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Mine – Introduction

Welcome to this introduction to Mine. It has been written and directed by Polly Teale for Shared Experience Theatre Company.

The VocalEyes audio-described performance at Hampstead Theatre will be on Saturday 18th October. There will be a touch tour at 2.00pm. The introductory notes will start at 2.45 and the performance itself at 3.00pm. The performance lasts for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, with one twenty minute interval. The live audio description will be given for VocalEyes by Veronika Hyks and Willie Elliott. There now follows information about the production, which includes descriptions of the set, characters and costumes. This will be followed bysome useful information and contact details.

Shared Experience has a long established, distinctive theatrical style of performance, creating theatre that goes beyond our everyday lives, even when the subject matter is both topical and grounded in reality. Mine centres on a contemporary family, known only as Woman, Child, Man, Mother, and Sister. Two characters outside the family are given names, but other minor characters are known only by their role, such as Social worker, TV Director, Camera-person, Guest, or Removal Men. There are six cast members, five women and one man, some of the women playing more than one role. The dialogue is naturalistic, but there are moments when the style of performance takes on a dreamlike physicality. To express a character’s inner emotions they sometimes crawl on the floor, or leap into the air, bending and stretching the body, often in slow motion. The action takes place in the London area in the modern day. The setting suggests a living room in an ultra modern designer property. It has clean lines – the walls and lino floor are a neutral grey that give it a cold, almost clinical, atmosphere.


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The acting area is six metres wide by three metres deep. The back wall is four metres high, a metal-framed structure divided into three paneled sections, each around two metres wide. The middle panel slides left and right, revealing a grey walled corridor that leads to other parts of the building. The paneled walls are made of a thin, opaque carbon fibre material, so that characters can be seen walking along the corridor, their body shapes distorted through the misty material of the wall. At times an ultra violet light bathes the space, giving the figures behind the wall an ethereal glow as they walk. On the far left a single panel juts out, suggesting a side wall. On the other side of it, an open doorway leads from the main room, out to an unseen bedroom. The living room is almost devoid of furniture, save a Philip Stark ‘Ghost Chair’ made from Perspex with an oval backrest and square seat, in the style of Louis the fifteenth. The chair is set slightly to the right of the room, opposite a stylish ‘Barcelona’ chair. The backrest and seat are equally square and covered with buttoned white leather. The shiny stainless steel frame crisscrosses under the seat to form the legs. It has no armrests. There’s a matching stool that sits between the two chairs, piled with the magazine supplements from Sunday newspapers. There is no structure indicating a window, but the characters look out across the front of the stage as if looking out of a window onto an unseen garden. In the front left corner of the room nearest to us, a large traditional doll’s house stands on the floor. It is the size of a small cupboard, reaching up to chest height. It’s in the style of a regency house with three floors, it’s exterior dilapidated and grubby. The half open front reveals the three floors inside, full of tiny furniture wrapped in newspaper. A mess of children’s toys, including a doll and a model plane, lie dumped on the floor around it. They seem incongruous in the pristine emptiness of the rest of the room. The property is occupied by The Man and The Woman.


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The Woman is tall and attractive, with a mop of thick, collar length auburn hair. She wears a loose fitting, sleeveless grey silk tunic with a ruched front over a pair of dark grey jeans, tucked into a pair of grey suede boots. The Woman strides about the room with a distinctly impatient air, tossing her head back, in frustration and irritation at the slightest provocation. She is used to getting her own way, a career woman, working as a TV presenter, telling others how to live, in order to achieve her kind of life style. The woman is played by Katy Stephens The Child exists only for the Woman and cannot be seen by the other characters. Her appearance is prefaced and accompanied by eerie tinkling music. She’s about 10 years old with bobbed brown hair and a pale expressionless face. She wears a white nightdress and her feet are bare. The focus of the Child’s attention is the Woman and the doll’s house with the toys inside it. She crawls on the floor, stretching out her arms towards The Woman or cuddles her doll, her knees drawn up in front of her in a defensive pose. The Woman sometimes mirrors the child’s insecurities in her own posture and movement, but when she’s interacting with the Child, her tense, brittle everyday expression softens into a fond smile. The Child is played by Sophie Stone. The Man is married to The Woman. He is tall, long limbed and slim with a patrician air about him. He has sandy coloured hair and strong high forehead and he frequently wears a worried frown. In daytime, he dresses in a dark grey shirt with grey trousers, which mirror the ultra modern, stylish colour scheme of the property in which he and his wife live, and which he designed. At night, he throws on a fluffy white toweling bathrobe and then he’s barelegged and barefooted. The man is played by Alistair Petrie. The Mother is in her mid 50’s with glossy black hair. She is the mother of The Woman and has the air of someone who has for some time been able to pay for the best of everything . Her clothes look expensive - a brown leather coat over a green, black , brown and white vividly patterned wrap-around dress with patent black court shoes. She carries a brown handbag. Her shoulders


