Titchfield Festival Theatre will be supporting Amnesty International, a charity which works to protect human rights worldwide, with its next production of Scorched.
Written by Wajdi Mouawad, it follows twins Janine and Simon as they receive a surprising request from the last will of their mother, Nawal Marwan.
Ben O‘Shaughnessy is co-directing the production with Hannah Wood, and producing it. He says: ‘When they are reading the will they discover the truth. The daughter has to find an older brother back in the country of their mother’s birth that they never knew they had, while the son has to find the father who they thought was dead.
‘They can’t open the letters they are given. It’s also interesting that their mother hadn’t spoken in five years, not a word. They discover why she hasn’t and it’s pretty shocking.’
He adds: ‘The whole play is about how the twins travel back to their mother’s country and find out about their family. It follows their journey from their point of view.’
With Titchfield Festival Theatre putting on shows around 170 nights of the year, the group is ever-expanding, and Ben wanted to show that the group could offer something different: ‘I think it’s one of the most professional amateur dramatics groups out there. I love Shakespeare and I love Alan Ayckbourn plays, but I wanted to do something that was a bit different and a bit interesting. It has something to say about society.’
Although the story calls for a grand set as the twins travel across their mother’s country, Ben has chosen to keep it stripped back.
He explains: ‘It’s very open to the audience. The play isn’t just limited to the traditional stage. It’s the lighting and the performances which I’ve tried to focus on.
‘The audience will be kept on their toes as this is a play where there is a lot of emotion. It’s funny, it’s obviously very dark and it’s quite sad. But there’s a lot of tears.’
The play is supporting Amnesty International, and Ben says: ‘I think the charity is really important and they do a lot of brilliant work. They help stop the violence in wars and the violence against women in this country and others.’
The soundtrack was written by two local musicians, and will be available to buy on show evenings. Scorched is suitable for over-14s, and the play runs from Wednesday until April 20.
Tickets cost £9 to £11 from Titchfield Festival Theatre on (01329) 556156 or go to titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com.