The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed Beth Steel's play Ditch plugged in the Guardian Guide this weekend: "Following the sell-out London transfer of Stovepipe in 2009, HighTide transfers Ditch from the HighTide Festival to The Old Vic Tunnels for a limited season:
"I've listened to all the stories of my generation, then watched 'em get sick or fade away. And it wasn't this world that killed 'em. It was the other... the memory of it."
Britain, the near future. Much of the country is underwater and the government has been reduced to a group of fascist strongmen. In a rural outpost of the state, the men patrol the moors for illegals whilst the women run a self-sufficient farm to provide what all they need to survive. The living conditions are harsh, every meagre ration is grown from scratch and they must battle with inclement weather and a draconian government. As their numbers dwindle, they struggle to retain a semblance of civilisation in the face of the inevitable onset of global war.
Stark and imperative, but shot through with a sense of warm compassion, Beth Steel's debut play Ditch is a clear-eyed look at how we might behave when the conveniences of our civilisation are taken away, and a frightening vision of a future that could all too easily be ours. Ditch is a brutal and uncompromising play, with a grounded, earthy sense of humanity. The result is both heart-rending and chilling, depicting a convincing, bleak vision of the future.
Beth is a good friend of mine, so I'm thrilled her play is getting all this well-deserved attention. Anyway, for more, see Ditch the movie (well, trailer!) on YouTube; or just head over to the Old Vic website.