Our second showcase will kick off with Adrian Bellido’s The Awakening. It’s a story about the significance of a cup of tea, its accompanying teabag, and the perils of entering a teeth whitening clinic. Actually it’s not exactly about that, but rest assured cups of tea, the bags they come with and pearly white teeth are all present and correct. Adrian has adroitly blended these images and weaved a tale in the tradition of a Mike Leigh comedy drama whist taking a detour through Woody Allen’s examination of family power play.
The Awakening’s protagonist, Harry, is a mechanic who’s life is controlled by his wife, Kate, who believes the keys to a man’s kingdom lie in his stomach, their son Andrew, who’s wilfully ignorant of his actual place in the family, treats his mum as a goddess and his father as furniture decoration. Harry’s birthday has arrived and Kate’s decided that she knows what’s best for him as usual. She’s booked a course of teeth whitening treatment for him, insisting that he needs to keep up appearance. Harry reluctantly agrees to the course to please her, but finds his world turned upside down upon entering the clinic.
Harry meets Sophia, who he thinks is a dental hygienist, in fact she’s a therapist, Kate made the booking at the wrong clinic! Most would agree that any right minded thinking adult would laugh at this comedy of error and politely leave, but the misunderstanding causes something to snap inside Harry, releasing a torrent of paranoia and insecurity. He casts accusations towards Sophia, believing it’s all been a set up, that in fact everyone believes he’s crazy. He wants her to fix him, but the therapist believes that he needs to understand everything is down to his own decisions, the very same ones that lead him inside her clinic in the first place.
What follows are a series of wonderfully observed character based scenes involving the very significant cup of tea and accompanying tea bag. This innocuous drink becomes the focus of Harry’s frustration and a compelling piece of dramatic comedy as the family become embroiled in his attempt to wrest control of his life back.
Perhaps The Awakening’s biggest strength lies in how it plays towards the performance required from the actors. There’s so much here for an actor to interpret, having had the privilege of being in the rehearsal for this all I can say is that you should expect The Awakening to be the love child of Tony Soprano and a mash up of Woody Allen’s finest neurotic creations.