Opening Night: August 28th 2008
Venue: Aberystwyth Arts Centre (studio)
Return to Albion is set on a fictional railway station somewhere in the middle of England, between 1892 and 2008.
Have you ever sat on a train and wondered what was going on the the person's life who was sitting opposite you? You may well have done the same thing in a station bar. You may hear snapshots of their conversation. Essentially, they are a strange who you will never see again. Much of Return to Albion puts you, the audience, into that kind of situation. You will see many characters this evening, yet you will only get snapshots of their lives. In some caes, you will get clues about where they have come from and where may be going, but much of the time you are free to decide what might happen to them next.
Indeed, a railway station can tell many stories but only based on the "brief encounter" (really sorry about that) it has with its visitors. So, if you have made up stories about the tall guy with a laptop, eating a BLT on a Pendolino bound for Liverpool Lime Street, then you can do the same with the people you encounter tonight. Therefore, we deliberately don't give you all the pieces to the jigsaw!
Return to Albion has been an interesting experiment for the company. I came up with the original idea and the cast created characters, biographies and scenarios. The timeline spans 106 years but the place is always the same. Some characters are constant throughout. Cyril is a semi-narrator and the busker appears as the same character throughout but in different ages.
Working on this piece has been a fascinating experience and I am happy to state that as I am from a railway family, I have finally directed a play set on a railway station!
Finally, many thanks to Rhys and Anne who weren't able to perform but have made a big contribution to the script.
- David Blumfield, August 2008.