Tales from the Golden Age

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A Festival of monologues about love, hate, death, revenge and other serious matters

To be performed at The Canal Cafe Theatre,13 Westbourne Terrace Rd, London W2 6NG From 7th to 14th December 2020.  Five double bills commencing at 7.30pm:

 

Mon 7th Dec: The New Normal & A Strange Romance

Thurs 10th Dec: Iago & Call Back

Fri11th Dec: The Triumph of Evil & Infantophobia

Sat 12th Dec: Transhuman & Trivial Dispute

Mon 14th Dec: Marlowe's Ghost & The Beast

A Strange Romance

Can you fall in love with someone if you don't know their gender?  Peter is about to find out when he falls for the sexually ambiguous ‘Blue’.

Their relationship poses a challenge to Peter’s identity, forcing him to face some difficult questions: To what extent are we all encouraged to conform to narrow culturally defined stereotypes, to label and to pigeon-hole ourselves?  Are these labels a form of straight jacket, by adapting to them do we compromise our true nature and can we defy the ultimate label of gender?

Casting caution to the wind, Peter’s passion for Blue provokes prejudice and hostility from friends and family in a tale of sexual liberation and shattered taboos.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Tom Everatt

Videography by Howard White

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Adapted from Boy Stroke Girl by Ian Dixon Potter

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

REVIEWS:

“A remarkably purposeful piece of Ian Dixon Potter's writing.”

 

“Theatre at its best is about creating a space to explore an idea. Among a fairly impressive vintage car collection, this play raises the bonnet to examine the engines of relationships from many contrasting angles.”

 

“an outside perspective allowing both contrast and commentary without distracting from the central character’s own dissection of his feelings.”

 

“Everatt is very much led by the dialogue. Howard White’s videography provides the cutaways and angles needed to bring pace to a necessarily slow exploration and final revelation. In fact, the ending is cuter than that”

 

“Unlike live theatre audiences being pushed at the moment into involuntary bubbles, this is a self-created one containing many fluid colours. To be allowed a glimpse inside is a rare and intriguing new experience worth seeking.”

 

★★★★★ Theatre Monkey

"Everatt is absolutely compelling in the role”

“A Strange Romance poses a simple question – if one is fortunate enough to fall in love with another human being, does it matter how the other define themselves in terms of gender? - Dixon Potter provides exactly the right answer to his own question.”

 

“Everatt persuades us that knowing or not knowing is missing the point about love.”

 

“A fiercely intelligent script”

 

“Thomas Everatt’s faultless performance.”

 

★★★★ Louis Mazzini for London Theatre 1

"Tales from the Golden Age, a series of monologues, has been one of the treats of the summer".

 

“Ian Dixon Potter’s series of monologues continues with this winning love story between a Cis man and a trans person"

 

“possibly Dixon Potter’s most ambitious tale so far”

“Despite the complex politics behind trans issues, Dixon Potter’s writing is plain, and never becomes didactic. With moments of gentle humour the story is unexpected, and across its 40-minute running time, it’s never quite clear where it’s headed.”

“Tom Everatt is eager and bright-eyed in his storytelling” “at the end of the monologue that we glimpse other layers to Peter’s character.”

“Dixon Potter plans to take five of these Tales of the Golden Age to the White Bear Theatre this autumn, and we can only hope that A Strange Romance is one of them.”

 

★★★★ Richard Maguire for The Reviews Hub

Trivial Dispute

 

Two worlds collide when self made millionaire Trevor, owner of the third largest chain of tanning boutiques in East Surrey, committed Tory and card carrying Brexiteer, suddenly finds himself at odds with a retired academic, the cosmopolitan and liberal minded Ewan. Although at first a trivial dispute, Trevor resorts to unusual tactics and matters start to escalate...

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Neil Summerville

Videography by Howard White

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

REVIEWS:

“It’s a difficult task to keep the attention of an audience, even with a likeable character, but to tell a story through the eyes of a protagonist whom we find arrogant and repulsive is a true skill. A skill which relies heavily on the  director and the actor to find a rhythm which pushes you away before clawing you back in as the stakes stack higher and higher.”

