One Way Ticket – Week Four

Rosie Harris talks ships, scripts and staging for the One Way Ticket tour.


Although we don’t start touring until March, the One Way Ticket team has recently been on a mini-tour, visiting the two superb ships (did I mention the ships?) that make up half of our tour venues – the magnificent SS Shieldhall in Southampton, and the equally lovely LV21 in Gillingham. The pictures here are of Chris Elwell from Half Moon and me finding our sea legs with some of our lovely venue hosts, along with Apples SE Pete Hunter and Sharon Lawless from Nuffield, who rugged up and braved it with us. And yes, that is a picture of a Christmas tree up a ship’s mast – a charming tradition (even if they appear to have left the angel off the top!).

In among our nautical adventures we’ve also been finishing off the script and staging. Here’s what Apples and Snakes’ own Nicky Crabb has to say about a recent rehearsal:

I saw a scratch performance of One Way Ticket earlier this year with my 10 year old son and his two friends and we were all blown away with the power of the performances and the writing, it was clear that the theme of displacement, lost family and immigration struck a chord with many.  So it was a real delight to have the opportunity to visit the cast in rehearsal at Half Moon last week and see how those nuggets of gold had been woven into a script that is full of gems, some of them very hard-hitting.

It was the first time the cast had read through a nearly completed script and started to move with their words.  Rosie’s script, enriched with Sophie and Justin’s contributions, has vivid characters who express their raw and difficult emotions through a mixture of poetry, song and dialogue that is incredibly effective.  Both Chris Elwell (Half Moon director) and I found it a really moving experience, especially the scene with the cottage mothers (you’ll have to see the show to find out who they are).  I can’t wait to see it when the scripts are down and we are all onboard ship!”


Our most recent challenge has been to get the piece onto its feet, and to ensure that even though it is text-based, that we don’t feel tied down by that, that the performers can open it out and bring it to life. Live literature, poetry theatre, performance poetry – whatever you choose to call it – has some unique performance challenges that make it quite different from ‘acting’. Discussion last time included the fact that there isn’t really any subtext – it’s all text! – so it’s crucial that the text is brought to life in a way that is physical and engaging.

We also of course need to keep the staging flexible enough to move between very different venues. On both the ships there are fantastic opportunities to use different deck spaces – possibly even real lifeboats – and move the audience around, following the characters’ journeys. Then in the Tom Thumb Theatre in Margate we will have the opposite challenge, adapting the piece to the most characterful, petit and bijou space that is one of the world’s smallest theatres!

So lots of challenges, and all of them exciting. Can’t wait to go sailing into 2014.


Rosie Harris