NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
SUE GUINEY: DREAMS OF MAY
Bluechrome Publishing
PO Box 109
Portishead
Bristol
BS20 7ZJ
UK
ISBN 1 904781 98 5
7.99

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SUE GUINEY: DREAMS OF MAY

The volume presents an intriguing set-up of a sequential monologue within the action of a play, so that in effect it is a one-woman play. It takes place within a train. The soliloquies or dreamy remembrances are clear, attractive and suit the play style, although in a way they are minor swindles since apparently many items in the sequence were written and accepted by magazines as poems per se. Guiney tells us that these were 'sometimes in slightly different form' so that there has been a degree of adaptation to suit the set-up.

I believe that this is a winner, in spite of the adaptations, and would have an excellent rapport with an audience and good post-theatre reviews, but only if the main bugbears of the 'one act' stage setting were resolved.

The action takes place in a railway carriage, viz:

A commuter train, with its usual random flickering lights, starts and stops, rocking and jostling, ambient noise. The set creates a simple, basic framework in which the character can free associate, remember, confront her past and begin to find her way forward ... she talks to herself.
At the end of the play, she opens the carriage door to exit and background music which has grown louder, stops and the stage lighting is switched off. A good dramatic ploy.

The carriage obviously has to be long, with the audience side cut away, unless action has to be viewed through carriage windows. Also, somehow, the character must not be seen with the book in her hands, reading from it.

The amount of poetry will preclude a memorising feat. It is difficult to see how the live reading is to be done, except by an ear-piece worn by the character which receives the words from a back-stage reader, or one connected to a personally secreted tape recording; or possibly via a screen with the words on, which is invisible to the audience.

Thus, although the poetry side is suitable and sensible for this scheme, I think that it stands or falls by the demands of on stage technicalities. If overcome, it's thumbs up.

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.