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Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2003



Story by Paul Nelson

THE winner of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award has been chosen by a distinguished panel of experts, which included John Fawcett, Ian Spink and Mark Ravenhill. They chose Silver Screen Shower Scene: A Live Film Project by Dan Hine and Kirsty Housely.

The award-winning production explores the differences of two different media, live theatre and film, and combines them to make a 'live film', which destroys the established ideas of theatrical presentation and carves out a new visual vocabulary for the stage.

Dan Hine explains: "A film script tends to be less dependent on exposition in the narrative.

"There is no need for one character to state that another 'looks nervous' when all you need do is show a bead of sweat in close-up, for example.

"Images subliminally transmit meaning to the viewer, whilst text-based theatre tends to hold more meaning within its dialogue. Through editing a film can also cater for seamless shifts in time and space, making it pacier than a play, which would be unlikely to have three scenes on one page with no dialogue.

"In terms of the production itself, we are aiming for an expressionistic rather than literal form of design and performance. Rather than having elaborate wheeled-on sets and innumerable props, we envisage a much more innovative use of a few key design features, physical performance, sound and lighting to create the desired effects. Minimalism is also essential to aid the flow and dynamism of rapidly switching 'camera angles' and scenes."

In order to counter the structural disparities of the different genres Dan and Kirsty have chosen to commission a screenwriter, rather than a playwright, for the text and have enlisted film producer and editor, Matt King, and novelist and screenwriter, Nicholas Blincoe. The rest of the team includes producer, Kate McGrath, choreographer, Amit Lehav, designer, Stuart Heyes, and lighting designer, Ian Scott.

The runners-up for the award were Jessica Hartley with Equus, Flaming Theatre with The Jarman Garden, Lusty Juventus with Superflux, Filter with Corpus, Pigeon Theatre with The Housekeeper, Mapping 4D with Slender, and Dominic Leclerc with The Boy Blue.

At £30,000, the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award is the largest on offer to emerging practitioners in experimental theatre, and Silver Screen Shower Scene: A Live Film Project will be performed for a three-week run at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith in November.

Romilly Walton Masters, the project leader of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust, said: "With a very strong short list, where each applicant was of such a high standard, selecting an overall winner was extremely difficult. Dan Hine and Kirsty Housely's proposal however, stood out for its bold, fresh vision.

"The Trust is very excited to be in a position to support these emerging creative talents. We have every confidence that the production at Riverside Studios will be a great success."

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