And I and Silence at the Finborough Theatre

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Two imprisoned young women, one African American and the other white, form a perilous bond. As they serve time they forge a plan for survival. They practice hard. If they don’t get it right they’ll lose everything: the outside world is even more dangerous to their friendship than the jail itself. Exploring the fierce dreams of youth and the brutal reality of adulthood in 1950′s segregated America

And I and SILENCE is a dark, often humorous portrait of desire and daring.

Time Out Critics’ Choice
Evening Standard Critics’ Choice
★★★★ Four Stars, The Times
★★★★ Four Stars, The Guardian
★★★★ Four Stars, Financial Times
★★★★ Four Stars, Time Out
★★★★ Four Stars, WhatsOnStage
★★★★ Four Stars, Exeunt
★★★★ Four Stars, Evening Standard
★★★★ Four Stars, TNT
Named one of Lyn Gardner’s Best Plays of 2011

Shortlisted for Best New Play (Off-West End Awards)

“UNMISSABLE” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

AND I AND SILENCE, Finborough: a 70-min two-hander(ish) that says everything I AM THE WIND wanted to and much more. Wise and powerful 4* Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

“Director Caitlin McLeod has fashioned an intense, gripping production…For a potent reminder of the unbeatable power of theatre, look no further than the top-of-its-game Finborough. In just 75 minutes on a tiny, almost bare stage, playwright Naomi Wallace conjures a compelling picture of friendship against the odds in the segregated America of the Fifties.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“Wallace’s play is an exquisitely under-stated examination of female friendship and unspoken love. It’s a truly American tragedy about two women who want so little and get nothing except from each other, yet it is leavened with humour…Wallace’s devastating, moving play is entirely without extravagance and artifice” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“Caitlin McLeod’s understated production, which gains much from the affectingly eerie performances of Oliver and Simmons, chilling and convincing as a pair of living ghosts trapped in a ghastly parody of their former friendship. Naomi Wallace’s short, painful prison drama uses the backdrop of racially segregated ’50s America to weave a tale of the hope that can blossom behind bars, and the despair that can destroy a life outside them.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“If you can go see Naomi Wallace’s beautiful and clever play at the Finborough.. Beautifully directed and acted. And only 70 mins! Beautiful” Kwame Kwei-Armah, (Director and writer, Elmina’s Kitchen)

“beautifully integrated, both textually and in terms of director Caitlin McLeod’s elegant staging..An extraordinary achievement from all involved.” Jo Caird, Whatsonstage

“Wallace’s passionately felt story is beautifully written, with its teenage dreams, pent-up fury and adult disillusionment. Her superb cast…are pitch perfect. Caitlin McLeod’s production, on Cecilia Carey’s versatile set (which suggests that there is not much difference between imprisonment and freedom for these women), is calm, deep and dignified.” Aleks Sierz, The Stage

“And I and Silence is a play that takes on big themes in a very small way and has the ability to be both powerful and touching, leading to an unforgettable dénouement.” Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide

“An excellent script, ingenious set and brilliant acting. I highly recommend spending 85 minutes in the shocking, poetic and ultimately touching company of Jamie and Dee.” Francesca Beckett, A Younger Theatre

“Described in brief, Naomi Wallace’s ingeniously structured new play sounds so heavy with issues that it should never get off the ground. But thanks to Wallace’s delicate touch and generous imagination, it unfolds into a story of love whose unexpected emotional power sideswipes the audience. Once again, the question arises: Why isn’t this superb writer more widely produced?” Karen Fricker, Variety

“The play does provide an excellent showcase for the four actresses, and, under Caitlin McLeod’s sensitive direction, Lauren Crace and Cherrelle Skeete as the younger pair and Sally Oliver and Cat Simmons as their older counterparts are equally evocative and touching.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

 

AND I and SILENCE was first produced at the Finborough Theatre

Written by Naomi Wallace

Directed by Caitlin McLeod

Designed by Cecilia Carey

Lighting by Elliot Griggs

Costume Design by Ed Parry

Music and Sound by Tegid Cartwright

Produced by Ben Canning and Lydia Rynne

Stage Managed by Hannah Gore

Operated and Design Assistant by Bethany Sumner

Casting by Rachel Payant

Presented by Worn Red Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre and Clean Break

CAST

LAUREN CRACE

SALLY OLIVER

CAT SIMMONS

CHERRELLE SKEETE

(photography by Peter Marsh)