The National Theatre Live screening of the new play 'Prima Facie' by Suzie Miller in Woodbridge's Riverside Cinema last week was extraordinary.
Sold out weeks ahead, the audience was wrapt throughout the two hour, one woman performance and broke into applause at its conclusion.
Jodie Comer played the part of a criminal defence barrister who is forced to see proceedings from a different perspective as events unfold.
She was phenomenal, barely drawing breath throughout the performance. She ran the gamut of emotions, moved the furniture, ate, drank and changed her clothes on stage, and endured a rain storm. And we were completely gripped by all that she was and all that she said.
Beyond the personal drama, there was a strong message behind the play which has been written by a former barrister. It sought to highlight the failings of the legal system in tackling sexual assault in particular, but spelt out a salutary message that in any trial, there is no real pursuit of 'truth'. Ultimately the jury is swayed by the most persuasive storyteller, whether that is for the defence or the prosecution.
We all have stories to tell - to others and to ourselves - and this is explored in the memoir by Tanya Shadrick 'The Cure for Sleep' (scroll down for more details). I was fascinated by her roles as writer in residence at a swimming pool, but also a hospice. Here people, when confronted by the end of life, displayed an urgency in sharing their stories and, once done, were very much at peace.
We draw on our life experience in all sorts of stories and our book group discussion tomorrow evening will explore how Elspeth Barker's childhood informed her novel 'O Caledonia'. If you'd like to come along to the meeting, please let me know by replying to this email and I'll send you the details.
Thank you for reading.