A spy thriller with a pantomime feelSeb Constantine

This is Nathan Miller’s first play. It is, according to him, a spy thriller with a pantomime feel. It’s a comedy, but also a poignant look at the ageing process, and how we change as people when we grow up. “James Bond makes for good inspiration,” says Miller, who is also co-directing the piece. “The play is fictional, but we do draw on certain real aspects of the Second World War.”

The play looks at a young woman, Cara Satin, in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. “Cara’s job is monitoring the ratlines, which is how the Nazis tried to escape at the end of the war,” Miller tells me. The play, he says, is also a look at how it is that we grow and change throughout our lives. “It does make you think about whether you’re the same person you’ve always been.”

The three Caras are played by different actors; Daisy Jones plays the child Cara, Megan Lee the teenaged version and Isobel Gooder the adult. “I liked the idea of having the same character played by different actors – it allows for a situation where, between the scenes, the three actors can have a Match of the Day style analysis of their life.”

It’s a unique concept, and professional director Matthew Lee was visiting and showing the actors in what ways they could make the three Caras feel as though they are different incarnations of the same person. It’s certainly a challenge given that the three actresses are in fact roughly the same age. Lee brought an impressive air of professionalism to the rehearsal, presiding over the actors in a calm and gently encouraging way that was fascinating to watch.

The play has been approached in a very collaborative way. “Quite a lot has changed from the original script, and we’ve been tweaking the lines as we go along. One of the actresses, Cassia Price, told me, “The casting was done in a completely gender-neutral way, and the characters have developed from there.”

Before the actors began rehearsing, Lee had them do breathing exercises to warm up, while after the run-through the cast did some extensive improv to get a better feel for their characters in different situation. It was refreshing to see such a rounded approach applied to a production, and it looks as though the play will be a piece with a lot of depth and input from an interesting group of students. This is a showcase of young, exciting new talent, and while some elements of the production are highly professional, at its heart it is very much a first play: “you know how you used to do plays for your parents in the living room? It has that feel,” Miller says – but that’s no bad thing.

Up until now, Miller has written exclusively for film, and the shift to the stage has been a learning curve. “Sometimes it feels like I’m doing an hour long shot for a film,” he muses. “Everything has to be perfect, as it’s all happening in real time before the audience’s eyes – which is a new challenge.”

The play is an unusual combination of newfound talent and industry-style professionalism. At its heart, it’s a look back on the life of a fascinating, intelligent young spy, who disappeared at the close of the Second World War, never to be seen again. What happened to her? You’ll have to get down to the Corpus Playroom and find out. 

We'll Meet Again will be performed at 7:00pm, Tue 3rd March 2015 - Sat 7th March 2015, at the Corpus Playroom.

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