Dirty Hands

Here is a visual treat for you! This week ‘Dirty Hands: A Brexistential Crisis’ plays at the Pembroke New Cellars, so Sophie Leydon, Leo Benedict and I organised a photoshoot for the cast at St John’s College. The plan was to use harsh light and shadows, but it turned out that the room we had to use had amazing soft light, so we had to get creative. By placing a mirror outside the window we were able to steer a patch of direct sunlight onto our actors. To spice it up further Sophie had procured some black treacle.

Isobel Laidler, the assistant director standing in as model while we were trying to figure out the light.
Alice Jay, one third of the comedy trio.
Ben Martineau, the master of the mirror. Without his help we would not have had the harsh shadows and strong light on the faces of the actors.
Emily Mahon playing Monica.
Leo Benedict making sure the handprints are properly aligned on Alice’s face. We had to do the face prints twice, as there was not enough wet water colour on the hand the first time.
Alice Jay and Sophie Leydon
Alice Jay
Carine Valarché

Dirty Hands is an existential play that tells the story of Hugo, fresh from prison, who visits his former boss, Monica, a Labour party deputy. In an attempt to prevent Hugo from being ‘eliminated’ by party members angered by his indiscretions, she must decide whether he is récupérable for the cause before midnight. This ultimatum frames the play, while the story is told in flashback. Hugo is a young intellectual, keen to prove himself as an homme d’action. He accepts the challenge of assassinating Turnbull, a rising star on the right of the party, making it look like a suicide. As the play progresses, we see Hugo’s internal struggles and self-doubt emerge; if he abandons his task he will be killed, but if he murders Turnbull will he lose his integrity? Hugo’s girlfriend, Jessica, warns Turnbull who, ever the persuasive politician, convinces Hugo to join his cause instead. Hugo agrees, but when he returns to proclaim his excitement for the future, he walks in on Jessica embracing Turnbull and shoots him. With the killer’s identity established from the beginning, this political drama considers the “why”, not the “who.” Crime of passion or political murder? The audience must decide.

(Text from Camdram)

Emily Mahon
Emily Mahon with her hand covered in black treacle.
Jo Heywood crying tears of black treacle.
Ella Sbaraini playing Jessica
Ben Martineau playing Turnbull
Jo Heywood drooling black treacle like a vampire. Not that I think there are any vampires in the play.
Harry Redding and Ella Sbaraini
Harry Redding

Reviews: Varsity (3.5/5), TCS (8/10), Tab (3/5)

For more theatre photos, see the theatre category on the blog.

Cast
Hugo – Harry Redding
Monica – Emily Mahon
Turnbull – Ben Martineau
Jessica – Ella Sbaraini
Comic Trio – Alice Jay, Carine Valarche, Jo Heywood

Production Team
Assistant Director – Isobel Laidler
Editor – Liam Buckley
Creative Music Consultant – George Raikes
Executive Producer – Sophie Leydon
Associate Executive Producer – Anna Jennings
Assistant Producer – Danny Wittenberg
Set Management – Tom Bailey
Associate Producer – Dan Sanderson
Auteur – Leo Benedict
Set Design – Jess Benisty
Costume Design – Jessica Phillips
Sound Designer – Laura Wells
Lighting Designer – Gaia Fay Lambert
Publicity Photographer – Johannes Hjorth

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