I have known this play for many years. Indeed, Lindsay and I toured Cartwright's Two over a two year period. However, I never tire of this man's work - especially Road. It has been a set text for first year Drama students for some years and I directed it for the Department of Film, Theatre and TV Studies in 2004... and I still find new layers, new discoveries and new elements to the characters.
I went to University in 1987. Before that I spent six educational years working in a 'dole office' in Birmingham. Anyone know of a place called Selly Oak? Well, it's a bit of a dump. I wasn't too happy during that time - but I'm glad I had that 'Uni of Life' experience because it has helped to enhance my understanding of Cartwright's play. I have met these characters, taken their signature for social security money and experienced their threats of violence. So much of the eighties was glam and gloss - the veneer that was Thatcher's Britain. Rip away the surface and Thatcher's REAL Britain was unemployed and impoverished - ironically we are only too aware that it is all happening again. Indeed, did it ever go away?
This is the world depicted in Cartwright's play. Not without humour his characters make a variety of attempts to escape - booze being the obvious one. This may all sound a little grim. NO!! Cartwright does depict a gloomy world, but the tenacity and sincerity of many of his characters, I firmly believe, leaves us with a deep sense of hope... dare I say it, a "bleak optimism."
As ever, I am hugely grateful to have had the opportunity to work on such a wonderful play with such a wonderful group of people. This is Castaway's eighteenth year of producing cutting edge theatre for the Arts Centre. The courage and commitment of all involved always amazes me, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of good folk who have contributed to our "People's Theatre" since 1991. Road is a marvellously dirty way to celebrate our coming of age, so... ROCK AND ROLL!!!
- David Blumfield, January 2009.
The company dedicated this production to Norma Izon. Unfortunately, Norma was taken ill earlier in the week and was unable to perform the role of Molly.