Prepare the tissues for the laughter and sadness because 4Front Performance Company has an emotion-filled evening lined up for Lincoln.
This Wednesday and Thursday, April 14th and 15th, they will be showcasing “Double Bill” – two contrasting plays for the price of one and neither will affect audiences lightly.
“You’re getting the best of both worlds in one night,” says Darren Furniss, artistic director at 4Front, “one is an outrageous, farcical, and high energy comedy, that’s ‘Idol Chat’ and the other is set in Russia during Stalin’s mass terror campaign, that’s ‘Red Betrayal’.”
4Front are a great example of how hard work, determination, and talent can lead to success. The performance company got together during their time studying at the University of Lincoln, and “Double Bill” is their third production as a professional group to play The Drill Hall.
“Double Bill” sees 4Front explore two different periods in history. “Idol Chat” focuses on 1950s pin-up girl Bettie Page and “Red Betrayal” centres around two friends who become members of the communist party and are then thrown into a world of terror under the rule of Joseph Stalin.
Both Bettie Page’s life and the particular period in Russian history are not well known and 4Front want to shed some light on events that could be forgotten: “Bettie Page was one of those people that was known at the height of her career for being more infamous than famous and she was forgotten,” says Furniss.
Page’s life ended in her being “clinically depressed” and yet this play is a comedy: “What goes on in the comedy can be perceived as quite insane and has a lot of insane moments,” says Furniss, “it plays with that psyche and that side of her life and there’s one moment where there’s a choice to be made by Bettie and we see a conflict within her real life and what’s happening in this comedy about her afterlife.”
After “Idol Chat” the mood drastically changes: “The audience leaves and we transform the space. When they return they come back to an entirely different environment and a totally different theme.
“This particular period of Russian history, just before the Second World War, was secretive at the time and it’s still not widely well known and talked about because of that. Russia wants to forget it and the world wants to forget it.”
But Furniss saw something else in the play that links 1930s Russia to today’s society: “I saw in it was what was sort of happening to us, not at that extreme, but certainly this banner of fear that our governments like us to live under,” Furniss said, “that’s certainly what I’ve put into it directing it- this sense of fear that hangs over everything.”
4Front pride themselves on being innovative and encouraging the audience to use their imaginations through the actors and a minimalist set: “You know you’re sat in the drill hall, but there’s an incorporation of multimedia to show, in “Red Betrayal”, propaganda at that time so that automatically we’re taken to Russia,” says Furniss.
Covering risqué themes such as sex, death, and mass terror, “Double Bill” will take the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions and after the success of their previous plays, Lincoln audiences look set to be in for a night of fresh and exciting theatre.
“Double Bill” is on at The Drill Hall tonight (dress rehearsal) and tomorrow, April 14th and 15th. Tickets are priced £5 on Wednesday and £8/£6 concessions on Thursday, and the show starts at 8pm. Visit the Drill Hall’s website for tickets or call their box office on: 01522 873894Tweet