City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Space in Between

By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 17 August 2007

Show details
The Jazz Bar
Order First
Running time: 
Thom Tuck (Director) Alex Marx (Writer) Antonia Alonzo (producer) Sam Cable (piano)
Sam Peskin (Will), Mark (Paddy Loughman) Angela (Shaunie Brett) - as part of an ensemble of six sharing the roles

Luigi Pirandello wrote a play entitled, "Six Characters in search of an author." Described as a philosophical romantic comedy, "The Space in Between" is a clever riddle of a dramatic exercise where three characters are in reality two actors and an author, all in search of a play.

This is a site specific production, realistically performed within the Jazz Bar, where the audience are advised to arrive in good time to buy a drink, find a seat, and listen to some live jazz - Sam Cable playing "My Funny Valentine" and other romantic classics on piano. At 5.30pm the real staff depart, the lights dim and three actors take their place behind the bar.

The scene is set. Mark is bar manager working with his childhood friend, Will, an aspiring actor. A new member of staff, the pretty, bubbly Angela, (nicknamed Cat) also an actress, arrives causing sexual frisson between the three of them. In between working hours, they chat and gossip as young 20 somethings do - about relationships, careers, dreams, religion, philosophy, the meaning of life.

Initially, the dialogue seems rather bland. Where is the story behind all this, where is the drama? It's like a re-write of "Friends" in an Edinburgh cocktail bar, without the celebrities and sharp wit. But stay with it. You realise that the point of dramatising general, every day, mundane conversation is to capture an essence of real life.

The development of the plot is slowly but crisply directed. The time frame occasionally jumps two months, six months, as the trio continue to work, serving drinks, cleaning the bar. There is some humorous scenes such as when Cat asks Mark his views on the meaning of life as they disappear off stage into the staff room, returning an instant later - " You make it sound so simple" responds Cat. Over the months, a relationship collapses, a grandmother is ill, life goes on. Mark admits he is writing a play, entitled "The Geometry of Love," while Will and Cat go for an audition for a part in a new play.

Harold Pinter wrote a blisteringly powerful play, "Betrayal" which follows the love affair between two married people, dramatised month by month, year by year, in reverse from break up to first encounter. Only latterly was it revealed that it was absolutely based on the true affair between Pinter and TV presenter Joan Bakewell. That scenario reminds me of the narrative of this play.

Writer Alex Marx, who has just graduated in philosophy at Edinburgh University, freely admits this play is based on autobiographical fact. He is the Mark in the play (and performs the role himself as part of an ensemble of actors). As a piece of Reality Theatre, Marx has created a unique concept, which is fresh, funny and smartly performed by the three young actors.

PS. Order First Theatre Company, in association with Edinburgh University Theatre Company has entered this play for the National Student Drama Festival, 2008. Good Luck!

Show times: 5- 26 August, 5.30pm.