Worthing’s new Saints Theatre Group will present its second show this April after huge success with its debut production, Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train last autumn.
This time, company founder Linsay Oliver will be directing The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, once again at the new company’s home, St Paul’s. Performances will be from April 25-27.
As Linsay explains: “The group came into existence because we thought that Worthing lacked an amateur group right in the twon centre. There are quite a lot of satellite groups around, some good groups, but there was nothing in the centre. I know people have tried in the past, but there just didn’t seem to be a group. I was talking to the people at St Paul’s, and that’s how it all started.
“We did The Ghost Train last October. It went really well. We sold out and we won two Brighton & Hove drama awards and were nominated for a further three. It was planned well, and the talent and the commitment of the group made it really enjoyable, with everyone putting lots of effort in. It was well supported. It surprised me really. I was nervous. It was our first production so we chose something that people might have heard of, with Arnold Ridley having been in Dad’s Army, and also it was October so it was Halloween-themed.”
But now for something completely different – Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia: “I picked up the script and I just couldn’t put it down it was such an interesting exploration of its subject matter, and it is witty and edgy. And it still gets an emotional response from the audience.
“It starts with Lisa and she is led to believe that the root of her problems lies in the loss of an hour when the clocks went forward. She visits a suspended reality called dissocia which is populated by strange characters in order to retrieve the hour.
“She feels a sense of apathy and of not being connected. She is having troubled in her relationship, and life seems problematic for her, and so she constructs a new parallel world as a possible solution.”
“Anthony Neilson is Scottish. He has written an awful lot of plays but no one has ever really heard of them. This was first performed in 2004 or 2005 and it won lots of awards.
“There is a big difference between the two halves… though I don’t want to give too much away. The first half is an Alice in Wonderland type world which is very entertaining and then the second half has a real gut punch to it. It has got a real dark witty humour and relevance to it.
“I wanted something that was completely different and something that could have a younger and more relevant attraction. There is singing and dance and puppetry. The first half is an absolute romp… and then the second half is very different!”
As for what happens next, Linsay isn’t sure yet, though she suspects the company will do two shows a year.
“But after this I might need a break! I have not really put any other shows through my brain processes for the moment. I am going to get this one done and then stand back and have a think.”
Tickets from the venue.