On The Bridge
On the Bridge won Origins Theatre's first playwriting competition, From Page to Stage 2013. We attracted entries from all over the world, but Natassa's play was a clear favourite with the judges. Like all really great plays, On the Bridge has many layers, and we were amazed to discover some of these layers in rehearsal. We staged it at four locations; two on the Isle of Wight, and in Southampton and New Cross, London. Thank you for supporting Origins Theatre, and we hope you will look out for us in the future.
Kevin Wilson, Director.
Introduction by Natassa Sideri
On The Bridge tells the story of Igor and Freddy, two middle-aged men who decide to stand on one end of a bridge famous for attracting suicide attempts and not let anyone pass unless they’ve told them their motives. However, Freddy and Igor proclaim, their purpose is not to talk anyone in or out of a decision. Instead, their only aim is to get people to admit their intentions. “The actual words and all”. And come what may.
The idea behind the play makes for a somewhat strange and rather international story. On The Bridge took me approximately three months to write but in retrospect I realise it had been brewing in my mind for years. I’d say the Origins input came about ten years ago, during a trip to Prague. Someone there told me a story about a petrol station that would change hands every year due to its location right underneath the city’s famous suicide bridge. In the play, the image of this petrol station haunts Freddy, who says he’s “on the other side of things” compared to the people at the petrol station. On the side where the options are still open, and life or death are yet to be decided. Fast-forward to April 2012, and the second event that shaped the play took place: a 77-year-old pensioner from Greece, my country of origin, took the tube to Parliament Square at the center of Athens, sat under a tree and committed a very public suicide. Within a couple of hours, images of the bloodstained patch under that tree were being flashed on TV screens around the world. They were accompanied by reports indicating a sharp increase in the number of suicides on a pan-European level.
At that moment I thought again about the petrol station in Prague. What would happen, I asked myself, if instead of talking about suicide as a fait accompli that could have been prevented had I, or we, on anyone, etc. someone tried to take the fear, anger and taboo elements out of the equation, and approached suicide as a rational, potentially trivial act? Would that someone have to be the embodiment of cold-bloodedness and indifference? Or would he, or she, turn out to be more complex than that? And how about the act itself? Would such attitude increase or decrease its chances of actually happening? These questions are at the heart of On The Bridge. I’d like to thank the Origins Theatre for giving me the opportunity to see my play performed at the Isle of Wight in November. At times like these, when funding is being slashed from everywhere, playwrights depend even more heavily on initiatives of this kind. Which gives me all the more reason to feel very grateful and honoured.
Natassa Sideri, Writer.
Pete Harris - Igor
Pete made his stage debut at the tender age of eleven as an all singing and dancing Tom Sawyer. He then embarked on a whirlwind journey that included many houses, schools, one wife, two daughters and 27 years, before treading the boards again - in the aptly titled 'Beginners on Stage' at Trinity Theatre, Cowes, in 2010.
He has since played a variety of roles. Being asked to be involved in Origins Theatre's first production 'Sins of the Past' came as a pleasant surprise. It was performed at the Apollo Theatre in 2011 and in a slightly re-written version at Shanklin Theatre in 2012, when Pete played an additional character, Mr C. Pete is delighted to be appearing with Origins Theatre again in On the Bridge.
Peter Stockman - Freddy
Peter is well known to Island theatre audiences having appeared in over 80 shows both amateur and professional over the last 17 years. In this time he has had some fantastic roles including Mozart in Amadeus, Mordred in Camelot, Moon-face Martin in Anything Goes, and Randle P McMurphy in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He formed his own theatre company Two’s Company seven years ago, which performs small cast comedies such as Elsie and Norm’s Macbeth, and The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice, which he took to Dorset last year to great reviews. Two’s Company also performs an annual benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues for the Isle of Wight Women’s Refuge. He says he takes himself far too seriously.
Josh Pointing - Man
On the Bridge is Josh Pointing's second production with Origins Theatre, after playing Hamlet with the company, and he's relieved to have a few less lines to worry about this time.
Past appearances include Henry V, The Winter's Tale, The Country Wife and Arcadia - at school and university - along with a stint in improvised comedy with Kentish troupe Play it by Ear. He's excited to be playing someone as insufferably pompous as Man in On the Bridge, a role for which he's been preparing for a great many years.
Daniel Trevenna - Emil
New to acting and the theatre when he moved to the Isle of Wight in 2012, Daniel has now become a face regularly seen on the Island stages.
Performances include RedTIE’s staging of Alan Bennett's the History Boys, Debbie Isitt’s Matilda Liar, and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Female of the Species. He has also appeared at the Apollo Theatre in the production of Humble Boy, by Charlotte Jones, taking the lead role of Felix Humble.
Off the stage, Daniel has also appeared in a number of short films and enjoys being behind the camera as well as in front of it. On the Bridge is Daniel’s first production with Origins Theatre.
Emily Scotcher - Malva
Emily is a 23-year-old actress, singer, writer, conductor and musician, with a soft spot for pantomimes. Her first theatrical steps were aged four & hasn't looked back since!
Following her graduation from Exeter University with a BA (Hons) in English Literature, she spent a year as a children's entertainer before taking the reins for the launch of the Isle of Wight's under-25s website, [yoppul].
Her proudest moments to date include appearing in the feature film Les Misérables, singing with best-selling author Louis de Bernieres at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival 2012, performing at Disneyland Paris as part of their 20th birthday celebrations and taking the role of Musical Director for Island company The Wight Strollers.
Having appeared in The Telescope, and played Laertes in Hamlet, Emily is delighted to be performing once more with Origins Theatre in On the Bridge..
Imogen May - Girl
A relative new comer to the Isle of Wight, Imogen discovered acting when she answered an advert in the local paper for a reading for Oscar Wilde's the Importance of being Earnest. She was given the delightful role of Cecily Cardew, and her love of acting was born.
Then followed the role of Elenor in the 'Haunting of Hill House', and her last challenge was Ophelia in 'Hamlet', her first production with Origins Theatre, where she also had the chance to sing as Ophelia slips into madness. Imogen is also a keen singer and has performed with bands in London and the Isle of Wight.
Off stage Imogen has also appeared in short films since living on the Island and has a real passion for the entire process of bringing a performance to life, be it theatre or film.
Natassa Sideri - The Writer
Natassa Sideri was born in Greece in 1981. In 2004, she moved to York to undertake postgraduate studies in Comparative Politics. Then, in 2006, she began reading for a PhD degree in contemporary philosophy, at the French department of King’s College London. In 2009, she quit her doctoral studies with a view to devoting more time to playwriting. Since then she has held part-time jobs as a language teacher, kindergarten sculpture teacher, gallery attendant, coffee stall and pub worker; and she has been writing stage plays and short fiction.
On The Bridge, which debuted at the Isle of Wight’s Origins Theatre in November 2013, was her first full-length play. Currently, she is working on two new plays, which will be titled Waste and The Things That Creepeth respectively. In 2012, Natassa relocated to Berlin, where she’s now based for most of the year.