• Quarry Theatre, Leeds, 2014

The Cravens are one of the few remaining occupants of the last back-to-backs in Leeds.┬áMam is always singing and Dad spends his days repeatedly complaining about the cards life has dealt him. As the bulldozers inch ever closer Dad looks forward to a new start in a maisonette with underfloor heating and the last word in waste disposal, whilst Mam expects the worst so she won’t be disappointed. The arrival of a series of eerily silent observers, noting the routine and customs of the inhabitants of the back-to-backs adds to an increasing air of menace and the sense that everything is not quite as it seems.

James Brining’s production of Alan Bennett’s ‘difficult’ 1980 play looks at the way it preceded the invention of reality television and the ideas of content voyeuristic observance, moving it into a world of TV cameras and documentary makers. The play features 5 live TV camera, all operated by the cast, who play various ‘observers’ and crew. We experiment with overlays and camera tricks to make sure the audience never quite know where the play is going to go next, until a final massive studio reveal.

Ian worked with the cast in rehearsals for three week with all the show camera equipment (including a period 80s Hitachi VHS camcorder ‘updated’ to serve our needs), making sure it was both intrinsic to the play and comfortable for the cast. We trained WPY’s crew as camera engineers backstage, and controlled all the switching through Catalyst and the WYP lighting system.

"...examining the intrusiveness of reality television."
What's On Stage (****)