“Summerville gives an excellent portrayal of the self-obsessed Trevor. Giving his character some bite at the right moments, Summerville manages to make Trevor not entirely pleasant, but frustratingly interesting. Dixon Potter challenges the viewer to sit back and listen to Trevor’s testimony without interrupting. The conflict is as much between Trevor and Ewan, as it is between Trevor and the audience.”

“Trivial Dispute is a play that lingers with you. I spent a long time turning the characters of Trevor and Ewan over and over in my mind. Their differences should not lead to such a heated conflict, but in Dixon Potter’s world, their differences aren’t exactly trivial.”

 

★★★★ Alexandra Wilbraham for A Younger Theatre

"Dixon Potter draws out the everyday experience of this community and the ways in which small issues become quickly magnified into personal crusades"

 

"Trivial Dispute is a working class story about groups who feel left behind, where ideas of patriotism, nationalism, class and wealth contend, filtered through the day-to-day experiences of the people they affect the most. As frustrating as Trevor is – certainly to the metropolitan liberal elite he despises – he is never a caricature and always a product of his age, status, geography and experiences, while Dixon Potter doesn’t make the unseen Ewan any less appealing"

"As Trevor, actor Neil Summerville gives a compellingly off-kilter performance of a man whose reputation is as prized as his classic car collection."

"The monologue neatly captures the voice of a generation of people who feel disenfranchised from the global pace and who are powerfully entrenched in their own worlds. We may not like what they have to say but as Dixon Potter creates a snowball effect within the drama it is clear how easily the individual and the state can lose control."

★★★★ Maryam Philpott for The Reviews Hub

“Some excellent observations are made about social media etiquette and how words on a screen may not be taken with the sort of tongue-in-cheek manner that would be more discernible in spoken conversation. A startling reminder, too, that one should never take oneself too seriously, even in a global pandemic.”

“Patience is rewarded for those of us who feel we have had our fill (and then some) of discussions about the consequences of That Referendum in 2016.”

“one little lie is covered up by another one, and another, and so on, until it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an entire network of untruths. Eventually, of course, it all starts to unravel, albeit in a very British and understated way,”

“I wouldn’t have guessed the plot’s ending from a mile off.”

★★★★ Chis Omaweng for London Theatre 1

“For those who find Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads” a little twee, Ian Dixon Potter has come up with an up-to-the-minute antidote” “Increasingly edgy as his tale unfolds, he holds out attention for the entire 40 minutes. The writing is equally consistent. The tone changes around the mid-point as we shift from everyday life into something considerably more personal and toxic”

“Worth a look as a lively diversion and bookmarking the channel for future episodes.”

★★★★ Theatre Monkey

Marlowe's Ghost

William Shakespeare, now retired and living in Stratford-upon-Avon is haunted by the ghost of a fellow playwright, assassinated nearly a quarter century before.
Marlowe's Ghost provides an answer to two great mysteries; the reason why Shakespeare aged forty seven, retired at the height of his powers and also why he shunned the recognition due to him, even during his prolific years, to the extent that there are many who question the authorship of his plays.
“Two things motivate men above all else, the desire for immortality and the desire for revenge. In my work I satiated both desires but the latter was far stronger.”
William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon 1615

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

 

Adapted from 'The Dead Shepherd' by Robert Pope & Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Mark Shaer

Videography by Howard White

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Costume for the live performances by Cloud Downey.

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

REVIEWS:

 

 

“Marlowe’s Ghost is an enjoyable and relaxedly educational monologue.”

“Dixon Potter is a very capable writer and here demonstrates considerable skill in the way that he presents a great deal of material in a very accessible manner.”   

“Shaer makes an entertaining guide through some of the darker aspects of the theatre world in the late sixteenth century.”

“production values are surprisingly high”

“The Golden Age Theatre Company is new to me but, on the strength of this and other productions that are also available on YouTube, it is certainly one to watch, especially when the veil is finally lifted and we see the return of theatre proper.”

