“27” a new play written by Abi Morgan and directed by Vicky Featherstone is a joint production between the Lyceum Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland.
Compared to the front of the Lyceum the Stage Door was a hive of activity with photographers, reporters, bloggers and tweeters waiting for the start of the Social Media/Media Call.
There was also a lot of traffic on the usually quite Cornwall Street with cars, vans and lorries unloading programmes, sound equipment and even a delivery of flowers.
When we were admitted to the Lyceum we were shown into the auditorium in front of the stage and the plays director Vicky Featherstone and NTS Press Officer Andrew Neilson went through the programme.
I had met Vicky Featherstone and Andrew Neilson previously at a Social Media Call at the Traverse Theatre and was made to feel very welcome.
Vicky said that the programme would consist of a few key scenes from the play. These scenes were acted through twice to give the photographers a chance to line up their shots. This was very advantageous for the less experienced attendees such as myself.
Abi Morgan’s play “27” is an examination of a lifestyle in decline, but one whose dignity and faith could hold the key to the issues of our time – our ageing population and the decline of our minds. This is an important and human play about loneliness, ageing, science and the loss of sense of self.
The play is based on research carried out by David Snowdon which is contained within the book Ageing with Grace.
After agreeing to the study Doctor Richard Garfield and his team come to the convent every year to test the nuns who are willing to take part. This union will change their lives forever. For Ursula the study brings more challenges than she could ever have imagined and rocks her faith and her hitherto cloistered existence to its core.
When the on stage performances finished we were given the opportunity to talk to members of the cast, Maureen Beattie and Emma Hartley-Miller. The director Vicky Featherstone also joined us in the Lyceum Bar.
Vicky went through the challenges she encountered in directing this complex play. Maureen Beattie and Vicky spent some time at a convent while “27” was in pre-production and spoke of their admiration of the nuns they met.
Abi Morgan and Jenny Watt who had done a lot of the research for the play both attended the Media Call.
The set and costumes were designed by Merle Hansel, lighting design by Natasha Chivers and sound design and music composed by Nick Powell.
The full cast is: Maureen Beattie (Sister Ursula Mary), Emma Hartley-Miller (Audrey Marie Hague), Finn den Hertog (Dr. Sam Parker), Molly Innes (Sister Ruth Augustine), Libby King (Dr. Helen Jarvis), Colette O’Neil (Sister Miriam Masden), Nicholas Le Provost (Dr. Richard Garfield) and Benny Young (Dr. Jonathan Lees).
Visit The Royal Lyceum Theatre Website for additional discussions about “27”.
The world première of ’27’ runs at The Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 25th October to Saturday 12th November 2011.
Performances Tuesday – Saturday Evenings at 19:45pm and Matinees, Wednesdays and Saturdays, at 14:30pm on 26th & 29th (October) and 2nd, 5th & 12th (November).