Two lines is a brand-new theatre company created by Phil Cheadle and Lisa Caruccio Came as a direct response to the pandemic and the increasingly fragmented world in which we are living. Through mixed media theatre productions, we aim to bring people together, inspire conversation and debate the most pressing issues of our time.
Over the course of the last year we’ve seen many theatre companies pivot to producing online content and streaming productions, but often this work wasn’t actually presented live, and, as such, one of the unique elements of the theatrical experience was lost. We have put together Waiting for Lefty with the specific aim of creating urgent socially engaged work that has the live immersive quality of real theatre. Although the theatre world is thankfully beginning to reawaken, the online nature of the project will enable audience members from across the country and panellists from across the world to meet and contribute in a safe way that is still just not possible to do in person.
Why this play
Lisa discovered Clifford Odets in New York, and was drawn back to Waiting for Lefty time and again. A couple of years ago, she asked me if I thought the play was still relevant and I was struck with one thought: it’s shocking how far we haven’t come since 1935. In the very first scene, the character Joe demands strike action for a ‘living wage;’ a phrase depressingly still being campaigned for now. We became obsessed with trying to understand how a play written in the midst of the 1930’s Great Depression was still so painfully resonant. When COVID19 hit, Lefty took on an even greater significance with the pandemic fully exposing just how unequal our society is. On March 16th 2020, I started rehearsals for a year-long contract in the West End. That evening theatres closed. Suddenly, like everyone else in the industry, we were both bleakly unemployed. This was particularly difficult as we were expecting our first child. The endless daily lockdown walks, first with Lisa’s growing belly, and later pushing a pram, led to many discussions about Lefty. We kept coming back to it and felt passionately that it needed to be seen. Entering November’s lockdown and inspired by theatre’s determination to continue creating by shifting work online, we decided we should do it. The time is right for Lefty. Viewed through today’s lens, Odets’ play demands we ask vigorous questions of ourselves and society but above all it asks us to come together to find a better way forward. As we begin to gather ourselves after this awful year, we need to come together. We need to have conversations that aim for a better future. This play, seen in this way, will provide a space for us to do that.
You can follow us on twitter and facebook: @twolinestheatre
We’d love to hear from you,
Phil Cheadle & Lisa Caruccio Came