The trailer is up and the rehearsals are winding down – or up – to the big night: Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which opens 22nd May at The Questors Theatre in Ealing.
The play won the 2004-05 Critics’ Award for Theatre in Scotland for Best New Play and made its London debut at the Royal Court Theatre in March 2007; it was also included in The List’s Best of a Decade in 2009. But as for what to expect when you go to see it, that is perhaps best left to the wonderful words of the director, David Emmet and stage manager Cathy Swift:
A Wonderful World Awaits
What’s the most frequent conversation you’ve had over the last year? Mine goes like this:
Member or friend: Hello David. What’s your next production?
Me: The Wonderful World of Dissocia.
Member or Friend: Oh. I’ve never heard of it. (Spoken in a tone of voice that suggests I must have gone mad). What’s it about?
Yes, that’s right. And it’s one of the most extraordinary plays you’ve ever seen. And it’s won a lot of awards. And it’s crazy.
What’s in it?
Well, it’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland with added sex and violence. Crazy characters, two insecurity guards, a talking scapegoat, a flying car, a lost property department that’s lost itself, 60 hot dogs per night, a few songs, a light and sound show like you’ve never seen, and a real shock when you come back for the second Act.
Never heard of it? Probably not. Is that a reason not to see it? Definitely not. That’s exactly why you should see it. You’ll be talking about it for ages after.
The Wonderful World of Dissocia: The great props challenge
When I offered to Stage Manage The Wonderful World of Dissocia several months ago, David looked at me askance and said, ‘You do know it’s very complicated and requires some challenging props, don’t you?’
Now, a sensible person would have got hold of a copy of the script and found out what they were letting themselves in for. But not me. I said it would be fine, and before I could say ‘pedal car for two women’ David had put me down as Stage Manager on iQ. The die was cast and there was no turning back.
I figured that hiring the aforementioned pedal car would present the biggest challenge, and spent many hours Googling and phoning organisations before concluding I would have to buy one on eBay. After a few wild goose chases I managed to find the splendid machine that you will see if you come to see the show. It’s great fun for children and adults – as driver Emily and passenger Sherralyn will testify. If you like it you can make us an offer!
The toy polar bear was no problem at all. I found one when walking my dog in the park. I had a quick look to check that there were no distraught children around – there weren’t, so I have ‘borrowed’ it. After the run I will return it to the spot where I found it, if Sherralyn will let me. She has grown quite attached to it. The child-sized polar bear costume was a far greater challenge and we have the talented Jennie Yates and her team to thank for ours.
I haven’t even mentioned the 60 hot dogs we need for each performance. Real? Plastic? Real buns and plastic frankfurters? Suffice to say that I will never want to see another hot dog once the production is over.
Thanks to Sarah, CJ and Pip for their help with props and other aspects of the show.
The Wonderful World of Dissocia
runs 22-30 May in the Studio at The Questors Theatre at 7.45 p.m.
(matinée 24th May 2.30 p.m.)
Bargain tickets £6.50 on 22 May