About the Production
By Director Chris Bendall

The play is an hilarious and moving tale of a quiet Irish community turned upside down by the arrival of a Hollywood movie shoot. The story of a budding romance between a rich girl and a local farmer within the film being made is counterpointed against the actual growing friction that develops between the locals hired as extras on the film and the Hollywood big shots. The story deals with serious themes of rural isolation and alienation, degradation of local community in a global context, industrial relations and exploitation of locals by large corporations (in this case Hollywood) and also youth suicide. It deals with the notion of who has the power to tell someone else’s story, shifting values away from agrarian economies globally and the notion of the value of community versus capitalist ideologies. However it does all this in a highly engaging and entertaining context, using comedy and theatricality to make the story accessible. It also explores the idea of ‘the extra’: The person on the background or the fringes of the story, and by telling the story from the perspective of the extras, highlights that these are the narratives that are often left out of our histories.

This new production of Stones In His Pockets was created by Critical Stages with the express intention of regional touring. Over a dozen characters, including the extras, are played by just two actors, throughout the production. This involves lighting fast character transformation, often from one word to the next, with only minimal props and costume shifts possible to support these transformations. As such it requires a high level of dexterity in physical and vocal transformation, a feat achieved by the outstanding cast of featuring Sean Hawkins (Howie the Rookie directed by Toby Schmitz) and Grant Cartwright (Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River). It is also the perfect touring production with a small cast, and minimal set and costume requirements despite the strong narrative, multiple locations and multiple characters represented by the story.

The production involves a simple but evocative set with an Irish vista evoked in the backdrop and a series of road-cases and benches around the stage. Elements of costume of each of the extras are incorporated into the set to assist the audience to visualise them and to assist in embodying each of them, as well as providing a point of interaction for the performers. The road-cases are swung around the stage by the performers, rearranging to create the multiple locations such as the film set, the dressing room, a bus, a pub, a church and the Hollywood starlet’s trailer.

I hope you enjoy our production! 

Chris Bendall December 2016

Web development by SiteSuite