TO THE VICTOR GO....THE SPOILS

a new musical play by Steven Dykes and Paul Englishby

A strange dark tale meticulously directed, compellingly performed.
— BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE
A chilling vision delivered in short sharp shocks.
— THE STAGE

In 2007 Shady Dolls embarked on their second collaboration with Steven Dykes with what promised to be their most provocative show to date. The Spoils, a musical play commissioned by Shady Dolls, reunited Steven Dykes with his long term collaborator Paul Englishby - the acclaimed composer of the RSC’s hit musical The Merry Wives of WindsorThe Spoils took the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by storm in the summer of 2007, where it premiered at C venue 34. The Dolls sought to secure funding to develop the piece further in 2009, and 2010.

The Show:

"THIS IS THE SYSTEM. NO ONE CHIEF, EVERYONE A BOSS. WE BELOW ARE CONTROLLED, YES. BUT ALWAYS WITHE AN EYE ON THOSE ABOVE." 

- LOTI, THE SPOILS

A music-loving army official, assigned the menial task of interrogating the low ranking secretaries of a defeated regime, finds his youthful idealism sorely tested by women whose survival has been – and will be - determined by their willingness to compromise. Join us for what promises to be a witty, provocative and downright creepy encounter between victim and victor.

CAST

(2007 production, C Venue, Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

STEVEN DYKES/PAUL ENGLISHBY PLAYWRIGHT/COMPOSER

STEVEN DYKES DIRECTOR

LAURA CHURCHILL LOTI

MARINA BURTON KYAT

CLARK DEVLIN SHILLING

POLLY HENSON DOBRA

REBECCA POLLOCK TALA

HENA CHOWDHURY/ STAGE MANAGER

LUCY DAVIES MOVEMENT

Marina Beach 3.JPG

THE SPOILS - REDUX 2009

Following on from their experimental process on An Ornery Tale - where digital projection was integral to the play’s grotesque beauty - the Dolls were delighted to unveil their plans to not only revive The Spoils (first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2007), but to further its development in a major Knowledge Transfer Research Project in partnership with Rose Bruford College and their long-time associates at NXT (New Cross Theatre) – all part of their ongoing exploration of the technological advances in theatre practice and ‘simultaneous performance’.

The first stage of this year-long project was a series of special one-off performances of the play over the summer – this time with Paul Englishby’s wonderful music played live.  Shady Dolls were invited to perform at a short European festival hosted by a new venue in the heart of Spain - the Sala El Granero (Granary Theatre) in Villanueva de la Jara, Cuenca. This proved an exciting prelude to The Spoils (or El Botín– as our Spanish hosts would say) finally reaching London to participate in Arcola Opera’s “Grimeborn” Festival at the Arcola Theatre in September 2009. In a first for the company, The Spoils was successfully live streamed from the festival in Spain to an international audience via our website.

Shady Dolls would like to thank Phil Wigley, Emilio Romero and Nesta Jones of Rose Bruford College for their support in securing funding for this production. 

CAST

(2009 production at Sala El Granero Theatre, Cuenca Spain & Arcola Theatre, London)

STEVEN DYKES & NESBA JONES DIRECTOR

LAURA CHURCHILL LOTI

STEVEN DYKES SHILLING

POLLY HENSON DOBRA

ROANNA MITCHELL KYAT

REBECCA POLLOCK TALA

JENNIFER JOHNSON PIANIST

RACHEL NICHOLSON LIGHTING DESIGNER

CHRIS FARNCOMBE LIGHTING DESIGNER ASSISTANT

JOSH RICHARDSON SOUND DESIGNER

THE COMPANY DESIGNER

RACHEL CANDLER PRODUCTION MANAGER

MARC WILSON DOCUMENTATION & DIGITAL RECORDING

DAVID KERRY AND GRIT ECKERT SET CONSTRUCTION

THE SPOILS - PART III 2010

In 2010 Shady Dolls announced the latest development in the evolution of The Spoils, and  premiered a radical new version of the play as a simultaneous live and on-line performance at the Annual International Theatre Symposium at Rose Bruford College on Tuesday 13 April. This one-off “proof of concept” presentation was funded by the prestigious ‘Knowledge East’ (KE) - the business-focused network of the nine major universities in East and South East London. Its projects draw on the skills and enterprise of the faculty, graduates and visiting professionals of these institutions, whose practice in digital media and mediated performance reaches across the region’s network and beyond. 

