The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

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The loneliness of the Long Distance Runner This play was staged by Pilot Theatre Company and was performed on the 17th October 2012 at ‘The New Wolsey Theatre,’ in Ipswich. The play is based on a long distance runner in real time written by Alan Sillitoe in 1959.The play focuses on Colin, a teenager who we follow, alone with his thoughts, becoming part of his journey and his steady running rhythm which transports him over a harsh, frost bitten earth. Colin turns to long distance running as both an emotional and physical escape from his situation. Throughout the production the play employs ‘Cross-cutting’ to explain Colin’s story; it is set in real time so that all the flashbacks occur as he runs the race. The ambiguous flashbacks visualise the importance of having family and friends as Colin is caught up in long lost memories as a young offender in Borstal. We learn about the death of Smith's father and his mother’s spending spree provided by “insurance and benefits”. We witness Colin’s robbery of the bakery and his arrest. The stage opens with Colin Smith (Elliot-Barnes Worrell) running, alone, along a bleak country road somewhere in rural England. In a brief voiceover, Colin tells us that running is the way his family has always coped with the world's troubles, but that in the end, the runner is always alone and cut off from spectators, left to deal with life on his own. Elliot Barnes-Worrell portrays the fluent speaker but unfocused Colin who finds an escape from the bleakness of his life in an effective way. The death of his cherished father, clashes with his mum’s new boyfriend, and his reckless escapades, courting trouble with feckless best mate Jase (Jack McMullen) all leading to a spell in a Young Offenders Institute - through the self- titled solo sport. Colin made a name for himself through disgracing and hurting the people he loved. However Barnes
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