Playwright Lizzie Nunnery rounds off another busy year as her latest touring production makes it to her home town.
The Man with the Luggage, an adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist classic, comes to Hope University’s Capstone Theatre next week (December 6 & 7). Written by Nunnery, it is the latest production from Trestle, one of Britain’s leading touring companies.
Under their guise Trestle Unmasked, the company collaborates with UK and international artists to “create physical storytelling theatre, unifying movement, music and text into a compelling theatrical experience”. For this show, they are working with Blindeye, which produces as well as devising its own productions, works with Human Rights survivors both in the UK and abroad.
The story traces a man’s journey home after becoming a refugee during a war in his homeland. It is set in ‘an imagined Europe’ and we follow the man, Damir, as he arrives at a train station and starts his tortuous, eventful, bizarre, dangerous and often hilarious journey back home, to his village, to his house, and to his loved ones.
Lizzie Nunnery said: “I first met with director Oliver Jones in January to discuss a project he had in mind: a show inspired by Ionesco’s play The Man with the Luggage. We were both as baffled by this text as we were passionate about it and perhaps that was Ionesco’s point. It’s a glorious maze of events and illogical consequences, of lost intentions and disrupted meanings.
“We began to explore stories of Eastern Europe: folk tales, journalist accounts, personal testimony, psychological analysis of refugees and repatriates… unravelling from this mass of information a story about a man travelling across an imagined Europe to a home which may no longer be there, to a woman who may not be waiting.
“Working with three actors, a huge pile of suitcases and a fish puppet, we set about developing a theatrical language that allowed the naïve to become complex and the absurd significant.”
It’s a new way of working for Nunnery, which she describes as “a wild new adventure”.
Her play The Swallowing Dark was a finalist for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2010 and was the first production in the re-launched Liverpool Playhouse Studio in October. Her play Intemperance (Liverpool Everyman, Sept 2007) was awarded 5 stars by The Guardian and shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth Award. She was one of the writers of the critically acclaimed Unprotected, which was awarded the Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression.
She has written for Radio 3 and Radio 4, and is working with Lime Pictures on a TV project. Her debut short film Monkey Love aired in 2009 on Channel 4. In addition she released her debut album Company of Ghosts in 2010.