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Sunderland
Clément Koch
Sunderland
photo : DR
Actes du théâtre n° 55.[ imprimer ]
In the North of England, the rain, bird flu and the defeat of the local football team haven’t dampened Sally’s lust for life. But if she doesn’t find work within a few days she may lose custody of her little sister who suffers from a mental illness. So in order to keep her from being sent to the Centre, she’s willing to do anything, including becoming a surrogate mother and renting out her uterus. Bolstered by her best friend, whose wit is as flashy as her fingernail polish, she prepares to meet the rather unconventional couple that could change her life. But other people’s morals don’t always fit in with yours and, when unable to make you change your mind, they may try to destroy you, even if they have to lie a bit.
Sunderland is a social comedy, in the vein of Ken Loach, Martin McDonagh and Lee Hall... Without ever dwelling on the sordid side or despair, it is on the contrary a hymn to joy and freedom. A play you will enjoy that will even make you love haggis with lamb’s lungs and pig’s liver.

“I read Sunderland in one go. It was a real page-turner and I only stopped reading to drink a cup of coffee or answer the phone. I had to go all the way to the end. When I put down the book I was still in that house in a little English town. I had laughed and I had cried. I had experienced a life lesson.”
Excerpt from the preface by Stéphane Hillel to the published play

“It’s something like The Full Monty, The Virtuosos and Local Hero, except Sunderland was written by a Frenchman, Clément Koch. It’s only his second play but he’s already developed a lot of craft. It’s adroit and clever. He has put into Sunderland a dash of melodrama(just enough to move you), a touch of unabashed immorality and a large splash of devastating world-weary humour.”
Bruno Jacquot, Le Figaro, October 3, 2011

You feel like you’re watching an English film in the social realism genre, with a lot more humour. The speech is true-to-life and clear. Behind all the moral misery, there is a bond of love among the three girls, three human beings who have managed to make a life for themselves different from the one laid out for them. Their generosity, affection and solidarity are a way for them to find ‘an open door.’”
Tout pour les femmes, September 29, 2011

“Clément Koch’s play is fine and moving, alternating between laughter and tears, just like in life. The playwright displays a remarkable style. Rarely has anyone written so well for actresses.”
Marie-Céline Nivière, Pariscope, October 5-11, 2011

Opened at the Théâtre de Paris, September 15, 2011. Extended until June 2012.

Diretor: Stéphane Hillel. Cast: Elodie Navarre, Thierry Desroses, Constance Dollé, Vincent Déniard, Pascale Mariani, Vincent Nemeth, Bénédicte Dessombz.

Characters : 5 women - 3 men -
Editions de L'Avant-Scène, Collection des Quatre-Vents - www.avant-scene-theatre.com

RUBY You’ve got six good minutes left, sweetie. After that it’s time for your Lucky Charms.
JILL In the Alan Shearer bowl.
RUBY OK for the good-looking guy.
GAVEN That’s a real crime.
RUBY Handsome blokes aren’t exactly the specialty around here.
GAVEN Having a photo of Shearer in Sunderland.
JILL He’s wearing the England shirt.
GAVEN When you’re playing for those bastards in Newcastle, you don’t come to Sunderland. Not even stuck on a bowl.
JILL He’s like Einstein, Newton, Tony Blair... A real legend.
GAVEN That’s the way it is, Jill. That’s football. There are rules.
JILL Sally says football is just twenty-four assholes who were punished with a ball and aren’t allowed to drink with the rest of them up in the stands.
GAVEN I don’t drink up in the stands. Or outside them for that matter.
JILL Sally said that too.
GAVEN What else did she say about me?
JILL Your cap. That it’s really ugly.
GAVEN This cap?
JILL Have you got another one?
GAVEN No.
RUBY You two are like an old couple.
JILL No way, that big galoot Gaven is beguiled by Sally.
RUBY And how do you know that?
JILL You’re the one who told me this morning.
GAVEN (handing Jill a new bowl wrapped in gift paper) Here, it’s for you. Roy Keane. He’s the new coach.
RUBY An Irishman. What’s an Irishman doing grazing around here?
JILL Because it’s raining.