the well play

Last month, Salford Arts Theatre cancelled their theatre performance of ‘The Well’, but at the end of December, they are showing a filmed version online for free.

The play was scheduled to take place from Monday 23 November until Thursday 26 November 2020, live at the theatre.

But complications with lockdown 2.0 and Salford being placed back into Tier 3 meant the entire performance had to be rearranged.

Helen O’Hara in character as ‘Phoebe’ ready to film the performance. Image: Ellie Rose.

The cast has spent weeks rehearsing at the Salford Arts Theatre and will now show a pre-recorded version of the play on social media.

Ellie Rose, a University of Salford Performing Arts graduate from 2008, wrote and directed ‘The Well’.

She described the difficulty of postponing the live performances and the ‘challenges and experiences’ rehearsing and filming the play under the Covid-19 restrictions.

She said: “It is hard to plan anything at the moment; the original plan was to perform the play as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe festival, but that was cancelled.

“We have filmed it, and it will be free to watch on YouTube and Instagram from December 27 to December 30 [2020]”.

Helen O’Hara (Phoebe) and Rebecca Downing (Cecilia) mid-rehearsals. Image: Ellie Rose.

“The time and links will be published will be published on Salford Arts Theatre’s social media [Facebook, Instagram and Twitter]”.

She continued: “We will be putting it on live at Salford Arts Theatre next year, but we don’t know when yet.

“We are aiming for April, so we will see how it goes and how the filmed version is received.

“The aim for the future is to do the festival tour hopefully, but we will see how it goes and what we think of it”.

Ms. Rose and the cast of ‘The Well’ explained what the play is about and each of their roles.

Ms. Rose said: “The play is about two best friends, Phoebe and Cecilia, who are trapped in a world that they don’t understand, and together they are trying to find a way to get out of it”.

Rebecca Downing, who plays Cecilia, said: “[Cecilia] is a central character to the piece and dictates the world they are situated in and is in this cycle of depression and misery.

“She has gotten very used to the comfort of this world, and her relationship with Phoebe is what drives the play”.

Helen O’Hara, who plays Phoebe, said: “[Phoebe] is the best friend of Cecilia, and is the busy one who represents the people around those affected by depression.

“Those people who perhaps don’t know what to say or don’t know what to do so they try and fix it away and distract those with depression”.

Ben Rigby, who plays the Therapist, said: “I am the therapist for a couple of brief therapy sessions which don’t go according to plan, but whether they actually help is another question”.

Ms. Rose added: “It is quite physical; there is a lot of physical humour and storytelling, so we had to do a lot of physical work for the first week of rehearsals.

“It was all about how we move through scenes and how we tell the story with our bodies.

“In later rehearsals, we focused on how language elevates the story”.

She continued: “There are three acts, the first act is the most physical and the last act is purely verbal, so it is the disintegration from physicality into just language”.

Ms. Rose briefly discussed with the cast how they made rehearsals work during lockdown 2.0 and Tier 3:

The cast also expressed their disappointment of being unable to perform the play to a live audience.

Mr. Rigby said: “For it all to disappear out of our reach and not knowing when we are going to perform it in front of an audience is really troubling.

“None of us know what theatre is going to be like in eight months or even in a year, and that is really scary”.

Ms. Rose added: “When you rehearse and finally perform it to an audience, you learn so much about the piece, so it was weird to film it without one”.

Ms. Downing said: “It is especially difficult for comedy as well because you are sat waiting, and you think gosh, there is no laughter”.

Helen O’Hara (Phoebe) and Rebecca Downing (Cecilia) mid-rehearsals. Image: Ellie Rose.

Ms. Rose said: “The Salford Arts Theatre has been fantastic in supporting the piece; we worked together to put the online performance on for free.

“We were able to apply for an arts council bid and were successful in that.

“We wanted to be able to allow people who have been really affected by losing money [freelancers, creatives, students, and young people] to go to the theatre for free.

“We have been fortunate to have that partnership with Salford Arts Theatre to allow that to happen.

“In the future, hopefully, the live shows we do we will be able to offer for free as well”.

Ms. Rose concluded: “There is also an option to donate if you watch the online performance and enjoy it.

“Any donations made will fund the future of the show”.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *