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Emma Carding and John Knowles

Weathering the storms and storming Prague

Three theatre companies from Hastings storm the Prague Fringe Festival. Local playwright and staunch local theatre advocate, John Knowles writes.

It’s quite an achievement getting into a festival like The Prague Fringe, as this is a curated festival and not a free-for-all, so to have one company from Hastings represented is something to be proud of, to have three companies is something quite unique and a true announcement that should put Hastings on the UK and European theatre map.

For anyone who hasn’t been to the Prague Fringe Festival it’s a stunning gem, small, well presented and a delight to be at… but it hasn’t all been easy for the Hastings based companies: Emily Carding, (with Caliban’s Codex and Hamlet an Experience) had to endure two cancelled flights, three UK airports and hours sitting in an aircraft that never took off. In the end, of her three planned Caliban shows, she did two in one day after finally arriving at 3am! Was it worth it? Steve Gove, Prague Fringe Founder and Director, seems to think so: “Its wonderful ! Theatre at its best.”  

Other reviews also seem to think so: “Caliban finally comes into his own – battered and bruised, hideous but full of intelligence and cunning and feeling. Emily Carding fully inhabits this creature (for he is proud not to be completely human). He rages, curses, wails and mourns, furious and frustrated. And alone. How disappointing that the show was only able to be performed twice on one day, but it will be performed again. It must be.”

Emily’s second show, Hamlet an Experience, also comes in for praise, especially for the bravery in using audience members as characters: “This is dangerous territory.  Any one of the recruited players can shatter the moment, break the spell, especially given Emily’s intense performance. I am once again amazed at her delivery. The text resonated in ways I had never considered.”  And as if this wasn’t enough, Emily left the festival and flew straight to Romania to perform her other one woman show, Richard III. Stamina!

Hastings was also represented by Caravan of Love, a new play which was originally read at Hastings ‘First Heard’ and which featured a cast of three talented local actors (inc Gareth Wildig, Fiona Hardy and Patrick Kealey). The play, written by  Tom Daldry,  has been described as a ‘love-child of Beckett, Pinter and Orton’ – ‘dark, disturbing and with a streak of black humour’. Directed by Patrick Kealey this is part of a double bill of relationship based plays which Theatre Nation have developed.

Caliban’s Codex was written by John Knowles and produced by It’s Not Us (now Fetch Theatre)

Hamlet an Experience was produced and written by Brite Theatre.

Caravan of Love  was written by Tom Daldry and produced by Theatre Nation.

Posted 10:02 Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 In: Performance

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