Mark Reid’s new play The Gambit is coming to Theatre503 with Manchester based production company Rampant on Read what Mark, Rampant Artistic Director, and one of the plays performers Ben Rigby had to say about the production…
Q: What inspired this production? Did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Mark: This was an exercise as part of the Royal Exchange writers group, to bring in a story from that day’s newspaper. I found one I felt was inherently undrammatic (two players having a game of chess for the first time in 25 years), to challenge the group. A colleague reversed the challenge on to me. Because there was something in the situation which chimed with my personal life it all came together.
Q: Why take your work to Edinburgh and why preview your work at Theatre503?
Mark: Partly because it’s a show that we all believe should have small opportunity to get in front of a wider audience, and partly for the chance to be part of the atmosphere of the Edinburgh Festival fringe.
Ben: Absolutely, and it makes sense to get down to London for some previews, as a Northern based company we’re often on the outside of the conversation, but to get into a fantastic space like Theatre503 and to showcase the production before taking it to the festival seems like a no-brainer.
Q. What can the audience expect to see and feel – or even think – of your production?
Mark: It is an intimate piece of chamber theatre but with two highly intellectual and combative characters – thereby giving plenty of scope for big ideas. But it’s driven by a universal human story of friendship and what can happen when it goes wrong. It’s set in a single room around a chess set but the imagination takes it across Europe.
Ben: And it’s the human story that really resonates. The chess is merely a metaphor for the complexities of the relationship, the resounding feedback we have had from audiences is that they too have experienced the loss of friendship that Garry and Anatoly exhibit in the play.