Arundel Players tackle cult classic Stones In His Pocket

Two actors will conjure 14 characters between them in a tour de force performance for the Arundel Players as they stage the cult classic Stones In His Pocket.
Dawn Smithers (contributed pic)Dawn Smithers (contributed pic)
Dawn Smithers (contributed pic)

Written by Marie Jones and directed by Dawn Smithers, Stones In His Pocket will run from April 1-6 at The Priory Playhouse Theatre, London Road, Arundel, BN18 9AT, with tickets available from the Arundel Players’ website.

A comedy with a poignant undercurrent, Stones in His Pockets tells of a small rural town in Ireland where a Hollywood epic is being filmed. The story centres on Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn, who, like much of the town, are employed as extras for the filming when Hollywood moves in. After a tragic incident concerning a local teenager, Charlie and Jake assume responsibility for giving an account of events, taking on all the roles themselves.

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Dawn’s two actors on the night are Jamie Potts and Harry Rippon: “It's just the two of them on the stage all the time. They never leave the stage and they have no props. And it is these two young men that are playing extras when this film set comes to Ireland but they end up playing seven different characters each. One of them plays the Hollywood star who is very, very American. The other plays the very camp director. You've got them playing a couple of young Irish Irish boys and one of them plays a Scotsman and there's a priest and there's an old man in his 70s. And they don't have time to go off and change character, to go off and become someone else. They just have to do it on the turn of a foot or a bit of body language. They walk up stage as one character turn and come back as another character.”

Dawn is keen not to give too much away except it's very, very funny but there is also a darkness to it. At times it is black...

“We saw it at the Theatre Royal in Brighton in the late 90s and I remember these two men came on the stage with no props, no nothing, and they just became all these people. In the end what you were seeing was all these other people. You didn't think who is he becoming now. They were different characters all the time and it was just fantastic. It is so beautifully written by Marie Jones who has written lots of other stuff.”

As director, Dawn's aim is to ensure that the characters give a beat between the characters, a pause which allows the audience to realise who they have become: “There is such a lot going on in there and there's also a bit of dance.”

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Dawn has directed the show before: “And that probably makes it more difficult because you've got to divorce yourself from the one that you did before and the different theatre and the different actors. I think the best approach is to approach it as if you have never done it before. I don't want to be saying ‘This is what we did when we did it last time.’ These are different actors now in a different space.”