I went to see Interruptions wondering how the subject of leadership would be treated and how Director Guy Woolf had managed to transform Stephen Jeffreys’ play for twelve actors into one for only six actors. I left the theatre with a smile on my face saying ‘It was amazing, powerful… questioning both our history and reality.’ I ended up being impressed by the pertinence of the actors and the relevance of the questioning the author raises. Guy Woolf directed the play and managed to keep the audience out of breath for two hours. The cast is from represent, a theatre company with six actors who all complimented each other. Their symbiosis can be admired throughout the whole performance.
Interruptions is a play originally devised by Stephen Jeffreys and Annabel Arden. They used an impressive process to create this play. He chose to represent seven essential human activities taking place in very different locations, applying the same scheme of proceedings starting with an introduction, continuing with a development, and ending with a conclusion. Annabel Arden was working with a company of twelve actors and in the morning they were improvising on one human activity in which Stephen Jeffreys had written twenty-seven actions. In the afternoon Stephen Jeffreys was writing the play getting his inspirations directly from the morning’s exercises. From this collaborative work, he made a powerful play in which we are never at rest, waiting for the next Interruption to strike.
We are directly immersed in a pre-election time where a group of communists wonder if they should re-elect the same left party which did not do anything, but is still better than the other parties. As a French native, I cannot but relate to the present political situation in France where presidential elections are coming up in a few months. This first scene talks about why the people don’t want to get involved in politics: they used to believe in change but it did not bring about anything great and the state never cared about their lives. In each scene, we follow new characters evolving into very different atmospheres, and every time the political creeps in: everything is political. The transition from one place to another is always powerful, taking place under a bombardment, a shooting, or in song. There are only six tables on stage, but the emotions conveyed by the actors and the music reflect tension and suspense so strongly.
This play is bringing back political theatre to the stage after a long period of Covid and it feels good to be questioning our social reality. Written in 2001, this play could not be more relevant and accurate to the current time, echoing the recent political events. Stephen Jeffreys is playing between the macro and the micro-level, looking at how political decisions can affect people’s lives and how each individual is part of society and thus can act upon, in their individual capacity for change. Annabel Arden explained that the play carries a political message of non-violence and emphasizes the importance of open discussion.
This powerful play is a gem of accuracy both in performance and approach of major societal subjects. If you have the opportunity go watch it, you won’t regret it, Guy Woolf’s and the actors’ work is forceful.
All performances, classes and courses at Jackson’s Lane Theatre can be found here: https://www.jacksonslane.org.uk/whats-on/
Cast of represent performing Interruptions – Photo © Guy-Bell
Reviewed by Alix Berthelot–Moritz- Alix is a volunteer writer for Abundant Art. Originally from Normandy, France, she follows her passion for journalism and art by studying at the European Political and Social Sciences of UCL, London. As an international student living in London, she is determined to fully experience and discover the entirety of the city’s vibrant arts scene, and share the beauty of it through her writing.