Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Small Change
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Small Change

by Peter Gill

Peter Gill Festival, Sheffield

Crucible Studio, Sheffield, 23 May 2002

First performed: Royal Court Theatre, 8 July 1976

Small Change is about two mothers and two sons: their attachments and emotional complexity: the endeavour of the two sons to make sense of their complicated inheritance and their adolescent friendship later in life.

Thoughts from the Director:

I've rarely read a play so dense and full of colour, so full of the unsaid, as Small Change. It is a poetic torrent of yearning, fury, and regret at missed opportunities; to express love, to break away, to prevent tragedy. The world of the play — its atmospheres, smell, music — is intoxicating, and the detail clearly full to the brim with honesty and depth.

It is not full, however, of props and furniture; there are no kitchen sinks or French windows to cling to. The time-frame and location change so frequently that it is clear the play can only exist in the words, intentions, and physical relationships of one body to another. This has focused me onto the inescapable reality of directing Small Change: capture the bitter truth of it, the raw humanity, or fail. There is nowhere to hide.

Casting a play is simple, and extremely difficult. The acting demands of this play are considerable. All the parts are big, some massive; the accent is specific and common to all of them; they never leave the stage, so the levels of commitment and stamina required are terrific. And, somehow, they have to be twelve, then twenty-seven, then fifteen, and look like they could be someone's mum, or someone else's son. One character took one day to find, another took four weeks. Two followed each other into the audition room at the end of a long and fruitless day.

So we're cast, with a few weeks to go until rehearsals start. Next week I will meet with Peter again to ask him another bagful of questions, and I'll be lucky if I get answers to more than ten per cent. That's mostly because we'll get distracted and sidetracked, but also because he claims not to know many of the answers. I don't believe him, but I do trust him; he knows that I must direct this, not him, and he knows also that if I keep looking to the humanity, the truth of the play, I will find answers enough without him having to guide me.

Rufus Norris, March 2002

Gerard James Loye James Loye, Small Change, 2002 Training: Welsh College of Music and Drama. Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire (Bristol Old Vic); Bob Acres in The Rivals (Salisbury Playhouse). Radio: Shelley in Who Shot Shelley?, Nikolka in The White Guard (BBC).
Mrs Harte Susan Brown Susan Brown, Small Change, 2002 Theatre: Marge in Cardiff East written and directed by Peter Gill (Royal National Theatre); Mrs Heyst in Easter, the Nurse in Romeo And Juliet, Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, Kay Tonerre in Bad Weather (Royal Shakespeare Company); Road, Mother in Shirley, Hettie in Downfall, Mrs Farrell and Carmen Proetta in Gibraltar Strait (Royal Court); Jenny Ross in Butterfly Kiss (Almeida); Poncia in The House Of Bernarda Alba (Gate); Ruth Ellis in One Reputedly Glamorous Woman (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield); Mrs Sullen in The Beaux' Stratagem, Mrs Arbuthnot in A Woman Of No Importance, Eve and Lilith in Back To Methuselah, Millament in The Way Of The World, Helen in The Vortex (Cambridge Theatre Company); Stella in You Be Ted And I'll Be Sylvia (Hampstead). Television: Road; Loving Hazel; Coronation Street; Prime Suspect; Nona; Absolute Hell; Prince; Making-Out; Paradise Club; The Sharp End; Casualty; The Bill; Kissing The Gunner's Daughter — Ruth Rendell Mysteries; September Song; Lovejoy; The Riff-Raff Element; A Touch Of Frost; Wokenwell; Anorak Of Fire; Taggart; Where The Heart Is; Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased); Peak Practice; Holby City; EastEnders; The Vice and to be shown later this year Blue Dove and Wire In The Blood.
Vincent Damian O'Hare Damian O'Hare, Small Change, 2002 Training: L.A.M.D.A. Theatre: Wounded Women (Merlin International Theatre, Budapest); Juno And The Paycock (Donmar Warehouse); Richard III and Coriolanus (Almeida, New York and Tokyo tour); Love's Labour's Lost (English Touring Theatre); The Magic Toyshop (Shared Experience). Television: Ultimate Force. Radio: The Words Are Strange; Under Goliath (Radio 4).
Mrs Driscoll Maureen Beattie Maureen Beattie, Small Change, 2002 Her father is Scottish comedian, Johnny Beattie. Theatre: work includes Lady Lurewell in The Constant Couple, Lady MacDuff in Macbeth, Cordelia in King Lear, Mary in Mary And Lizzie and Maggie in The Man Who Came To Dinner (RSC); various roles in Waiting Room, Germany (Royal Court); Emilia in Michael Boyd's production of Othello (Lyric, Hammersmith); Kate in The Taming Of The Shrew (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield); The Governess in The Innocents (Coventry); Annie in The Windows Of Clyth, Jess in Hard To Get (Traverse Theatre); Maggie in What Every Woman Knows (The Scottish Theatre Company); Gemma in The Chinese Wolf (The Bush); Damon in Damon And Pythias (Shakespeare's Globe); Candida in Candida (Theatre Royal, Plymouth) and Hester in The Deep Blue Sea (Nottingham); Emilia in Sam Mendes' production of Othello (Royal National Theatre). Maureen has most recently played the White Witch in the RSC's The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe in London and Medea in Liz Lochhead's version of Medea (Theatre Babel). Television: Maureen has appeared as a regular character in Casualty; The Chief; Bramwell; All Night Long; Wing And A Prayer. For Screen Two Strand she played Marie in The Long Roads in which she appeared with her sister, Louise Beattie, and Beattie in Ruffian Hearts. Other TV work includes Taggart; The Bill; Bad Girls; City Central and The Last Musketeer. Film: Dracula in Dracula: Resurrection (Miramax); Brendan in Callas Forever; White in Resident Evil, Philip in Braveheart.
Director Rufus Norris Theatre: recent productions Tall Stories with The Shout (Vienna Festival); Afore Night Come (Young Vic) and Mish Alia Ruman for Al Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah, Palestine. Other productions include Under The Blue Sky, About The Boy, Clubbed Out (Royal Court); My Dad's Cornershop (Birmingham Rep); Two Women and Dirty Butterfly (Soho); Small Craft Warnings (Pleasance, London); Sea Tongue (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival); While I Was Waiting (ENO Studio).

For his own company Wink, he has directed Strike Gently Away From Body, The People Downstairs and The Art Of Random Whistling (Young Vic, Studio), Rosa Carnivora and The Lizzie Play (Arts Threshold).

Winner of the Outstanding Newcomer Award at the Evening Standard Awards 2001 for Afore Night Come, Rufus was awarded an Arts Foundation Fellowship this year. He is Associate Director at the Young Vic.

Designer Jessica Curtis 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

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