Bench Theatre bring their first production of 2018 to the stage – Ella Hickson’s play Precious Little Talent.
Premiering in August 2009 at the Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh (as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and directed by Ella herself, the play follows Joey, a privileged girl who has recently lost her job and is in bad debt.
Without warning, she heads to New York City on Christmas Eve to visit her father.
George has lived alone since his marriage ended and his relationship with Joey has slipped.
Whilst there, Joey meets Sam, a lively 19-year-old American, and they end up falling for each other.
What she does't realise is that Sam is linked to her father in a way she couldn’t expect.
The events revolve around the struggle of young people finding their way in an increasingly hostile world.
It was this struggle which spoke to Julie Wood, who is directing a full-length play for the first time. She saw the play performed in 2011 at the Trafalgar Studios, London and it sat with her ever since: 'This is a play I have longed to see performed again but it is not until this year that I have been able to give it the commitment it deserves.
'The play is especially relevant in our current political climate and resonates with many young people still, almost 10 years after it was written. I thank my friend, Lana, for introducing me to this play and hope I can do justice to Ella Hickson's words.'
The small cast and intense relationships lend themselves well to the theatre space at The Spring.
David Penrose plays George: 'I have admired Ella Hickson's work ever since I saw her 2012 play Boys. She writes perceptively about the fears and aspirations of the young today, faced with all the obstacles that recession, ideological extremism and technology put in the way of them finding a comfortable way to live in the world.'
So what is an over-60 year old doing in this play? 'Well, I'm playing a dad and the continuity of family is a key strand in Ella's plays. Not that it is always readily on offer. He’s a pretty dysfunctional dad which makes him all the more fun to play.
'Ella Hickson writes with great economy, her plays are short but pack a powerful punch. Precious Little Talent is big on themes but intimate in character and situation. The play is provocative but often funny and ultimately very moving.'
Precious Little Talent
The Spring Arts Centre, Havant