YOU NEED TO SAY SORRY – new play by writer & actor, Alison Stanley

As well as being on a BBC Hot Housing writing programme, Alison has scripted Theatre in Education programmes for schools, written two short films for festivals, and also found time to tour the North East and played venues in London and Edinburgh with three of her full length plays – Hard, Bedsocks & Secrets and Life Of Reilly.

With all that you’d think Alison had enough on her plate, but added to her ‘to do’ list this year are another two projects.

Her play Life of Reilly is being produced by the Leah Bell theatre company. An interview with writer, actress and theatre producer Leah features on this site in Take a Bow, 1st July 2021.

We open with Reilly in May in the North East and then go on an autumn national tour. I’m really excited about this as it’s a great opportunity said Alison.

The old saying of if you love what you’re doing you never work a day in your life – that’s so true. My work is my passion and I’m passionate about telling stories of everyday people through writing and acting.

Alison has wrote about diverse subjects such as autism and sex workers, for her new play she has decided to tackle domestic abuse and control in relationships.

For research and during the writing process I had advice from Northumberland Domestic abuse services, Age Well Northumberland and also accounts of lived experience.

I’ve found that other plays on this subject tend to centre on younger people but my play is different as it looks at the relationships from the perspective of two people in their late sixties.

This play also looks at how they find their way around social media which is a relatively new thing for them as they haven’t grown up with it and they’re still finding their feet. This often leads them to be vulnerable, as they tend to take everything at face value.

The two characters, Viv and Bill, have met on-line and arrange to meet. Viv is conscious of keeping safe, so on advice from her daughter they meet during the day in a busy coffee shop. They get on well.

The male lead is to be confirmed soon, the female lead is played by Leslie Saint John. Leslie has acted in a number of TV roles including Byker Grove and Catherine Cookson film The Girl, but notable in her role as the glamorous Vicky in the classic TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Interview with Lesley on this site at Talking Pictures 19 February 2020.

Throughout the play there are ‘flash forwards’ where the audience get to take a look into the future to see what life will be like should the relationship develop. During these flash forwards we get to see the real Bill.

The abuse starts as a slow burn with Viv cut off from friends and family. Bill controls her finances and becomes physically violent.

Whilst the subject matter is serious and dark, the real time conversation in the coffee shop is light and I hope in some instances hilarious. I want the audience to feel almost guilty for laughing at Bill.

In one episode in the coffee shop they both declare they’ve had a lovely time and will do it again. I want the audience to be almost shouting out ‘don’t do it!’

As a writer my work is observational and a lot of what I’ve seen and heard goes into this. I think this play will draw attention to older people in this situation and make people aware this is a problem not restricted by age.

‘You Need to Say Sorry’ opens in Laurels in Whitley Bay on June 22nd and runs till July 1st 2023, tickets are on sale now.

Find out more about Alison in an earlier interview on this site at Dream Catcher 3rd & 5th June 2021.

Alikivi    April 2023.