The Spoils ‘Simultaneous Performance’ Project was initiated by KE in 2009 as a practical means of testing how the theatre can respond to the digital age and embrace the challenges posed by new channels for cultural ‘performance’.  This performance was the fruition of that initiative. The Spoils story of occupation, interrogation and surveillance lends itself perfectly to further investigation and dramatization through the application of new interactive media. The aim was the creation of a multi-perspective installation drawing on the diverse talents of our regular collaborators at NXT (New Cross Theatre) and our new KE partners, most significantly Liam Hayter and his RaveMedia team at Ravensbourne, who designed and supplied the vital interactive/broadcast aspects of the project. 

Following the live streaming of their performance of The Spoils at the Sala El Granero Theatre in Cuenca, Spain in July 2009, this re-imagining of the play took things a step further. The Shady Dolls adapted the scenic design of the original play into an Installation Piece for a Promenade Audience, utilizing the wonderfully atmospheric old Manor House at Rose Bruford. The linear narrative of the play was fragmented and each audience navigated its own route through the action. On-line viewers were able to access each of the performance spaces and conduct their own intimate surveillance.

CAST

(2010 production, Rose Bruford College, London)

STEVEN DYKES DIRECTOR

PAUL BRITTON SHILLING

Nesba Crenshaw LOTI

Joanna Mccarthy DOBRA

Hollie Garrett KYAT

REBECCA POLLOCK TALA

JENNIFER JOHNSON PIANIST

RACHEL NICHOLSON LIGHTING DESIGNER

JOSH RICHARDSON SOUND DESIGNER

RACHEL CANDLER PRODUCTION MANAGER

MARC WILSON DOCUMENTATION & DIGITAL RECORDING

To the victor go...The Spoils. Promotional video for a musical play by Steven Dykes and Paul Englishby. Produced and performed by Shady Dolls Theatre Company in 2007-10.

REVIEWS The Spoils C Venue, Edinburgh Fringe Festival  August 2007

THE STAGE BY GERALD BERKOWITZ

That men and women experience war differently is a truism, but the thrust of this new play by Steven Dykes and Paul Englishby is that our assumptions about those differences are almost certainly wrong.

A member of a conquering army interrogates four women who were mere secretaries in various ministries of the losing government. The man is enamoured of a piece of the defeated country’s classical music, and hopes this will create a bond with the women.

But it is soon apparent that he has sentimentalised the music, which has no special meaning for them, as much as he has the women, the war, and just about everything else he addresses. They, in contrast, are practical, matter of fact and generally disdainful of all men whose romantic visions disrupted and destroyed their neat and smooth running bureaucracies. Far from representing the softer sex, the women’s clear vision and impatience with male sentimentality exposes it for the destructive fantasy it is.

Though the script requires Clark Devlin’s interrogator to go on too long and too frequently in his romantic analysis of the music, the short, sharp shocks of his encounters with Laura Churchill, Rebecca Pollock, Polly Henson and Marina Burton carry the play’s chilling and corrective vision. 

THE FRINGE REVIEW BY JG

**** 4 Stars

This production comes to Edinburgh partly via Rose Bruford's Colleges Knowledge Transfer Funding Initiative which allows recent graduates the opportunity to produce their own professional work, and on the strength of this production is an initiative that deserves continued support. 

Theatrically the production is sparse relying on 5 strong central performances from Laura Churchill, Rebecca Pollock, Polly Henson and Marina Burton as the secretaries, supported by Clark Devlin as the Interpreter.

As a new play the writing, characterisation and narrative are strong and the original music composed by Paul Englishby adds that extra frission. The real strength of this piece for me was it's accessibility - taking a subject matter that is as relevant today as it has been in the past. A regime kept in power by the utter blind belief in the system by its supporters - even when they understand that much of the system is just smoke and mirrors.       

In the able hands of Steven Dykes who both wrote and directed the piece Shady Dolls Theatre Company have produced a production that can legitimately stand up against most of the professional new plays that are touring today.   

BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE BY LOUISE HILL

*** 3 Stars

A young army official is given the lowly task of interrogating the low-ranking secretaries of a defeated regime. What can they possibly have to say of any significance, and what means will he use to prise secrets from women well-practised - of necessity - in the art of concealment and deception?

Steven Dykes' and Paul Englishby's collaboration has produced a strange dark tale of the public and private compromises and sacrifices of war, ably performed by the Shady Dolls' cast of five. At the moment, the performance gives the impression of meticulous direction from which the performances have not yet been liberated, and this is not helped by a slightly laboured central device which requires Clark Devlin's character to keep switching a tape on and off. However, if their London production of Homestead is anything to go by, director and cast should have it in them to pull off a more compelling performance as the festival progresses.