Leave a Message is a brand new comedy, based on an actual afternoon.
Two friends, Ed and Sarah, travel to the small squalid bedsit where Ed’s father passed away a few days earlier. The place is wretched – covered in filth and reeking of alcohol – but the two begin their unenviable task of trawling through the wreckage in front of them. As they wade through the debris, pouring over the contents, the fragments of one lost life begin to coalesce, just as another starts to show signs of cracking.
At turns heart-breaking and hilarious, Leave a Message is a story of loss and love, weakness and courage; of addiction and loneliness, but also friendship and hope.
Underpinning the play’s poignancy is the remarkable fact that it is based on a true story. A chance encounter between actor Ed Coleman and writer James Mitchell at a party led to a candid conversation about the recent death of Ed’s father – the flat he had to visit, the friend volunteering to accompany him, the destructive nature of alcoholism, the extinguishing of a once fine mind, and the secrets uncovered amongst the soiled, hoarded documents. Ed remarked that he would like to write about all this somehow, but was struggling to distance himself enough to do so; James offered to help. And so, in the early hours of the morning, the two arranged to meet a few weeks later to discuss it. Astonishingly, they both turned up. Thus the play itself is not only a part expression of grief, and mechanism for healing, but also the crucible for a new friendship and partnership.
Leave a Message is at VAULT Festival 20th – 24th February 2019.