Hero in a coma

Oliver Decius, adventurer and boatbuilder, sets sail across the Atlantic in a bid to showcase his latest prototype and save his troubled boatyard.  En route he runs into a storm of mythic proportions which threatens to cost him not only his business but his life.  When a comatose OD is rescued from the wreck his family have to face the challenge of life without him.

‘I loved the movement from reality to dreams… all the sound effects you added though weather forecast, west wind, sea sounds etc, gave a real sense of travel.’

‘Loved the experimental operation given to the man in the coma and the elusive mystery woman with her sea shell. ‘

‘Refreshing tone and style’, ‘Profound’, ‘Engaging’, ‘Intriguing’, ‘Edgy’, ‘An interesting insight into human behaviour’.

Reviews/Audience feedback for Hero in a Coma

Hero in a Coma examines the place of heroes in the 20th Century and considers how we can manage without them. We drew our inspiration from epic storytelling of the past to address contemporary social concerns, examining the irreconcilable tensions in our lives between work and family, purpose and power, selfishness and duty in institutions such as the health services and financial corporations.

The play developed out of workshopped material as we considered reform of the health service and the effects of cuts in government funding. These present ethical dilemmas, and force people to consider whether they will follow the imposed rules, act according to their role within an institution or act independently, following their own moral compass.

IMG_0616The re-imagining of classical mythology to reflect the concerns and preoccupations of a modern society in an age of seismic socio-cultural change (particularly in regard to the NHS, and the moral and ethical dilemma of the allocation of health service funding) reflects the way in which  contemporary theatre responds to the wider social context in which it is created.

Hero in a Coma was performed through a collage of scenes involving physical theatre, classical text, poetry, naturalistic text, music and imagery.  The play incorporated original writing, based around extensive improvisation and devising sessions, with classical text, physical acting and music.

IMG_1854Scenes in development from “Hero in a Coma” were presented at Washington Arts Centre as part of the Greenhouse Scratch Night. and at the Customs House Theatre scratch night.  The feedback received from this experience  helped shape the progression of the piece into a full length script, which was performed as an in-development rehearsed reading at The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle with the following cast:


John McMahon
Penelope Penny Lamport
Marcus Christopher Strain
Calypso Rebecca Hollingsworth
Frank Honey Dennis Jobling
Simon Sidle Sam Honour
Caroline Cunningham Gabriele Heller
Rowena Blunt Adele Evitt
Dr Minerva Christina Cuthbertson
Dr Jupitus Huw Evans
Nora Adele Evitt
Stage Directions

Sally Keys

IMG_1830Work continued on the piece through a week-long research and development period during which we streamlined the script to focus in more clearly on the central narrative.  The finished play was performed at Bewick Hall in Newcastle City Library in October 2015.

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