Eight is a collection of extraordinary tales of remarkably self aware young adults: a politically conservative prostitute keeping old values alive; a hugely successful stockbroker walking out of his life; a gallery owner discovering the suicide of his partner hanging by an Hermès scarf.
The play presents obsession in its moral, sexual, and religious guises; raising the question of why nothing is ever enough for our resource-guzzling age. Eight works to find the glimmers of faith in a world of wholesale cynicism; this show moves seamlessly from despair to hilarity as its characters search for meaning in a morally and spiritually bankrupt England. Spend an hour or so, with beguiling oddballs from a generation trying to find its feet in faithless 2008.
Eight gives the audience an opportunity to get inside the heads of some very complex twentysomething people. Part cynicism, part idealism, part sophistication, part resignation: these people are well beyond school days and are now dealing with life’s realities. Ella Hickson’s writing captures both male and female voices, upper and lower classes alike. Her keen ear is matched by performances that made me catch my breath—and a collective expulsion of air was heard throughout the audience at each monologue’s end.
Ella is fearless in describing characters you’ve never come across before, surely you’ve never heard inner voices speak so eloquently. I can only compare her play to another of my favorites, Talking Heads by Alan Bennett, except her characters are just beginning their lives, and we know the road ahead will be a rocky one.
The Edinburgh University Theatre Company runs the Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh, the oldest student run theatre in Britain. Any member can propose a show for selection by company vote, and all aspects of the production are carried out by the student membership.
In Edinburgh, Eight received numerous and consistent 4-star and 5-star reviews from the critics. To read some of their comments, click here. Eight also won two other awards, including the Scotsman’s prestigious Fringe First.
Hickson has been called the “voice of her generation” by the Guardian, and has successfully presented her second play, “Precious Little Talent” in London’s West End. In May, 2012, her “Boys” received excellent reviews in London. Ella continues to write prolifically for theatre and TV.
Ella has had many plays produced in London, most recently two at Almeida: “Oil” in 2016; “The Writer” in 2018. The latter was the hottest, and most controversial, ticket in town!
The Shortlist for the 2008 Award included:
- “The Bird” and “The Bee” – by Kandinsky Theatre Company
- Two linked plays, one by Alastair Smith the other by Matt Hartley, each written from a different adolescent’s point of view. Separate stores with linked, intersecting lives.
- Bite sized Breakfast – conceived by Nick Brice
- A compilation of 15 young playwrights’ 10 minute works. Written with great humor and understanding of life and loves, beautifully presented by a troupe of 4 talented actors.
- The Idiot Colony, by Red Cape Theatre Company
- A marvelous piece of physical theater by Lisle Turner with direction by Andrew Dawson, describing 3 women’s incarceration in a mental institution for decades, for offenses against society’s morality, not insanity.
- 66A Church Road, by Daniel Kitson
- A humorous lament on his loss of a beloved home, but his retention of his many memories.
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.