Arundel Players offer online monologues for the town's virtual festival

The Arundel Players will be releasing a series of online monologues as their contribution to this year’s virtual Arundel Festival.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 9:29 am
Matt Bonner
Matt Bonner

Matt Bonner has co-ordinated the series – as a way of offering keen actors the chance to perform despite challenging times.

“I was trying to think of a way that we could still do something as regard to performance what with everything that has been happening and is still going on.

“We have gone from doing five plays a year to doing nothing, and it has been hard.

“I was in the theatre as lockdown and everything was announced.

“I was doing the lighting for Neville’s Island, and that was all set up. It was very strange going from having all that to do to having nothing to do.”

As a drama teacher at St Philip Howard, Matt had got a good response from his students when he explored the idea of doing monologues; he decided to offer it as an opportunity to members of the Arundel Players.

“I set up the challenge of performing a monologue that is based outside. I sent them some suggestions but hoping that many people would think of their own ideas. I have got about ten performances in all that range from about two minutes to about eight or nine minutes. We have got some Shakespeare and also some really modern stuff.”

Matt will be releasing them one a day on Facebook from the start of this year’s Arundel Festival, on August 22.

“The virtual festival has got in contact, and there is a company that is still releasing something every day for the Arundel Festival. We have made a highlights reel for them to share.”

And so the show goes on…

“Being a member of the Arundel Players is one of their hobbies.

“It is something they do for fun and enjoyment, and it is an important place for a lot of people, a great way to have a creative outlet. So it has been hard for people.

“And I am really grateful that they have responded to this. It is really hard to do. It is difficult just to be in front of your camera phone and talk. I have done Facebook Live gigs and it is so difficult to gauge an audience when they are not there. When you have actually got an audience in front of you, you get a kind of nervous energy, so it is really difficult when it is just you and your camera.”

But Matt is delighted with the results – at a time when the future for live theatre, certainly indoors, still looks so horribly uncertain.

“It has been great to throw myself into something for the Players.

“We have met on Zoom but talking about what we can and can’t do. And this is something we can do, but it would be great to get back into the theatre.

“For a lot of companies who hire their venues, it is really worrying not knowing whether those venues will still be available or not, and it is scary when you see the larger theatres struggling. You look at what is happening with the theatres in the West End.

“And we have got our tiny little theatre. We would love to go ahead and do something, but you have got to think about all the practicalities, particularly around the tininess of the venue; through the bar is the only way in. It would be logistically very interesting to try to work something out.”

But a return to the theatre for the moment is seeming a long way off. At least for now, the Arundel Players have maintained their proud tradition of being at the heart of the Arundel Festival – the virtual Arundel Festival, that is.

Coming up will be:

Jamie Craker– Honour

Dawn and Stuart Smithers – Sea Change (Part 1)

Tony Bright– Things I Know To Be True

Jamie Potts – Hamlet

Gill Lambourn– Shirley Valentine

Yvette Walters – A Woman of No Importance

Angela Barber– Steaming

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