★★★★ Tony Medawar for London Theatre 1

“Mark Shaer’s performance is compelling. Indeed, deserving of the attention of casting directors looking for a well-modulated speech-pattern and steadiness over the course of a lengthy scene requiring animation in ways not disturbing an overall effect of stillness.”

“Howard White keeps the videography in sympathy, altering the angle only occasionally to relieve monotony. Neil Thompson serves up appropriately period music to do likewise.”

Dixon Potter manages to mix the few known facts with reasonable conjecture and a little dramatic licence to season”

“A neat piece for those wishing to learn a little more about Shakespeare’s often overshadowed contemporaries.”

★★★★ Theatre Monkey

“Mark Shaer holds Shakespeare in high regard, with an intrinsically powerful stance, an enviable clarity and expression in this monologue.”

“As engaging as it is educational, Potter’s writing staves off a stale vibe, instead, capitalising on the bard’s life which was as dramatic as his onstage creations. Thankfully refusing to bury the past, Marlowe’s Ghost shines a light into the bleaker corners of the late sixteenth century, not solely diving into the history of the bard but the fundamental nature of script-writing, of theatre’s history.”

“With a delicate sense of humour, Shaer’s recitation of the monologue is a powerhouse in control. Never allowing emotion to overflow, it takes considerable nerve and robust skill to deliver a speech laden with historical facts (all with a side serving of dramatic liberty of course), and Shaer excels. Exuberant prowess in his conviction of the script, clarity, and diction, he has fun with it, savouring every inch of the role.”

“Love, life, faith, art – death. Everything is dissected and composed with an astute sense of writing in Marlowe’s Ghost, which transcends history and steps out into the contemporary era as an engaging monologue which draws on an immense pool of mystery and wit. Carried by a strong performance from Shaer, this adaptation of Potter and Robert Pope’s The Dead Shepherd makes for a compelling and accessible piece.”

★★★★ (Three and a half stars) Dominic Corr for The Reviews Hub

Transhuman

Given the chance, would you choose to be immortal? To expand your mind beyond the boundaries of human experience?

What would it feel like to upload your consciousness to the cloud? Would you yearn for interaction with the physical world?

Transhuman explores issues of mortality, identity and personality - challenging our notions of what it means to be human.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Thomasin Lockwood

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter

Edited by Howard White

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

REVIEWS:

“What it means to be human becomes the focus of Dixon Potter’s story as the lead character is pushed to further extremes in her pursuit of continued existence.” 

“In keeping with Dixon Potter’s other work, this references a notion of British protectionism and its consequences for those with few financial options. The commercialisation of death and its effects on the living are chillingly represented and as Transhuman plays out, the true transition comes from the seemingly harmless longing for immortality becoming a practical monstrousness in its stead.”

 

“Thomasin Lockwood convincingly suggests all of these facets as her character’s experience evolves and warps as the audience is given greater knowledge of the circumstances of the transition and the digital afterlife. Lockwood introduces a reticence later in the performance, almost an undercurrent of guilt that competes with an overriding determination to carry on living in the fullest sense.”

“Transhuman develops a rather nasty bite. There are notes of regret, resentment even bitterness about her physical absence that lead the story to some much darker places."  "an intriguing twist"

★★★★ The Reviews Hub

“Transhuman is particularly strong at evoking this desperation to keep living, whatever the cost.” “an intriguing twist”

 

“Dixon Potter manages to personalise with greater intimacy than usual the potential benefits and restrictions such possibilities may bring. As a short work intended for the stage, this crams in considerably more ideas than the initial scenario suggests.”

 

“Lockwood provides a study in stillness and concentration even as her tale builds.”

 

“Her character holds our attention for the entire recording. Dixon Potter avoids in the main science-fiction cliché, presenting rationally some likely unfeasible ideas in a manner making the story convincing.”

 

“This is the fundamental question: can human existence be reduced to bytes, and what might the effect be? The answer is an interesting half hour.”

