A woman who needs to be seen and a man who needs to watch are the pairing in a new play heading for Brighton.
After a successful run in both London and Bangalore, Soho Theatre and Fringe First winners nabokov present Blink, a new play by Bruntwood Playwriting Prize winner Phil Porter at Brighton Dome on Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16.
Blink is the tale of Jonah, Sophie and a fox called Scruffilitis. It’s a love story; funny, dysfunctional, voyeuristic, but a love story all the same.
Against the lonely backdrop of London, the worlds of two shy individuals collide and unfold before your eyes.
Blink was commissioned by Soho Theatre when Phil Porter was part of the Soho Six, a scheme which brings together six diverse writers with the aim of creating work for one of Soho Theatre’s three stages.
“It’s a scheme the Soho Theatre has got,” Phil explains. “You come in every couple of weeks and meet up and have a chat, and each of you has a commission. They also encourage you to go and see as much as possible. I guess it was for about six months, but it was a year if you include the writing of Blink.
“Blink was the commission. It was pretty open-ended. They talk about the work that the theatre is interested in, and they talk about the artistic policy, and as a result of that it is pretty clear what they are looking for, but the story was completely up to me – though there were people there that you could bounce ideas off.
“The story came to me fairly fully formed really. It’s a love story, but it is about stalking really. It sounded like a psychological thriller, which is not really my thing, so I thought if I could mix in a romantic style, I would come out of it with an interesting hybrid. I was also quite keen to do something with just a couple of actors. There are just two actors who play the two main characters and also a couple of other characters.
“It’s about two quite lonely people, both of whom have lost a parent. One of them grew up on the Isle of Man but came to London and is a fish out of water. The other, the man, grew up in a self-sufficient religious commune in Lancashire, but has come to London. He is someone who has done a lot of watching, while she feels like she has become invisible since her dad died. She needs to be seen, and he needs to watch.”
The play premiered for a month at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012 before playing at the Soho Theatre. Late last year, it played successfully in Bangalore at a theatre with which the Soho Theatre has links.
“We didn’t know how well it would go down there, but it did very well.”
Blink features actors Thomas Pickles and Lizzy Watts. After training at Rose Bruford, Pickles has performed in two productions with the RSC (Merry Wives of Windsor, The Mouse and His Child) and was most recently in Derby Theatre’s production of Kes. His television credits include Channel 4’s hit show Shameless.
Lizzy Watts recently appeared as Olivia in Filter Theatre’s Twelfth Night, which went on to tour the UK and internationally.
She has also worked largely with new writing companies including Paines Plough (Wasted), Finborough Theatre (The Man) and Bush Theatre with Mike Bartlett’s Artefacts (also a nabokov production).
Tickets: 01273 709709 or brightondome.org.