Posted by Kirsty Cotton
Hall For Cornwall Youth Theatre present Hells Mouth by Nick Darke
Part of Nick Darke 70
A celebration of the life, work and legacy of Nick Darke throughout 2018 & 2019
Nick Darke (1948-2005)
Young people and professional artists are presenting the work of Nick Darke throughout 2018 & 2019 in a celebration of the work of this unique playwright and film maker in his 70th Birthday year.
Jane Darke told us ‘Nick would have been 70 in August of this year, he died in 2005. It's wonderful to be able to share this birthday with so many talented people, some who knew him personally but many who have come to know him through performance of his work. It's really good to be able to make this a year of celebration for him and his friends, old and new. So thank you in advance to everyone sharing Nick's 70th year!’
Hall For Cornwall Senior Youth Theatre will be presenting Darke’s Hells Mouth on the main stage during the venue’s last week before it closes for redevelopment. Over the last 20 years 100,000 young people have been given performance opportunities at Hall For Cornwall.
As part of Nick Darke 70 Hells Mouth is the second of two Youth productions of Darke’s work this year after Cornwall Youth Theatre toured The Riot across the county.
When a deadly game of chicken on the Tamar Bridge ends in tragedy, civil unrest threatens to break out in war torn Cornwall. In a cynical to bid to placate the press and suppress the ‘revolting’ locals, a clay worker and part-time rock star from St Stephen, is elevated to the lofty position of Duke. The only person standing in the way of Kernow’s subjugation is feisty local girl, Gonietta.
Post apocalyptic, passionate and poignant, Hells Mouth is Nick Darke’s hilarious retelling of Sophocles Ancient Greek tragedy, Antigone. The play will be directed by Simon Harvey and Sam Colborne, with musical direction from Richard Healey and choreography by Helen Tiplady.
The cast have been enjoying the exploration of Darke’s writing, Chloe Endean who plays the part of Gonietta in the play said: ‘Hells Mouth is such a beautiful text and I feel very grateful to be bringing Nick Darke’s art to life as part of the HFC team. Working under the direction and guidance of the creative team is a joy, their inventive visions inspire everyone and we are all incredibly proud of the material we’re creating.’
Hells Mouth was originally written by Nick Darke and performed by a company of young people brought together from all over Cornwall under a Royal Shakespeare Company Education project exploring the story of Antigone. Darke was present throughout the improvisation process, over several residential weekends and rehearsal days, asking students key questions about loyalty, courage, patriotism, survival, stubbornness, pride, status and who or what they would die for. Drafts of the play were read and re-worked until the final play was produced in October 1992. Under the direction of Mike Shepherd the actors portrayal of the characters were playful, poignant, inventive and relevant.
The culmination of the project was at Stratford upon Avon at The Other Place, where the 6 regional projects joined together and shared the performance work. Not all the projects had worked as successfully as Cornwall, but nevertheless, it was incredible to see an Antigone based in medieval Scotland, an inner city court room in London, a tenement block in Solihull to contrast with alongside our play set in Kernow’s land of silent rock.
Nick working with the original Hells Mouth cast at the RSC
Hells Mouth helped to begin the careers of Carl Grose, now a successful playwright and Jenny Beare, a well known Cornish actress amongst many others.
As one of the earliest reviews of Darke’s work, in The Financial Times stated: "Darke gives shape to a Cornish idenitity that feels vital and real and has nothing to do with clay pipes and clotted cream".
Come and support HFC Youth Theatre’s production of Hells Mouth on May 31st. It is full of potential stars of the future who sparkle in this unique, contemporary and passionate version of the play.