The Dukes Lancaster
I Was A Wife
Friday 29 January 2016 - Saturday 6 February 2016
review by Alan Chard
Polly Lister's 'I Was A Wife' is a success story for the Dukes' initiative called Kick Start that allows audiences to give feedback on a new play that is in development. In April 2015 the play was presented to a small audience, about 40, in the round at The Dukes in Lancaster. It was a novel experience for many, myself included, as the set was basic, just enough props to create the character, location and give some atmosphere. The writer and actor, Polly Lister, performed 'script in hand'. It was an interesting evening for audience and everyone concerned, especially so because the audience were able to give feedback. Much of that feedback appeared to be from people in the audience who were well versed in theatrical techniques and terminology.
During the intervening period Ms Lister and The Dukes have worked tirelessly to develop the rest of the play between performing at different locations in a truly hectic schedule. The result is the play that is now being presented at The Dukes.
I Was A Wife is an autobiographical piece charting the author's own journey through marriage and a traumatic break-up and divorce, presented in the dressing room of a theatre as a series of short vignettes with on-stage costume changes. There is a lot of humour woven into the situations and the different characters show great vitality and a whole range of styles. There is also a lot of emotional content that draws the audience into sharing the hurt and sadness of the situation being portrayed. Whether a different actor could interpret the role with such animation and convey those feelings to an audience is hard to judge.
There are only a few performances so take the opportunity to see it while you can.
Alan Chard, January 2016