Warwick team take drama across the Atlantic

A SILENT film that was said to have inspired Ridley Scott when directing Blade Runner and Alien is being recreated for the stage by a youth theatre company in Warwick.

And after the Playbox Theatre Company perform their explosive production of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to audiences at the Dream Factory in Warwick, the teenagers will take their show across the Atlantic for a run at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Los Angeles, USA.

The plot of the 1927 film follows a city of underground workers, who are ruled by the rich in their lavish world above ground.

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That city is brought to the brink of revolution by Maria - and the only chance for prevention is the creation of a new machine woman to bring terror to the city and crush the uprising.

Stewart McGill, director of Playbox’s multi-disciplinary production, said: “The film was the most expensive ever made at that time. It was seen as being unstageable.

“So we have incorporated it into a new piece. We have had to be incredibly creative.”

Sections from the silent film have been incorporated into the play, while Stewart and his creative team have been examining why that story was being told at that time and seeing what it means to a 21st century audience.

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He said: “There are many parallets with today’s society, with the divide we are seeing between the very wealthy and those struggling to pay their bills.”

Set in modern times, the play is not silent and includes a lot of action, as well as material from texts the Playbox team obtained from documentary material on the film and from conferences at which rehearsals took place and debates with audiences.

Stewart, who has taken young groups to the Santa Monica Playhouse - with which Playbox has a good relationship - many times before, said: “We are presenting something that’s completely original and completely new, but based on a silent movie.

“We were invited to go to the USA with the show and thought, what can we take that’s very different? This production is something that’s so unusual.

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“It was such an influential film - people still talk about it having influenced Ridley Scott in his direction of Blade Runner and Alien.

“We thought it would be really interesting for American audiences to see it on stage.”

The youngsters, who are all aged between 15 and 19, will also be visiting Warner Brothers and Universal Studios, going on a trip to Disneyland and meeting the Cirque du Soleil company during their ten-day trip, which takes place in October.

But before they head off, the company will perform Metropolis at Playbox’s venue, The Dream Factory, in Shelley Avenue, Warwick, from Thursday September 27 to Saturday September 29 at 7.30pm, with additional performances on Saturday October 6 at 7.30pm and Sunday October 7 at 4pm.

Tickets, which cost £11.50 (£7.50 concessions and £6 for Playbox members), are now available. Call 419555 or go online.