Friendships torn apart in double-bill Parallel Lies at Surbiton’s cornerHOUSE

Friendship and the forces which can tear it apart is the theme which connects Parallel Lies, a double bill of one act plays to be performed over three nights at Surbiton’s cornerHOUSE arts centre in October.

In The Visit, directed by Turan Duncan, a charity befriender Patricia (Meta Thomas) calls on Betty (Debra Shepherd), an elderly woman living on a council estate. A deeper relationship forms between the two women than either might have expected.

In Swan Songs, directed by Jon Constant, jealousy and lies threaten to undermine the musical and personal partnerships of two retired professional singers.

Writer of both plays, Graham Large, drew the characters from real life; one from a casual conversation with a befriender, and the other from his personal experience of tensions that can build up between working musicians.

He said: “The Visit almost wrote itself after listening to a long-term befriender talk about the various aspects of her work.

“This lady was from the Home Counties – if I can put it like that ‑ and I wondered how she managed to relate to some of the people on council estates she had to deal with.

“It was this contrast that I found interesting and the play was constructed around it.

“Swan Songs came from my own experience of performing in a musical duo in which ‘artistic differences’ nearly ended the partnership.

“The two characters went through a series of metamorphosis as I was writing the play, from ageing rockers, to ex-punks.

“But in the final version they are a former jazz vocalist and a classically trained opera singer.”

Parallel Lies will be dedicated to the memory of Barry Rocard, who was the force behind the creation of the Surbiton arts centre’s studio performance space where the plays will be staged.

Parallel Lies will be performed in the Barry Rocard studio at the cornerHOUSE arts centre in Douglas Road, Surbiton, at 8pm on Thursday, October 20 to Saturday, October 22. Tickets are £8 (£6 concs). Go to ticketsource.co.uk/event/145063

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Richmond and Twickenham Times | Theatre