 

★★★★ Theatre Monkey

The New Normal

 

The year is 2024. A dark cloud hangs over a broken and vastly impoverished nation, its influence and standing in the world severely diminished. What remains of the United Kingdom is isolated from its neighbours, the union with Scotland has collapsed and war had broken out across the heavily fortified Irish border. Society is riven with division and conflict creating an atmosphere of enmity and distrust. One half of the population despises and derides the other half. The authority of the populist government has been fatally undermined by their inept and short-sighted handling of both the coronavirus pandemic and the nation's chaotic and destructive departure from the European Union. Against this background and against all the odds, Dorothy has finally found a new carer.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Kate Carthy

News bulletins read by Robin Lustig

Videography by Howard White

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Adapted from 'Little England' by Ian Dixon Potter

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

REVIEW:

“Carthy’s portrayal of the character is so highly convincing.”

 

“Dark humour consistently permeates the show.”

 

“The concluding remarks are a fine and intriguing twist, and a viable solution for the trio, though probably not one Dorothy had previously envisaged.”

 

“This monologue is thought-provoking and absorbing.”

★★★★ Chris Omaweng for London Theatre1

Infantophobia

Carla, one of that rare breed of women, who harbours a powerful aversion for children, is hoping to save her old friend Roger from being drawn into the clutches of Sue, a woman who desperately wants to 'start a family' (as she puts it).

For most of his adult life Roger was equally unenthusiastic about the prospect of fatherhood but has he now changed his mind?  Carla meets Sue at a dinner party held by Ann, herself prematurely aged by the rigours of parenthood and struggling to control her unruly and malevolent children whilst being constantly reminded by Carla of the glittering career she was forced to give up.

The battle lines are drawn.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Julia Faulkner

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter

Edited by Howard White

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

REVIEWS:

"Carla neither wants children herself nor can tolerate the children of others. Invited to a dinner party where her old university friends either possess or crave them, her views are unpopular to say the least. Ian Dixon Potter is back in Alan Bennett territory with the writing here"

 

"Faulkner provides an economical, sometimes bitter delivery. A difficult subject to discuss without losing audience sympathy."

★★★★ Theatre Monkey

 

IAGO

In the wake of the 'Black Lives Matter' campaign, people from formerly under-represented groups have been elevated into positions of power and responsibility.  Most of us accept that for too long, able bodied white men have had an unfair advantage but not everyone agrees with positive discrimination.  Iago, an experienced soldier passed over for promotion in favour of Cassius, plots to wreak dreadful revenge on his commanding officer Colonel Othello.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Neil Summerville

Videography by Howard White

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Inspired by Othello by William Shakespeare

A filmed version of the monologue can be seen on YouTube.

The Triumph of Evil

In the closing months of the second world war the Nazis were determined to exterminate all remaining prisoners in their infamous concentration camps. They were planning to destroy all evidence of their atrocities before the allied armies reached the camps.
In a race against time, Swedish aristocrat, Count Bernadotte has to 'deal with the devil' when he enters into negotiation with SS leader Heinrich Himmler in a last minute attempt to liberate thousands of prisoners and take them to safety in Sweden. His experience demonstrates the truth of the old adage that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Neil Summerville

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter

Edited by Howard White

The Beast

A monumental ego and a self seeking ruthlessness have propelled Grossman to the top of his profession. An 'alpha male' in every sense, Grossman surrounds himself with flatterers and sycophants who fear and loathe him.

Knowing his reputation for preying on young female employees, Caroline keeps her distance but an opportunity to advance her career propels her into Grossman's lascivious clutches.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Melanie Thompson

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter

Edited by Howard White

Call Back

After a botched attempt to repair a damaged smartphone, Ismail has accidentally discovered a means of sending a message backwards in time. How is his serendipitous discovery linked to a series of freak storms and a mysterious epidemic which are devastating a small English town?

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by Ramzi DeHani

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter

Edited by Howard White

Love in the time of Corona

Jack only wants one thing from women. He uses Tinder to hook up with a different woman every night and he definitely doesn't do relationships. When the lock-down brings an abrupt halt to his hedonistic lifestyle he finds himself in the unusual situation of striking up a platonic friendship with Laura. Over the course of their Zoom conversations, Laura begin to challenge Jack's priorities and values.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter

Performed by (tbc)

Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson

Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter

Edited by Howard White

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