More Stimulating than Stimmung
Simone Witney previews Price on Application, written by Lisa Harmer-Pope and directed by Leigh Shine
Stimmung is a German word meaning the atmosphere of home. It was used by Mario Praz in his standard work History of Interior Decoration to mean the mood created by beautiful furnishings. But anyone who has viewed empty houses knows that even without sympathetic decor, a house has an atmosphere. No 6 The Green, St Leonards has spadefuls of it – you may have seen it in Coastal Currents. Built in 1875 by Decimus Burton, it is extravagantly capacious and ripe for renovation. Once chilly dusk falls, it’s not hard to imagine a rich, gas-lit past suffusing our contemporary lives with smoke and shadows. It has inspired Lisa and Leigh to create an ingenious site-specific piece of theatre. I’m sworn to secrecy as to its subject matter by an oath so strong that not even a basin of C Note chocolate could persuade me to break it. It’s safe to say, however, that you’ll experience a range of emotions and there will be walking about.
Lisa Harmer-Pope is a very experienced actor and inventive playwright. You may have seen her in the Kino-Teatr’s opening Irish play, the Magowan Trilogy by Sheamus Hanlon, in Dinner Thrillers, or her own work A Day in the Life of a Woman performed at the Roomz. Leigh Shine managed the Man in the Moon Theatre in London for years and gave an unforgettable performance at The Stables Theatre last year as the camp Edward Kynaston in Nell Gwynn. With this duo and with Jonny Magnanti and Elle Tipping in the main roles, you know to expect strangeness of a high order.
If you’d like to gain an insight into the history and energies of the house and love a bit of detective work into Hastings’ past, my advice is: leave the dog at home to look after the children and take up your role as a buyer attending an auction and be prepared to bid. There are only places for 20 by the way, so pre-booking is essential. There are two tours each night, but tickets cannot be bought on the door.
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