John Misto has written a play of social realism. The characters Bridie and Sheila represent the women who lived through the war as Japanese prisoners of war. The play is a testimony, a memorial to their bravery and struggles for survival against all odds, including even the lack of recognition by the British of their existence.
The Shoe Horn Sonata will only be produced by non government theatres. These theatres are usually low budget.
Misto has tried to recreate the reality of the 1940's. To do this the story is told through the dialogue and interaction of Bridie and Sheila. The use of music of the period, authentic photographs of war experiences and an interview situation, consequently the settings used are minimal. A television studio and a motel room. The props are minimal too; basic motel room furniture, a tapestry, a suitcase, a shoe horn and an on air sign.
Earlier this year some of us saw a production of the Shoe Horn Sonata at the German theatre. Props used were those mentioned above, but the backdrop was the same as the one being used in King-Lear. King Lear was the production featured at the time and as the theatre was low budget they were unable to pull down and re-construct the backdrop between nightly performances of the two plays. The director spoke to the audience at the en of the performance to address this issue. She drew our attention to the fact that the Shoehorn Sonata is a play of words not action therefore the backdrop became immanent as our attention became closely focused on the interaction between the two characters. This interaction of course was *intensified* by the use of music lighting and slides.
Apart from the props and the back drop, the size of the screen on which the slides are shown is needed to be decided by the directors. In the last production the screen was quite large and placed in the centre of the stage. Previous productions experimented with smaller screens and placement of the screen to the side of the...
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