Claire Dowie

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Face to Face Festival

written and performed by Claire Dowie
directed and designed by Colin Watkeys

A dancer prepares to dance the can can one last time .....
What does she do when her body no longer moves
How does she feel when memory fails
When she could high kick and split with such ease
But now groans to get out of her chair.
When she remembers being 12 but not yesterday
When gender and sexuality were such a battle
But now she feels, at best, gender neutral
At worst, invisible. Looking at the ageing life
Physically, mentally and spiritually. Is it all bad?
Claire Dowie's When I Fall If I Fall tells the story of a Can Can dancer ... still dancing.
And its also about growing up feeling different ... and not fitting in ...
When I Fall If I Fall was originally commissioned by the Kilowatt Festival in Sansepolcro July 2018
and subsequently played Teatri di Vita in Bologna in August and Teatro Magro in Mantova in 2019

Claire Dowie was commissioned to write Queen Lear for Nina's Drag Queens of Milan with music by Enrico Melozzi. The premiere was at Teatro Carcano in Milan in January 2019

Watch excerpts here:

And a link to "Strawberries" one of Claire Dowie and Enrico Melozzi's fabulous songs

Claire Dowie originally wrote the text in English but now there are both English and Italian versions of the show.

A celebration of the longstanding collaboration between Claire Dowie and Stage2 Youth Theatre. The evening will feature extracts from three plays adapted by Stage2 director Liz Light for Stage2 from Claire Dowie's solo plays: Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? Arsehammers and The Year of the Monkey and one completely new play Hard Working Families which Claire Dowie wrote specifically for Stage2.  
The wonderful Stage2 Youth Theatre premiered Hard Working Families by Claire Dowie at the Crescent Theatre Birmingham January 7th - 9th 2016. Stage 2 have performed Claire Dowie's solo shows with casts of thousands for years.  Now Claire has written an epic especialy for them and they are brilliant
On May 4th Bloomsbury Methuen published the collection Upfront Theatre which includes Hard Working Families alongside three of Claire Dowie's plays revised for large casts by Liz Light & first performed by Stage2
Buy direct from Bloomsbury Publishing
also available on Amazon

Following performing 5 shows at the Face to Face Festival 2015
Adult Child/Dead Child; Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt?;  
H to He (I'm turning into a man) See Primark and Die! & Unboxed Arsehammers!  Random Subject and songs from Claire Dowie's novel Creating Chaos ...

Claire will perform Unboxed with Martin Stewart at Etcetera Theatre for the Camden Fringe  in August

and both Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? and H to He (I'm turning into a man) at OtherPlace
in Brighton in September/October
for the Face to Face Festival ...

Currently writing Hard Working Families for the wonderful Stage 2 Youth Theatre in Birmingham who have already produced Claire Dowie's solo theatre plays for companies of as many as 100 including
Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? Adult Child/Dead Child
The Year of the Monkey
and Arsehammers

Recent productions continue - check Facebook and Twitter for latest news

Adult Child/Dead Child
Claire Dowie

Rating: *****  (review by James Waygood)

Dowie’s piece is lifted to intense new highs
by an inspired vision and an impeccable cast.

What’s most beguiling about Dowie’s writing is not only how free and natural the central character is, using unembellished and down-to-earth anecdotes and experiences, but the simple yet incredibly effective poetry that runs throughout the entire piece. It really emphasises and brings out the emotions and certain plot points that hook you right into the character’s story and plight without any effort at all. This poetic grasp of language really adds a simple yet lavish texture and rhythm to the text that makes the piece incredibly easy to listen to and engage with, but without adding any unnecessary theatre or pretence to someone who is very definitely a human character.

It takes us on a heartbreaking and absorbing journey of a child who has been let down at every step of the way into adulthood, resulting in a life on the edge of both reason and sanity. Laced with little garnishes of humour, it’s a deep, honest, and angry look at mental health, complete with gorgeously devastating insights into the fragility of human mentality. Nothing is exaggerated or over-dramatic, which is what makes it speak so directly to an audience and makes it so affecting. It taps so effortlessly into the uncomfortable delicacy of the human condition, and how easy it is to be destructively cruel to someone.

The treatment of having seven actors play moments of the same character adds not just a certain sense of variety, but also intrigue. We don’t get seven interpretations of a character, per se, but several different perspectives. The issues explored within the piece always stay the same throughout, but the angle and empathies are slightly different from performer to performer. It’s fascinating, whilst always ensuring the narrative and clarity of the piece is never muddied. This is heightened by the fact that the actors cast here constitute a wonderful cross-section of gender, age, and culture, meaning you really get kaleidoscopic points of view that are difficult not to connect on at least one level by drawing on the performers own charismas.

But what’s most extraordinary about the entire cast is how they feed off the audience. You get the feeling that some of the writing could come across more light and comic at various points throughout. But as the audience ended up having a bit more of a severe reaction to the show for this particular performance, each performer works with this rather than against, responding and complimenting the atmosphere augmenting it’s effect on people to an astonishing apex.

Published by Methuen
Published by Methuen
Published by Methuen
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