Torben Betts is “an uncommonly talented playwright” (Time Out) with “a profound and highly original theatrical voice” (Daily Telegraph).
Mummies and Daddies offers a brutal (yet hilarious) insight into the soullessness of consumerism as a group of young professionals gather to celebrate the final summer of the twentieth century. The evening is disrupted but enlivened by the undercurrent of violent disappointment between the warring host couple, the casual abuse of alcohol and drugs, and the imposition of a Phil Collins soundtrack. What hopes do we have for the twenty-first century, if we can’t even be civil to the ones we love? What will we be worth if our friends can be bought and sold? And what will our children be like if parenthood becomes just a game of Mummies and Daddies? Torben Betts is an award-winning writer, his works are published by Oberon Books and he has had recent productions at The Arcola Theatre (The Unconquered) and Riverside Studios (The Lunatic Queen).
"The father, as we have established, treats the little girl badly, and one day the girl gets some apples and carves some little men out of these apples, all little fingers, little eyes, little toes, and she gives them to her father but she says to him they’re not to be eaten, they’re to be kept as a memento of when his only little daughter was young, and naturally the pig of a father swallows a bunch of these applemen whole, just to spite her, and they have razor blades in them, and he dies in agony."
A writer in a totalitarian state is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a number of child-murders that are happening in his town.
"Aula and Attenborough's double act as the two cops is a lesson in comic timing, undermining and intimidation. Warner's Katurian is gentle, idealistic, impassioned and intelligent. Monaghan's Michal walks a tricky tightrope in having to play an abused young man whose level of disability the author seems to conveniently wax and wane to take as full advantage of him as he can, but Monaghan imbues him with enough charm and zest to break through this." (The Cambridge Student)
"FallOut Theatre have given Martin McDonagh's play the necessary darkness to fully exploit its blackly comic qualities." ✭✭✭✭✭ (Varsity Newspaper)
“I did not kill my father, but sometimes I felt I had helped him on his way. And but for the fact that his death coincided with a landmark in my own physical growth, his death seemed insignificant compared with what followed. He was a frail, irascible, obsessive man with yellowish hands and face. I am only including the little story of his death to explain how my sisters and I came to have such a large quantity of cement at our disposal.”
In the relentless summer heat, four abruptly orphaned children retreat into a shadowy, isolated world, and find their own strange and unsettling ways of fending for themselves. McEwan’s first novel is a excellent and honest portrayal of childhood, adulthood and sexuality. His narrative veers from the real to the surreal and is always unforgettably subjective. FallOut has created a theatre adaptation that does not simply reproduce the novel in a new medium, but to create a response to the work, finding the possibilities inherent in the literature that can be unlocked by the workings of the stage.
"The Cement Garden is a daring production, in both its subject choice and its artistic direction, and this daring nerve is what makes FallOut Theatre’s work so engrossing to watch." ✭✭✭✭ Varsity Newspaper
“This is what you want. Is it? This is what you’re making me do. This is what you’re making me do to help you. To help you Louise! No more nice. You like bastards? You like a bastard do you?”
Mark and Louise, workmates, live together for two weeks in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Louise, the cute girl in the office, always thought Mark was quite sweet. Mark, from reprographics, always had a thing for Louise. Tins of chilli, Dungeons and Dragons and a knife: paramount until the bitter end. But After the End the story becomes a reality.
"Every now and then you encounter a production that makes you sit up and stare - and feel a bit like you've been punched in the chest, this was certainly the case with After the End... The already claustrophobic space is transformed into a hotbox of psychosis and confrontation... I was taken well out of my theatrical comfort zone by this production, and I was grateful that its unswerving pace did not allow me to slip back in." ✭✭✭✭ (Varisty Newspaper)
Other shows directed by David Aula
Three Sisters is the story of the Prozorov family and those around them. Olga, Masha and Irina want to go to Moscow. But all they do is talk about it. Andrei, their brother, wants to go to Moscow too but doesn't want to talk about it. He'd rather play the violin. They live together in a small provincial town with only the madcap, misfit officers of their late father's army battalion for comfort and company. Vershinin is the new battery commander. He doesn't want to go to Moscow. He wants Masha. But Masha's married to Kulygin, who teaches at the school. Tuzenbach and Solyony want Irina. But Irina doesn't know what she wants. Nobody wants Olga. And all Olga wants is to be wanted. But all she does is talk about it. Chebutykin wants to believe his life has been worth something. But all he does it talk about it. Andrei and Natasha are ok because at least they want each other. Maybe. Everyone knows a change is coming, but everyone wants that change to be now. But all they do is talk about it. Three Sisters is a play about people who want things. But all they do is talk about it. It is a play about the subtle and complex emotional shifts amongst a subtle and complex group of people. The characters are as intelligent and stupid, as ridiculous and profound, as comic and as tragic, as real people are.
