Theatre Re's The Gambler set to enthral South Hill Park
'Enchanting', 'dynamic', 'spellbinding'. Theatre Re's The Gambler has captured audiences from London to Edinburgh, and now the production, which draws the audience into the world of a gambler trapped in a relentless cycle of addiction, is coming to Berkshire.
"With The Gambler we are portraying on stage what is happening in the head of a gambler when he is gambling. Gambling has this enticing power to change fate, to generate the wildest dreams and destroy them straight after," explained Guillaume Pigé, who plays the Gambler, Edgar, an old man trapped in his past. "It is all in the potential of a moment. For a split second one can dream. We wanted to make the attraction, the dependence, the excitement, the hesitation, the turmoil, and the ever-unfulfilled deadly pleasure of gambling, visible to the audience."
The play sees an aged Edgar, embroiled in a smoky, sepia-toned fin de siècle world, reflect on the rolls of the dice that sealed his fate. Told using an enthrallingly visual combination of acting, corporeal mime and music, The Gambler - inspired by the works of Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Stefan Zweig - took shape when the cast spent time with gambling addicts in North London.
"We worked over a month with members of Gamblers Anonymous in north London," explained Guillaume. "To meet real former gambling addicts not only helped me to create my character of the old and the young gambler, but was also very helpful to Adam Taylor who wrote the text of The Gambler. It was a truly inspiring human experience. Just to be able to hear some of their true stories and to hear their feedback after several work in progress showings helped us tremendously. Suddenly we went from making a show about a Gambler who did not win, to making a show where gambling became a metaphor for all sorts of addictions. It helped us to bring the stakes at the right level."
Guillaume added that while the piece was not intended to be didactic, he did hope audiences took something away from the play. "First of all, we would like the audience to enjoy a good piece of theatre. We would like to take them on an emotional journey, we would like to make them laugh, cry and why not dream a little bit. After that, if we can raise awareness around the danger of addiction and gambling addiction in particular, then that's great."
The Gambler is at Bracknell's South Hill Park on Thursday and Friday, March
Watch the trailer:
This article appeared in Bracknell News 27 Feb 13