Friday, 5 August 2016

Saturday Night Dramaturgy: Kate Wasserberg @ Edfringe 2016

Saturday Night Forever

By Roger Williams

Cow Barn, Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)
4-28 August 2016

Following the successful 2015 tour, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Joio bring their roller-coaster ride around Cardiff’s gay scene, Saturday Night Forever, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Saturday Night Forever is a roller-coaster ride through Cardiff’s night-life, as Lee, a gay man in his thirties living in the heart of the city, breaks up with one lover and resolves never to fall in love again.  
credit: Keith Morris

All around him people are drinking too much, dancing until the early hours and getting it while they can. But when Lee receives an invitation to a friend's house-warming everything seems ripe for change, and it only takes seven hours, a bottle of vodka, and the devil on his shoulder for him to break his promise and fall back into the arms of a new admirer. 

For a short while life is sweet, but after every Saturday night comes the cold reality of Sunday morning, and as Lee cruelly discovers, nothing lasts forever.

Directed by Kate Wasserberg

Thu4 – Sun 28 August (every other day), 7.10pm
The Cow Barn, Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Roger (the playwright) wrote the play in the nineties in order to challenge perceptions about homosexuality, to show with humour and pathos the destruction wreaked by prejudice, and to offer a voice to a community in his city that was at that time underrepresented on the stage. 

It is still relevant and sadly, with hate crime back on the rise, feels more pertinent than ever.

It's also a very joyous celebration of Cardiff and the transformative power of new love. When I met Roger and Gareth (director of Aberystwyth Arts Centre) about the play, I was struck by their passion for the project. When I read it, I could see that it was a gift for a beautiful performer, and once I heard Delme (who plays Lee), read it for the first time, I was in love. 

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
I knew I wanted a design that was primarily made of light, and Zakk Hein had just done work on A Good Clean Heart for our opening season at The Other Room (also in Edinburgh this year). 

I had loved what he did, how he created a fun and fluid environment, so we brought him on board to do the set and lights. The design is actually inspired by a Pet Shop Boys Video, which won me over instantly! 

Roger introduced me to Tic and Benjie, who are amazing sound designers he had worked with before and who created a buzzing, clever soundscape that is almost constant throughout the piece, and Bethan Dawson, who is the stage manager holding everything (and sometimes me) together, had also worked at The Other Room. The brilliant casting director Nicola Reynolds was brought on board to help us find our all-important actor and in his audition Delme took the roof off. 

We all knew right away that he was our Lee. The whole project has been led by Gareth who has been our fearless champion, cheerleader and resident magician, and I have to give a shout out to technicians Ellis and Levi, who took the show on tour and kept us smiling.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I sat on a crashmat in a comprehensive school gym in Staffordshire when I was six, and watched my Dad direct Oh What A Lovely War with a load of sixth formers. I was sold.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
One-man shows are always a bit different – you are asking a lot of a single performer and have to work in short bursts every day, to give them time to rest and to learn lines. The show is more technical than is usual for me, although we have ended up with something that on the surface is quite clean and simple. The most important thing really was to be a great audience. 

Bethan and I had to really listen because that relationship is crucial, the audience is the other actor in a direct address piece and you there’s no substitute for being carefully and diligently listened to.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope that they will be swept up, that they will laugh a fair bit, that they will be moved, that they will love Lee the way that I do.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
We have tried very hard to be truthful, to keep things moving, to be really there with them every night and to offer a visual and aural world that is exciting and fun. Delme really goes to those sadder, darker places and we hope the audience chooses to follow him, that people are invested enough by that point. So far I think they always have been.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Not really – I suppose I work from text, and that defines me in many ways. I’m an actor’s director, I think, too. But the project should dictate the tradition, and I try to be open to other ways of working. It’s so often a case of what kind of work you are asked to do – it’s important to keep moving, not to get stuck.

The play is written by award winning writer Roger Williams, who is well known for his work in television and theatre.  His work for TV includes the BAFTA-nominated Tales from Pleasure Beach (BBC2), Hollyoaks (C4) and Gwaith/Cartref (S4C). Most recently he created the drama series Tir for S4C, for which he won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Screenwriter 2015. His plays have been performed around the world, and he has also written radio plays for Radio 4, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru. 

