28 March 2023

Lasagna @ Forum Darlington

I knew that Lasagna would be powerful when I found out that Open Clasp Theatre was behind it - their work is all about be powering women and creating safe spaces for discussions about current issues through theatre. For this production they worked alongside Pause, a national charity who works with women who have had their children taken into care (whose true life experiences informed the moving script). The performance in Darlington was sponsored by RSACC - the Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre which supports survivors of sexual violence across County Durham. What an example of how theatre can create positive change and how organisations can work together to spread awareness.

Trailer for Lasagna

The play is centred around two neighbours, Sally (played by Beth Crame) who plays a young women whose three children have been removed by Social Services. Zoe Lambert plays Jane, a kind neighbour who manages to form a bond with Sally, who is understandably scarred by her experiences. Lasagna is left on Sally's doorstep, a gesture widely used to alleviate grief/pain. As Sally opens up to Jane, Jane realises that a secret could destroy the trust that has taken a long time to create. The performances are raw and heart-rending; Beth embodying the anger and mistrust of authorities, Zoe personifying patience, compassion and self-sufficiency. 

It might sound all doom and gloom, but their are genuinely funny and touching moments as both characters find some lightness in their situations (Jane's life isn't exactly a walk in the park either). The production is set against the backdrop of the first lockdown, bringing back memories of the panic over toilet rolls and when no one knew what was to come. We find out more about Sally's trauma and the daily reality of women who have had their children removed, as well as all of the current stresses on the care system and the myriad of social issues which are all interlinked. 

Beth Crame (Sally) and Zoe Lambert (Jane)

I loved the set and lighting design, which was minimalistic but effective. One small change towards the end of the show is a powerful sign of progress and growth.  The production more than satisfies its aim to educate about women in this desperate situation, and deftly shows the anguish both parties (the mother and social services) face when children are removed. Any judgment is turned to empathy and the power of community and generosity is shown to be the best medicine. I left feeling hopeful and positive about the good in people and how a little kindness can make such a huge difference.

Find out more about events coming up at the Forum, Darlington here

Find out more about future Open Clasp productions here

Find out more about Pause Charity and their work here

Find out more about the RSACC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre) and their work here  

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