The King

by Stewart Conn

The King had 5 performances over 9 years ago (between the 6th of March 2009 and the 21st of July 2009) at Eastwood Studio Theatre and Cecil Hepworth Playhouse

This very unusual and intriguing play is a sort of anthropological fairy tale that modulates between realism and magic. It is a poetic fable that seems to be exploring the nature of our human desire for power; Who holds it? Who thinks he holds it? Who wants it? Who fears it? Who suffers under it? It explores its political and sexual nature, and its seductive and corruptive effects.

Attie is a gardener engaged by a man he meets in a pub [Mr. Farrol] to tend his wife's rose garden . He is plied with beer and cigarettes and given a bed for the night, but he is soon aware that he has become an actual prisoner and is unable to leave the house.

He becomes even more powerless when he is visited by Lena, Farrol's wife, and seduced by her in a poetic flurry. The frenzied eroticism of the scene is dominated by bold, symbolic, flowery images and lyrical language.

The play returns to realism with Attie now a scared and doomed man. He is no longer allowed to smoke or drink and is in the thrall of Queen Lena, who now possesses him completely.

She proceeds to crown him and give him the trappings of power, an iron rod and a brass bell. Attie as the King elect trying on his crown is a strong image that is mingled with absurdity and horror. He is commanded to try out his new powers by trying to stop a thunderstorm which has sprung up and threatens the symbolic flower garden.

The increasing desperation of the would-be King, frantically ringing his bell which is useless against the mounting thunderstorm is a chilling and dramatic moment. Swiftly followed by Attie's final climactic murder and Lena's ritual weeping over the body.

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Attie - Simon Botterill

A haunted, powerless man with maybe a regional accent. His journey from a drunken guy picked up in a pub, through fear and uncertainty, to being invested as King, only to be robbed of his dream and his life is spine chilling. Helpless, ineffectual and defenceless, he feels his skills as a gardener give him a godlike power. However once in Farrol's power he feels incompetent, incapable, and unqualified to do the job. Lena completes his emasculation and he is ultimately killed by the dominant couple.

His gradual decline and increasing pitiable exhaustion are very vividly drawn as Farrol and his wife corrupt and seduce him.

His story of the Dummie in the pub who is arrested by Powerful officials, serves to illustrate his fears of losing control and his own powers of speech, and of being overpowered by forces greater than himself.

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Farrol - Adam Roberts

A commanding and menacing figure who manipulates Attie. He has strength, energy, and vigour. He is a tough formidable and dominant man who is in a position of success and influence, but is nevertheless seedy and creepy.

Sleek & devious he gradually dominates Attie with his potency, command and superior skills. His house has the trappings of power and influence, and he uses his wife as a weapon of manipulation and control.

Original

Lena - Frankie Godliman

The Queen of the night, with the promise of a mother and the greed of a whore. The power behind the throne she uses her sex as a honey trap, and uses Attie to satisfy her own lust.

She is sensually self assured in movement and speech and has an aura of royalty with added sex appeal! She is the King Maker who uses her womanly wiles to over power Attie.

A seductive, sexy, impressive, vigorous and hypnotic figure. She plants the seeds so they can gather in their harvest in her dark dangerous house of intrigue and hypnotic power.

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Lighting - Bill Payne

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

Best Play Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2009
Best Director Judith Dolley Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2009
Winners AETF Quarter Final - 2009
Best Actor Simon Botterill Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2009
Best Actress Frankie Godliman Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2009
Best Supporting Player Adam Roberts Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2009
Outstanding Festival Spirit Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2009
Stage Presentation AETF Quarter Final - 2009
Sydney Fisher Trophy for Backstage efficiency British All-Winners Festival - 2009
Felixstowe Festival Trophy - Adjudicatord Award for stage setting and bringing to life a difficult and complex play British All-Winners Festival - 2009