September 19-22, 2019, Worthing Theatre Trail

Pity by Gary Cook

While in no way autobiographical, Pity was sparked in my mind by the experience of caring for my mother as she suffered with early-onset dementia. Her often bizarre (and often hilarious) confusions and leaps of twisted narrative while suffering from this terrible disease was hard to cope with.

But - sometimes, just sometimes - they hinted at fantasies that seemed so real to her that I wondered - had that really happened to her? Was I sure of my own reality? Maybe I didn’t know my mother and her history at all? Maybe it was me that was confused, frightened and forgetful? Was it me that was floating on a turbulent ocean, just waiting to hear the dreadful crack of calving icebergs?

My sister, a visiting carer, completed the inspiration for me when she told me a (possibly apocryphal?) story she had been told during her training.

- Gary

 

We would like to thank the Worthing Theatre Trail for the opportunity to put this little piece of theatre on. It is a total change from Identity’s usual modus operandi, as directors we are more used to mounting larger-scale plays both through Identity and at the Southwick Players (Nettie with Lettice and Lovage and Fantastic Mister Fox, Gary with The Turn of the Screw and both of us with Blue Remembered Hills, The Crucible and Wuthering Heights).This little offering is something of a labour of love, and has some personal resonance for all three of us, we hope you like it.

- Nettie & Gary

Pity Company, 2019

NETTIE SHERIDAN
Julie / Director / Producer / Founder

Nettie returned to the stage after a long break in 2011. Since this time she has performed in many productions and undertaken a variety backstage  roles including Stage Manager, Production Assistant, DSM and Prompt. She was Assistant Director for Private Lives, Director for Lettice and Lovage and the Brighton and Hove Arts Council Excellence Award-winning Blue Remembered Hills in 2016 (co-directing with Gary Cook), and its BOAT revival with their company, Identity in 2017.

Nettie has played a variety of roles, her recent favourites being The Dodo in Alice In Wonderland, Sarah Sally in Translations, Ma Bailey in Its A Wonderful Life, Muriel in Animal Farm and Soberance in Far From The Madding Crowd.

Nettie has also performed in musicals, pantomimes, variety shows and rehearsed play readings. She is an active member of Brighton Little Theatre, Southwick Players and The Arundel Players.

In 2018, Nettie directed Fantastic Mister Fox for the Southwick Players Youth group, for youngsters aged 10-16. With Gary, she co-directed The Crucible for Identity, and in November 2018, played Faye in Neil Simon's Chapter Two, followed by channelling her inner witch for the Wick Theatre Company's Macbeth in 2019. Nettie co-directed (with Gary) Wuthering Heights for the BOAT's summer 2019 season.

She is pleased to bring the character of Julie to life - and to direct - Pity for the Worthing Theatre Trail.
Next up, Nettie will be appearing in The Matchmaker for Southwick Players, before directing The Elephant Man for them in early 2020.

DEBBIE CREISSEN
Katherine

Debbie has performed in several acting and non-acting roles at The Southwick Players, winning Best Supporting Actor awards for both Benjamin in Animal Farm and Lotte in Lettice and Lovage. She has also performed at Brighton Little Theatre and has taken the role of assistant supervisor/director for SP Youth drama group (SPY) and their production of Fantastic Mister Fox. In 2018 she performed in dual roles in The Turn Of The Screw directed by Gary at The Barn Theatre, In Identity's The Crucible as Ann Putnam/Martha Corey, and in October returned to the Barn as Mrs. Watty in The Corn Is Green, for which she won the Best Supporting Actress award from the Southwick Players.

In 2019, Debbie joined the cast of Identity's Wuthering Heights as an ensemble member and director's assistant for a very successful run at Brighton Open Air Theatre.
Debbie is very happy to bring this two-hander to Worthing with Nettie and Gary.

GARY COOK
Author / Producer / Founder
After many years with the band Skinbat Scramble, leaving a trail of 6 remaindered CDs in their wake, designer Gary swapped music for his first love, theatre.

Initially working in publicity and promotion for several Brighton Theatre Groups (notably the Southwick Players, for whom he has won several Arts Council Publicity Awards), he has also worked on sound design, set design, props and "hanging about backstage trying to be useful". In 2016 Gary co-directed Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills for the Southwick Players (with Nettie Sheridan), which won many Arts Council awards including the Excellence Award.
His short play Pity was presented to great acclaim as part of a one-act evening for Southwick Players - this is to be revived in 2019 as part of the Worthing Theatre Trail. He is also working on a SF drama, The Librarian.

In 2017, Gary teamed up with Nettie to form Identity and reprise Blue Remembered Hills at the BOAT.

In March 2018, Gary directed an adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of The Screw for the Southwick Players (runner-up in the NODA south-east drama awards) and in April 2018 directed a rehearsed reading of the gangster farce Wetwork by Darren Little. In 2018 became President of The Southwick Players, and also performed in their award-winning production of The Corn Is Green, as the rickety and confused Old Tom (typecasting!). He was super pleased to be back at the BOAT for 2019, for Wuthering Heights - and is flattered to be asked to return co-directing with Nettie once more, in 2020.
Next up, he will be expanding the text of Pity, hopefully for a run in the Brighton Fringe 2020.

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