In Transit is a play we devised and produced through The Actors Kitchen, an Edinburgh based collective of professional actors. It was performed 17th-21st November 2009 at The GRV in Edinburgh. http://www.actorskitchen.co.uk/
We were also covered by The Edinburgh Evening News and The Scotsman.
Below is a press release with more info on the play and some of the reviews.
Nine Actors. Five Writers. One Bold New Piece of
The Actors Kitchen presents In
Transit - a devised ensemble drama.
On August 20 2009 a Libyan Airbus takes off
from a Scottish airport transporting Al Megrahi home. This unscheduled flight disrupts all other arrivals and
The best laid plans of all the oblivious commuters,
holiday makers and airport staff are thrown into disarray as the delays trap
them together for the day. Families,
colleagues, friends and strangers are thrust into each others lives provoking
connections, departures and emergency landings, as they are all stuck In Transit.
A Check-In Clerk’s fugitive sister arrives
needing help yet again.
An ex-nun makes her first tentative steps
into the modern world.
The long suppressed attraction of two best
friends may finally bloom.
An American woman touched by two infamous
plane crashes makes an unexpected bond with a plane spotter.
These are some of the twenty-four
characters In Transit explores through
nine interweaved stories. Fifteen of Edinburgh’s emerging theatrical voices
have combined their creative talents to devise the funny and moving stories of In Transit. According to Producer/Actor Marion Shortt:
"In Transit is a play about how the ripples of big
events can unwittingly effect the small events of our every day lives. Modern Edinburgh is a real melting pot
of cultural influences. While In
Transit is a distinctly Scottish play, it
also reflects the creative mix of its Scottish, English, French, American and
New Zealand collaborators."
It featured the work of Helen Bang,
Gabrielle Barker, Megan Bradbury, Alex Donald, Danielle Farrow, Margaret
Fraser, Pete Goldsack, Laverne Hawthorne, Robert Howat, Louise Knowles, Sam Laydon, Mark
Prebble, Kari Ann Shiff, Marion Shortt and Adrienne Zitt.
Reviews for In Transit
Adrienne Zitt, Kari Ann Shiff & Danielle Farrow
**** (4/5) Review by Keith D Edinburgh Spotlight 18-11-09
If you’ve ever spent time in an airport waiting for a delayed flight,
you may have passed the time wondering about your fellow travellers and
what their stories are. What are that irate couple sitting opposite
arguing about? Are those two over there just good friends or something
more? And why is that woman at the bar dressed like something out of a
The writers of In Transit
have obviously thought the same, and have based their ensemble piece
around the premise of holiday makers, business travelers and ground
staff forced to face a day thrown together as they wait for their
departures to be announced. Personal stories unfold as the day
progresses until the flights finally take off, dissolving forever the
transient microcosm of society that has been created.
are an Edinburgh based actors collective who use their time between
jobs and auditions to meet and practice their skills. In Transit is
their first production, and is produced by Marion Shortt and directed by
Mark Prebble. Prebble, together with four other writers, has created
the script; whilst Shortt and eight other talented and watchable actors
perform the piece, some taking on several roles through the course of
the 80-minute production.
The collaborative origins of In Transit are obvious, with several
vignettes standing in complete isolation, unconnected to the others
beyond sharing the setting. Two stories do however permeate the piece:
one examining the dynamics of a couple on the brink of a life-changing
decision; and another dealing with the tense and fragile relationship
between two sisters, each seeking escape and redemption in different
Although In Transit is set against the backdrop of a real-life event
(Lockerbie bomber Al Megrahi being flown home to Libya amidst tight
security, hence the airport-wide delays), this is largely irrelevant to
the minutiae of events portrayed. Only one segment deals specifically
with these events in a poignant piece written by Prebble himself: the
rest are more concerned with the impact on relationships, most of which
are already worn thin to the point of breaking.
Some of the standalone stories leave you wishing for a little more in
terms of exposition or length; but that is more to do with the quality
of the writing and characterisation than a criticism of their content.
Two in particular – bittersweet slices of human observation penned by
Helen Bang – are particularly effective and moving, and could easily
form the basis for larger pieces in their own right.
That said, Prebble exercises measured and well-paced control over the
segments, ensuring that In Transit is a satisfying piece as a whole; at
its best when the tales intertwine and effect each other.