Saturday Night Forever is directed by Cardiff pub theatre The Other Room’s Artistic Director and founder Kate Wasserberg. Kate comments:

Saturday Night Forever is a hilarious, romantic, dark, beautiful story of love lost and love found. The show is using cutting edge technology to create an animated, interactive environment for the actor to inhabit and features an original soundtrack drawing inspiration from dance music and real recordings from the nighttime streets of Cardiff. At the centre of it all is brave and brilliant writing from one of Wales's major theatrical talents. A love story for modern times with a razor's edge -  I am so excited to bring it to audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”

The one man show will be performed by actor Delme Thomas who hails from Llanelli and has appeared in West End and off-Broadway production Potted Potter and BBC1’s Holby City. Saturday Night Forever will run at the Underbelly’s Cow Barn venue in tandem with difficult | stage and The Other Room’s production of Alix in Wundergarten.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Joio’s production of Saturday Night Forever will run at the Cow Barn in Underbelly’s Med Quad (Venue 302) 4-28 August (every other day) at 7.10pm. Tickets are on sale now at

Age guidance 14+
Touring with support from Arts Council Wales

Roger Williams - Writer 

Roger Williams writes for television and theatre.  His work for TV includes the Bafta-nominated Tales from Pleasure Beach (BBC2), Hollyoaks (C4) and Gwaith/Cartref (S4C). Most recently he created the drama series Tir for S4C for which he won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Screenwriter 2015.  He also won a BAFTA Cymru award for screenwriting for his work on the Welsh language drama series Caerdydd in 2010. He has written theatre plays for companies including Made in Wales, Sherman Cymru and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He was writer in residence with Sydney Theatre Company and his plays have been performed in Australia, New Zealand and New York. Roger has also written radio plays for Radio 4, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.

Kate Wasserberg - Director

Kate is the Artistic Director of The Other Room, Cardiff’s first permanent pub theatre where she has directed Blasted and The Dying of Today. Previous to this she was the Associate Director of Clwyd Theatr Cymru, where she directed Aristocrats, Last Christmas, Salt, Root and Roe, Glengarry Glen Ross, Roots, Gaslight, Dancing at Lughnasa, Pieces (Brits Off Broadway, New York), The Glass Menagerie (CTC and tour) and A History of Falling Things (CTC and Sherman Cymru). As Associate Director of the Finborough Theatre, London, she directed The Man (national tour), Sons of York and Little Madam, all by James Graham and The Representative, I Wish to Die Singing and The New Morality.

Other directing includes The Knowledge/1hr45 (Royal Court/Dirty Protest), Mirror Teeth (Finborough Theatre), 2007 Schools Festival (Young Vic), and Switzerland (Hightide). As an Assistant Director Kate has worked at the Barbican, the Abbey Theatre Dublin, the Young Vic, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Theatre Royal Bath. Kate is the joint editor (with playwright Tim Price) of Contemporary Welsh Plays, published by Methuen.

Delme Thomas - Actor

Training: Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
Theatre includes: The Apple Cart and The Invisible Treasure for fanSHEN (Ovalhouse/Tour), Bryn Thomas in HomeFires (Newhaven Fort), Sam in The Backstage Tour (Hoxton Hotel), Del in Potted Potter (West End, Off-Broadway & USA Tour), Rupert of Hentzau/Fritz Von Tarlenheim in The Prisoner Of Zenda (Chalkfoot Theatre Arts National Tour), Price in Fractures (Soho Theatre), Steve Sloane/Dave/Survivor/Twitter in Not Another Musical and Joe in You Once Said Yes for Look Left Look Right (Latitude and Roundhouse), Brian in Lost Soul and Mike in Whispering Grass (HighTide Festival Theatre).

TV/Film Includes: Gareth Riley in Holby City (BBC One), Goran in The Garden (BBC3), Britain Sings Christmas (ITV/Endemol/Initial)

Workshops: Stopping Point (1894 Collective/Apollo Victoria), Youth (UndebTheatre), Rossetti: The Musical (MV Productions), Dance Class (GiantOlive)

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Award winning Aberystwyth Arts Centre is Wales’ largest arts centre and recognised as a 'national flagship for the arts'. It has a wide-ranging artistic programme, both producing and presenting, across all art forms including drama, dance, music, visual arts, applied arts, film, new media, and community arts and is recognised as a national centre for arts development.  Aberystwyth Arts Centre is a department of Aberystwyth University and a member of the Institute for Literature, Languages and the Creative Arts (ILLCA).


Joio is a production company established by the director Lee Haven Jones and the writer Roger Williams to produce drama that's got something to say.  Its most recent commission is the drama series Tir for S4C and the innovative film Galesa shot on location in Patagonia.  Joio makes work in Welsh and English. It aims to make work that is artist-led (rather than producer led) and to make the working process an enjoyable and positive experience. Joio aims to promote its work internationally and exploit it in different media; film, TV, radio, digital, stage, and publishing. Joio is interested in work that has something to say. Work we feel has social and political resonance. Work that challenges and excites. Joio is interested in working with a variety of partners to create its work.

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