Saturday, 26 June 2010

Suffolk actor to hike around the coast of Pembrokshire to get to Edinburgh.

Bramfield born actor Martin Bonger has been garnering rave reviews in his play ‘Keepers’ lately. Devised with fellow performer Fionn Gill and director Simon Day, the play is based on the infamous events at the Smalls Lighthouse that occurred two hundred years ago.

“Enchanting… physical… powerful beguiling theatre, a veritable tour de force…” The British Theatre Guide.

The legend of the Smalls Lighthouse has always captivated audiences. With little more than a trapdoor and a ladder, Martin, Fionn and Simon bring the fireside tale alive and conjure up a stormy narrative of companionship and loss that unfolds between the swelling tides and in the sweeping flashes of the lamp that the keepers tend every night.

In 1801 two keepers Thomas Howell and Thomas Griffith were wintering on the lighthouse 22 miles off the Welsh coast when Griffith died in mysterious circumstances. Howell kept the body for four months in a makeshift coffin strapped to the side of the lighthouse but it was smashed up by the waves, leaving the dead keeper’s arm to move back and forth in the wind appearing as if to beckon the other into the ocean. When a relief team finally arrived, Howell was found to have gone mad and with “a shock of white hair”.  The rules were then changed so that lighthouses had to be staffed by three keepers to prevent a similar event reoccurring.

The hour-long play’s small first tour was a resounding success, delighting audiences at The Brighton Fringe, PULSE and Bristol’s Mayfest and recently ‘coming home’ to The Cut in Halesworth and the New Wolsey Theatre.

Now Martin and his theatre collective, The Plasticine Men, need to raise £3000 to cover the costs of taking Keepers to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the run of the performances at the Pleasance Courtyard, 4-30 August 2010.

So over the weekend of 3-4 July, the trio will undertake a sponsored walk between the lighthouses on the Pembrokeshire coast carrying their own supplies and finishing with a boat trip out to the Smalls Lighthouse itself.

25 year old Martin Bonger grew up in Suffolk amongst a creative family and he first gained notices as a teenager for performances with the semi-professional company Circle 67 in fully staged productions of Nicholas Nicklebly and their ‘strolling players’ productions of Hamlet. He joined the National Youth Theatre while still at school and after a gap-year with a circus in Berlin, studied theatre at Leeds. Martin also wrote and directed ‘Tomas Pape’ a deeply affecting piece about childhood suffering staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2007.

The Plasticine Men have set up a web page where you can sponsor their grueling journey to Edinburgh at  Alternatively you can send cheques to The Plasticine Men, Flat 2, 11 Cambridge Gardens, Hastings, TN34 1EH. 

You can also join their Facebook page and twitter feed to see photographs of the production and keep up with the latest news. The collective promise donors will receive a report of the trip and Edinburgh run with photos and press clippings. All donors will also receive a big ‘thank you’ on the website.