We are in a small and dark cellar- a middle aged man with a grey beard scrabbles at a desk between a pile of teetering papers and an urgently ringing phone.
He grabs the phone ‘I’ve seen him across the street …the man who tried to kill me..!’
A low hiss, smoke rolls in under the door filling the room. Choking back the fumes the man struggles, slumping forward – his head bangs hard on the desk …and he’s out.
We are five minutes into PAT by Analogue Theatre Co. The real story of Pat Hughes, Irishman and President of Sheffield University’s Student Union in 1974.
A man of his time and an activist, he lived in an era which believed that the establishment was destructible and that political action was the hammer, in Pat’s words: “Justice is in fact little without the will and capacity to act on it.”
This production, half drama/half documentary, has been created by piecing together Hughes’ life from the papers left in the student flat he remained in for 40 years.
The set is a Marie Celeste of half-drunk cups and unfinished manuscripts, a reliquary permeated by the witching chemistry of Hughes’ DNA evoked by the use of his real possessions. Their combination conjures both the decade and his hermetic existence.
Moving forward, our concentration focuses on his dangerous battle with his aggressor and the injustices imposed on the defenceless.
PAT is a work-in-progress, an incomplete and tantalising fragment and snapshot of a political spirit. The production is compelling and driven by an excellent script and sound design, offering a cliff hanger of possibility for an audience to anxiously await the full story.
The full version of PAT will be produced in Autumn 2018 follow The Cellar for full details,
(PAT is expected to have developed into a full-length production by Autumn 2018)