Performances are equally controlled and impressive, with the 9-strong
cast demonstrating great ability to portray nuances of emotion and
inner motivation. Particularly strong are Shortt herself and Danielle
Farrow in the ‘Sisters’ thread, with Shortt’s clipped and
frustration-borne performance as a member of the ground staff
contrasting with Farrow’s wide-eyed and childlike portrayal of her
psychologically-damaged sibling. This piece is the core of In Transit
and is written and performed excellently, resulting in a moving and
memorable backbone to the whole production.
Another standout performance is Margaret Fraser’s bullish, intolerant
and foul-mouthed business executive. Her appearances throughout the
piece are memorable and – given they provide the main relief from some
of the intensity of the other segments – always welcome.
As a debut, self-produced piece, In Transit is an accomplished and
well-formed piece of theatre and Actors Kitchen deserve recognition for
their achievement and large audiences for the remainder of their run at
*** (3/5) Review by Joyce McMillian The Scotsman 26/11/09
For good or ill, though, borders always create a powerful sense of
drama; which is why international airports have become a key setting for
postmodern theatre. From Suspect Culture’s Airport to Grid Iron’s
massive site-specific work Roam, Scottish theatre has seen its share of
thrilling airport shows; and now, here comes the newly-formed Edinburgh
group Actors’ Kitchen – four writers, eight actors, a producer and a
director – with a not-half-bad airport drama of their own. Set at
Glasgow Airport on the day of the controversial deportation of
Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi, this 80-minute show, in fifteen short scenes,
follows the fate of half-a-dozen groups of travellers whose journey has
been delayed by the massive security restrictions at the airport.
To say that the show fails fully to exploit the potential of its
theme is to understate the case; there’s only one scene – a slightly
laboured one – which even mentions Megrahi. But there’s something about
the sharp interweaving of scenes and characters, the slow build-up of
an effective narrative climax, the smartness of Mark Prebble’s
production, and the sheer quality of the acting, that promises a serious
future for this impressive group of young Edinburgh-based
* * * (3/5)
Review by Thom Dibdin Annals of Edinburgh Theatre 19/11/09
Strong writing and interesting characters make the first outing from
the Actors Kitchen something of an unexpected treat, to be found until
Saturday in the small theatre of the GRV on Guthrie Street.
Unified by the theme of waiting for a delayed flight in an airport lounge, the fifteen scenes of In Transit
share five writers and nine performers. Chance encounters,
hostile departures and wistful, end-of-holiday longings add up to a
thought-provoking hour and a half.
As a scheme, it is not without its drawbacks. Not least for director
and script editor Mark Prebble. He has the job first of smoothing the
writing to an equal standard and then of bringing the whole into the
overarching theme, so it doesn’t feel too much like reading a
collection of short stories.
It is with the latter task that the production falls down. The high
concept is not merely that the passengers are all waiting for delayed
flights, but that all their flights are delayed by the unscheduled
takeoff of the plane taking Al Megrahi home to Libya.
It is a great idea, creating many possibilities for unifying the
different scenes. Unfortunately, not enough of them are taken. A sense
of continuity does exist, thanks to a recurring drama about an airline
receptionist and her dependent sister, and characters do pop up in
different scenes. But it is a hesitant kind of continuity because
not enough is made of the potential for cross-scene pollination.
Ironically, it is Prebble’s own scene, Plane Spotter,
between a plane-spotter and a Lockerby resident which feels forced into
the scheme. Unfortunately it is the only one which seeks to link the
politics of the situation at the airport with the dilemmas of the real
people, unexpectedly effected by Megrahi’s release.
The real jarring factor, however, is the scene changes. There seems
little point in having the most basic scenery of large boxes and
chairs, if you are going to spend a minute rearranging them each time.
All this said, there a those standout moments and performances. Helen Bang’s two offerings, Flo’s Story and Friends Reunited
are fantastic examples of the art of creating and developing characters
over a short time to deliver a nicely unexpected ending.
In the former, Margaret Fraser plays Flo who is running away from her
long-term institutional background. Laverne Hawthorne and Danielle
Farrow provide great support as the pals who help her out but become
suspicious of who she is.
in the latter, Hawthorne combines with Gabrielle Barker as old friends,
bumping into each other on the way to a common friend’s wedding. In
both cases, the performances rise up to the quality of the ideas and
The Actors Kitchen is a collective which gives actors a space to
practice and develop their skills between jobs and auditions. This
project has certainly done that, while providing a solid piece of
entertainment along the way. It does need more work, but the basics are
there and the result is a satisfying piece of Fringe theatre.