Actress Katy Stephens writes about ‘Arcade’…

When I first read Chris’ script, I was immediately deeply involved with his two characters, Martin and Kath.

It was a glimpse. A glimpse into the lives of two people meeting after over twenty years.

What was so exciting, was what Chris allowed the characters NOT to say, creating an intriguing history.

John Flitcroft, Chris and I pursued this in rehearsals. Chris sometimes slaying whole pages to keep this experience of people who are very close, very real.

The Theatre Absolute Shop Front Theatre inspired the play. Once a restaurant, it provided the perfect set for ‘Kath’s restaurant’. A huge versatile room with windows looking out on Coventry as it looked in on us rehearsing. The fading light of the British summer our ‘design’. Rehearsing in the evening to test where the sun set.

To support the compelling nature of the piece the audience had to be fully immersed.

Johnny and Chris constantly shifted and nudged the audience seating into the perfect configuration to make it a truly 3D experience. You could feel in performance that the audience were gripped by the play and their place in it.

And not just for the audiences….

Teenagers outside on the street, giving us the ‘V’ sign during the show, were seconds later asking what was going on and how could they be involved.

Couples going to Argos, with heavy bags standing and reading the performance schedules.

And guys coming out of the gym upstairs offering their help when the show made it’s exciting way outside.

Theatre, smack bang in the middle of people.

Theatre Absolute, Chris O’Connell and Julia Negus have made theatre the most accessible and serving of it’s environment, I have ever known it.