by Peter Gill
Peter Gill Festival, Sheffield
Crucible Studio, Sheffield, 24 May 2002
First performed: Cottesloe Theatre, 22 July
Thoughts from the Director:
The language. I think it must in some way be a deliberate homage to John Osborne
and Look Back in Anger. There's the same defiant, forensic approach that all the
people in the play have towards what they're saying, the assumption that if only
one could really condense and express your experience it would be transmuted, the
I've worked with Peter many times since 1988 when I started to assist him at
the National Theatre Studio, and I've known his work since then. I suppose it would
be true to say that the milieu of Mean Tears is the closest to the world that I
move in, of all his plays. It's a metropolitan world, but also an intellectual one.
It's set in the eighties, and captures that ghastly period's rancour and selfishness,
yet in some ways it describes a group of people who are as yet insulated from the
worst economic ravages that were being unleashed then. They're like those people
in pre-revolutionary Russian drama.
Ownership and betrayal are important in Peter's plays. To whom do you belong?
To what, or where, are your loyalties?
One stage direction: "Scene divisions are not intended to stem the flow."
As always, casting is everything. Class, culture, sensibility, intelligence -
the play is about all these things and draws out every actor's qualities in a different
way. The actor is always the touchstone between the writer and the audience. Get
it wrong and there will be areas of the play that remain unexpressed however gifted
Paul Miller, March 2002
Drama Centre. Theatre: includes: Victor in The Miser (Salisbury); Guy in
Strangers On A Train (Colchester and tour); Judas in Corpus Christi (Edinburgh
Festival and Pleasance London); Tony Paxton in Our Betters (Chichester);
Gabriel in Gabriel (Soho Theatre); Antronelli in The White Devil, Bloody
Captain in Macbeth and Margarelon in Troilus And Cressida (Royal Shakespeare
Company). Television: includes: Relic Hunter; Queen Of Swords; Highlander;
Coronation Street; Jonathan Creek; The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous; Out
Of The Blue; Rules Of Engagement; Space Precinct; The Buccaneers.
For the Royal Court Nightingale And Chase, The Kitchen, Woman Laughing (Royal
Exchange, Manchester) Salonika. Other Theatre includes: Four Knights In
Knaresborough (Tricycle); Earwig (RSC); Made In Bangkok (Aldwych); Two Planks
And A Passion (Greenwich); The Plough And The Stars (Royal Exchange, Manchester);
The Relapse (Lyric, Hammersmith); Crimes Of Vautrin (Joint Stock); Macbeth,
The Merchant Of Venice (Old Vic Company). Television: includes Spooks; Mists
Of Avalon; Deceit; The Last Train; Hornblower; Tom Jones; The Fix; Moll
Flanders; The Sculptress; Prime Suspect 6; Bad Boys; Cracker; Scarlet And
Black; A Touch Of Frost; Comics; Newshounds. Film: includes Hotel; De-Tox;
Phoenix Blue; One Of The Hollywood 10; Bedrooms And Hallways; Joyride; Immortal
Beloved; Mountains Of The Moon; Resurrected; A Prayer For The Dying; Wetherby;
Mountview Theatre School. Theatre: includes Body Talk (Royal Court); Henry
V, Julius Caesar (RSC); Grave Plots (Nottingham Playhouse); The Knack (Wimbledon)
and various tours including The Long, The Short And The Tall and Tess Of
The D'Urbervilles not forgetting Sugar Bear in the blockbuster Sugar Bear
And The Magic Snowman. Television: includes Holby City; Badger; Hetty Wainthropp
Investigates; Dangerfield; Kavanagh QC; Our Friends In The North; May To
December; Casualty; EastEnders; Silent Witness; Jeeves And Wooster; Thief
Takers; The Bill; A Class Act. Film: Leon The Pig Farmer plus various bits
too grisly to mention. Extra: Alan is very pleased to be a contributor to
the RNIB's Talking Books For The Blind programme.
Zelda in Sitting Pretty (Theatre of Comedy — tour); Joanna/Niamh/Taz/Petra/Jazz
in Inconceivable (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Mandy in Rats, Buckets And
Bombs (Nottingham Playhouse); Much Ado About Nothing (Northcott Theatre,
Exeter). Television: Sandra Di Marco in EastEnders and David Copperfield;
Matty in Berkeley Square; A Touch Of Love (BBC); The Bill; Forever Green;
Covington Green. Film: Metroland; The Company Of Wolves; Hope And Glory.
Guildford School of Acting (Post-graduate). Theatre: Richard III (Crucible
Theatre, Sheffield); Dead White Males (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton); The
Giant Prince (Quicksilver Children's Theatre); Hard Times (Good Company
tour); Ursula in Ursula by Howard Barker (Wrestling School); Princess Eboli
in Don Carlos and Celia in Volpone (RSC); Rosalind in As You Like It (Manchester
Royal Exchange); Olivia in Twelfth Night (Liverpool Playhouse) and Berinthia
in The Relapse (Royal National Theatre). Television: London's Burning; The
Knock; The Whistle Blower; Murder In Mind and Midsomer Murders. Radio: Bleak
||Theatre: Paul has worked extensively at the National Theatre Studio
and is currently Resident Director of the new Loft Theatre at the NT. Recent
productions include Four Nights in Knaresborough (national tour); Tragedy:
A Tragedy (Gate Theatre); Accomplices and Mr England (NT Studio/Sheffield
Theatres); A Penny for a Song (Oxford Stage Company/Whitehall Theatre);
Hushabye Mountain (English Touring Theatre/Hampstead Theatre); Sugar Sugar,
Goldhawk Road and Bad Company (Bush Theatre).
||Training: Motley Theatre Design Course.
Theatre: The Wizard Of Oz
(West Yorkshire Playhouse); Macbeth (Nor Jyske Opera); Dangerous Corner
(West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Garrick Theatre); The Clandestine Marriage
(the Watermill Theatre); The Europeans (the British American Drama Academy);
Arms And The Man (Exeter and the Mercury Theatre, Colchester); Three French
Operas (Guildhall School of Music and Drama); Orpheus In The Underworld
(Den Ny Opera, Denmark); Second To Last In The Sack Race (the New Victoria
Theatre, Stoke); The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice (Salisbury Playhouse);
Local Boy (Hampstead Theatre); Dangerous Corner (Palace Theatre, Watford);
(Bush Theatre); The Winter's Tale (Royal National Theatre Studio); 218:
Underground (National Youth Theatre); The Rake's Progress and Don Giovanni
(Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama); The Rake's Progress (British
Youth Opera); Vanessa (Trinity College of Music). Film: I Just Want To Kiss
You (BBC 2 'Brief Encounters'); You Shall Have A Fishy (Open Eye Productions).