King of Bangor begins in darkness with the slowly rising sounds of laughter. It is an apt way to start a play which is about the voices that haunt the writer. Slowly, as the lights fade up, the assault on the senses becomes overwhelming as the audience enters the mind of one Stephen King.
The play is a love letter to the mind of the well known author. A play that like one of King’s meta works, blurs the lines between the real and imagined. The supernatural antagonist element so common to the authors works comes from the voices seemingly fighting for King’s attention. The viewer is left to question which of these characters who shift in and out of the stage are real. This is particularly driven by the fact that the actors playing these voices take on multiple characters through the duration.
The set up of the stage maintains King as the central figure with his typewriter. This staging gives the effect that everything happening around the writer spirals from mind and machine. In spite of the fact that the characters which haunt him largely give voice to the story, King himself still feels lonely at times disconnected from the action. Interaction with the characters often feels as though King is being playful and this is largely true until it becomes overwhelming. The lonely sound of the violin will often enter the scene as the drama builds. It also seems to work to indicate King’s own imagination building the drama.
Authors will often attribute their stories to the voices in their head, they write what they’re told. Lee Gambin in his scripting of King of Bangor interprets King’s head as such and as a result, brings these voices to life in a way that never loses the attention of the theatre goer. For long time King fans or those mostly unfamiliar with the author’s work, King of Bangor grabs the viewer pulling them through a psychological journey of creativity. It is the same feeling authors strive for when writing a good thriller really.
King of Bangor is showing at Bella Union, Trades Hall
29, 30 June, 1, 2 July 2011
6, 7, 8, 9 July 2011 1.00pm and 8.00pm
Book tix at: www.bellaunion.com.au