and a closed book. She gets things done.

Zeppo is lively, clever and with fingers in many pies, he’s a bit of a fixer. Moe has a troubled past and seen a lot of things he’d sooner forget; he’s tired and just wants to get on with his job. His sidekick Charlie is more innocent, and definitely more talkative – he has a particular passion, and is a bit of a fantasist, but his humanity shines through.

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Click to enlarge

Rehearsal photos by Barry Heselden

Pomona runs from 11 – 15 June at the Old Fire Station, and tickets are on sale here.