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are slightly rounded, giving her a defensive air. The Mother is played by Marion Bailey. The Sister is the Woman’s warm- hearted younger sibling, and a complete contrast to her older sister. She has messy dark shoulder length hair, wears a shapeless grey long- sleeved cardigan over a green and gold shiny top and jeans, with a slight belly. A real earth mother, she is never still, always keeping half an eye out for what her children are getting up to. The Sister is played by Clare Lawrence Moody She also plays the couple’s Lithuanian cleaner Katya who has dark hair, pinned up at the back. She wears a blue cleaner’s overall, black stockings and white plimsols. Beneath her overall, she has a dark patterned blouse and a denim skirt. Katya demonstrates the maturity and optimism of someone who has already seen a lot of life and the challenges that it brings. Rose, is a girl from the other side of the tracks, a drug addict, a drinker and a smoker, who feeds her habits by selling her body on the streets. She is in her early twenties. Her light brown hair is scrunched back in a tight pony tail, her puffy face has a pasty complexion. She wears a short white padded bomber jacket with a fur lined hood, over a pink top which rides up, exposing her bare midriff, and grey sweat pants with two white stripes down the side and a logo on the front. When she’s out on the street she puts on black high heeled slouch boots, otherwise she wears trainers. Rose is played by Lorraine Stanley Throughout the performance the lighting and the use of video, projected onto the set evoke changes in mood, atmosphere and location. For example a projection of heavy grey clouds looms overhead, covering the back wall of the theatre, visible over the top of the back wall of the apartment. At night, coloured beads of light from a high office block in the distance are projected onto the wall itself, as if we are looking out over a city. At other times projected moving video images not only mark the scene changes, but express The Woman’s unconscious. These black and white


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films have a dreamlike quality. They are grainy and slightly out of focus, blurring as the images within them move: The first is in the interior of an old house. A young girl’s white nightdress flares in slow motion as she runs barefoot, through endless dark corridors towards a doorway of light. Her straight, black hair swings over her shoulders, though we never see her face. In another projection, the child runs through a wood beside a fast flowing river. Again in slow motion, the water makes blurred scores across the wall, as it flows. In yet another image we are transported to a side street off a busy city road. Orange globes dimly illuminate the almost impenetrable darkness of the wet pavement. In the distance, cars and lorries appear and disappear fleetingly as they drive past the end of the street. There are a few minor characters who serve as punctuation marks within the narrative. The Social Worker is a woman in her mid forties, with dark hair combed back in a pony tail and a kindly, sensible face. She wears a mauve vnecked sweater over grey flannel trousers, black loafers and carries a roomy black bag. The TV Director is a dark haired woman who wears a black waistcoat over a loose white shirt and baggy black trousers, with a light meter on a chain around her neck. She has a look of intense concentration as she follows The Woman who is presenting to camera. The Camera-person is a tall woman in a woolly hat and woollen coat who carries the camera on her shoulder and doesn’t speak. The Guest comes to the apartment which the Man uses as a showcase to attract future commissions. She is middle aged, raven haired and wreathed in smiles, wearing a black velvet tunic with a pale green velvet panel at the front, over black velvet trousers and high heels. She nurses a very large glass of wine and her steps seem a little unsteady as she wanders around the room. Production Credits Mine was designed by Angela Simpson.


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The music and sound designer was Peter Salem. Lighting was designed by Colin Greenfell. The Video and projection design was by Thomas Gray, for the Gray Circle. The production was directed by Polly Teale. Useful Information and Contact Details

To contact VocalEyes, call us on 020 7375 1043. You can receive a copy of the free VocalEyes Newsletter with full details on all our work by calling us or by following the links on the VocalEyes accessible website. The Newsletter is available in print, Braille, on CD or via e-mail. The website address is VocalEyes is a charity funded by Arts Council England. #