Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Mean Tears
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Mean Tears

by Peter Gill

Peter Gill Festival, Sheffield

Crucible Studio, Sheffield, 24 May 2002

First performed: Cottesloe Theatre, 22 July 1987

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 pain ameliorated.

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 the performer.

Paul Miller, March 2002

Julian Stephen Billington Stephen Billington, Mean Tears, 2002Training: 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.
Stephen Christopher Fulford Christopher Fulford, Mean Tears, 2002Theatre: 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; Ploughman's Lunch.
Paul Alan Gilchrist Alan Gilchrist, Mean Tears, 2002Training: 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.
Celia Clare Wilkie Clare Wilkie, Mean Tears, 2002Theatre: 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.
Nell Claire Price Claire Price, Mean Tears, 2002Training: 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 House.
Director Paul Miller 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).
Designer Jessica Curtis 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); Sugar Sugar

(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).

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