Synopsis Perpetua, the award-winning first play, is a hard-wired thriller. It is set in Pensacola, Florida in 1998, but the issues it raises are ever-topical. Using imagined events, but based on the 'abortion wars' in the US, it explores wider issues of liberty and protest, together with the contested value of human life. When a new recruit arrives at Father D's 'Operation Freedom' HQ, he is taken under the wing of an experienced, but vulnerable volunteer, Angela. As the play unfurls this unlocks the mysterious assassination of an Abortion Provider, a year before - triggering an even more explosive chain of events.
Cast Five (three male, two female).
Birmingham Repertory Theatre Studio (The Door) 15 April, 1999. Directed by Jonathan Lloyd and designed by Timothy Meaker
Fraser's View of Perpetua at Birmingham Rep This was my first ever fully Professional production. When the script won the Verity Bargate Award, I, naively, thought this would rocket the play into production. Unfortunately, the win coincided with Soho Theatre's loss of venue whilst they waited for their present theatre in Dean Street to be carved out of a former synagogue. It took a further three years to mount the first production, Anthony Clark at Birmingham Rep coming to the rescue by programming the play in The Door, the theatre's studio space, in 1999,
Jonathan Lloyd came up from Soho to direct, and assembled an excellent cast led by Nicola Redmond and David Hounslow. Tyrone Huggins turned in a fantastic performance as Father D. My main memory from rehearsals is seeing Tyrone deliver a radically different interpretation each day, so that it was not until the dress rehearsal that we saw the complete character emerge. Quite a nail- mangling experience for a rookie writer!
Annabelle Dowler who played Angela so winningly (now a regular in The Archers; Kirsty, for aficionados) also took the lead (and only) role in my short play Donkey at the Hotbed Festival, 2006. Nickie was involved in workshopping Frobisher's Gold in Colchester, turning in a highly believable performance as Elizabeth I, and is often on the telly.
Latchmere Theatre (now Theatre 503) London 18 May 2004. Directed by Dan Milne and designed by Becs Andrews.
Father Dave Steve Toussaint
Angela Martha Howe-Douglas
John Lemic Luke de Lacey
Rosemary Kitty Martin
Richard James Wallace
Fraser's View of Perpetua at Latchmere Theatre, 2004. This revival came out of the blue, but a real privilege to be involved in the maiden production of Kitty Martin and Dan Milne's new company (Fortune's Fool). In the tiny Latchmere Theatre in Battersea (now Theatre 503), the play felt even more claustrophobic than at Birmingham, and just as topical. Kitty herself took the part of Rosemary Bright, while Dan directed. Martha Howe-Douglas, in her first job, I think I am right in saying - was remarkable as the damaged Angela, and Steve Toussaint joined the company as a late replacement: terrific and terrifying as Father D, the Pentecostal preacher, playing with fire.
in the Deep South. It would certainly take some courage to mount a production there - but someone has to be first.
'Fraser Grace's play won the 1996 Verity Bargate Award, and a worthy winner it proves to be...it's an enormously intelligent work that embraces a much wider sphere of moral debate...The plotting is a touch contrived in the second half, but by then this drama has got you by the throat and is squeezing you hard' - Lynn Gardner, The Guardian.
'...a gripping play...I don't remember the last time my heart was in my mouth as much as it is here...as the first major production for this writer it marks the arrival of a significant talent.' Birmingham Post
'...you leave persuaded of Grace's promise...' Daily Telegraph