Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Friendly Fire
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Friendly Fire, by Peter Gill, in rehearsal, Crucible Youth Theatre, Sheffield.  Photo: Sophie HunterFriendly Fire

by Peter Gill

Crucible Youth Theatre

Crucible Studio, Sheffield, 1 June 2002

Friendly Fire was written as one of ten plays for the BT National Connections Festival in 1999. Hundreds of young people from schools and youth theatres around Britain performed the play as part of the national festival.

Friendly Fire is the story of nine young people and a statue of a private soldier in the First World War. At its heart is a trio of people - each in love with the other, but in the wrong order. Adie likes Gary, but Gary likes Shelley, who likes Adie. None of this is simple, as the three discover as they struggle to understand and cope with the hand life and love have dealt them and 'sort out what they can put up with, and what they can't'. 'Friendly Fire' is when you accidentally shoot someone on your own side.

The action takes place in the present day.

Contains some strong language.

Thoughts from the Director:

When Michael Grandage was planning the Peter Gill Festival he asked me if I would direct Friendly Fire. It's a great chance for Crucible Youth Theatre (CYT) to join in as part of Sheffield Theatres' main programme with a play written specially for young people.

The challenges the play presents to young performers are firstly those of acting; getting to know the characters really well and all the subtleties of their feeling. The play is very true to young people's lives. The style of writing seems very naturalistic at first, and you have to grasp what's not being said as well as what's being said. Then there are moments when the play surprises you: the characters sometimes break out into heightened speeches, which are very exciting but have to come believably from them and the situation they are in. The stylistic challenge is very exciting — naturalistic but heightened.

The language, as written, is very Essex in rhythm, but Peter has agreed that we should go for a northern version. It will be interesting to see whether it translates completely or whether there are still some lifestyle differences between South Yorkshire and Essex.

Gary, Adie's straight friend, has a real crisis — he has no idea how to deal with his best friend fancying him. He has to maintain his masculine dignity in front of the other lads. Meanwhile, their female friends are caught in the crossfire; they're going 'what's going on here? don't we get a look in?'

Nick Nuttgens, March 2002

Statue Jon McKie
Adie Richard Cottyn
Dumb Dumb Scott Harris
Shelley Kim Ray
Gary Ryan Williamson
Kenny Sean McGrath
Wally Greg Hall
Cheesey Alex Crawshaw
Donna Kendra York
Karen Adele Whiting
Understudy Jon McKie

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Last modified: 2012-03-15