"the scenes between Masha (Stephanie Bain) and Vershinin (Partick Warner) were the sexiest I’ve seen onstage... For a second I wanted to be a restrained woman in a long skirt in provincial Russia to feel the arousal she did from a kiss on the hand" ✭✭✭✭✭ (Varsity Newspaper)
Approaching Hamlet is a daunting task. There have been more past productions and more books written about Hamlet than pretty much any other play. We also approach this production in the year that two very high profile productions are taking place in the British Theatre: David Tennant plays Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company; and Jude Law plays Hamlet at the Donmar Theatre under the direction of Michael Grandage.
Another challenge that ETG faces is that we can only afford to run our show at around two hours in length, when the play (uncut) runs at around four hours. Therefore, in cutting the play, I – as Director – decided to go through line for line and ask which of the lines were absolutely essential to the meaning, drama and emotion of the play. Therefore, our cut is very raw, and we hope that through our emotional sureness in the delivery of our lines, and the physical representation we will present the timeless and intensely inspiring essence of the piece, bringing it to a twenty-first century audience afresh.
In order to tackle the first challenge – that of producing a show that was in some way valuable in its own right amongst the hundreds and hundreds of other productions that have existed – I began to think about the key theme of "Hamlet's consciousness". A while ago, I directed another play very concerned with the difficulty of "consciousness", 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. During that production we became interested in the element of "water" as a metaphor for the fluidity of thought. We were also inspired by water's dual possibilities: as both life giver, when ingested into the stomach, and killer, when ingested into the lungs. The image of an island amongst a turbulent sea is a obvious metaphor for the isolation and confusion of consciousness.
I was then reading Ulysses by James Joyce, which is a book that is actively interested in the Hamlet archetype – the main characters make many allusions to the Dane and use the story to explore the relationship between a father figure and a son figure, and, more generally, as a way of understanding modern thought. I found the following quotes, which inspired me to explore water as a theatrical stimulus even further in our production of Hamlet: "[water's] potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body" "[Stephen disliked] the aqueous substances of glass and crystal, distrusting aquacities of thought and language" These thoughts, coupled with the intriguing choice of suicide Ophelia takes – to drown herself, rather than any other form of self-slaughter – act as a starting point for our interpretation. However, it is only a starting point, along with some other starting points e.g. attempting to make the minor characters vibrant, memorable and fun; and to ask the question 'how could the events of Hamlet occur in a modern world?'. The real "interpretation" will come in the months of rehearsal I undergo with my actors. The 2008 ETG Hamlet will be a high energy, original and hugely creative vehicle for expressing the thoughts and lives of the twenty-five strong team of young artists and technicians that will work so hard to bring the production to European stages.
"See the play, it’s really bloody good." ✭✭✭✭ (Varsity)
"some of the finest moments I have ever seen on stage.... I strongly suggest you look out for Mr. Aula's next directing venture." ✭✭✭✭ (Anglia Ruskin Reviews)
"The creator of all this often perverse but never less than interesting and involving mish-mash, director David Aula, found time also to give a Polonius of dignity and gravitas who made his mockers and naggers seem to degrade themselves rather than him by getting at him" (Michael Grosvenor Myer, Cambridge Shakespeare.)
"as good a performance of what I think is Shakespeare’s greatest work as I have ever seen ... flawless" (Paul Holland, Cambridge Evening News)
"while he has taken great liberties with the original text he has done so with flair and with an eye for the essence of the play. The result is a slick and stunning performance that captures Hamlet's world in all its fierce tumult and surreal horror. " (Fiona Scoble, localsecrets.com)
"it is a beautiful production that has the power to completely captivate its audience at times, and it would be difficult to find better student Shakespeare, let alone better student Hamlet" (David Ward, The Cambridge Student)