The Gate Escape
Sophie Gorell Barnes
he Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke commissioned The Gate Escape in 2002 as a TIE play. It work’s equally well when performed by young people as most of the central characters are aged between 13-16. The Gate Escape confronts issues surrounding truancy through an imaginative fusion of fast comic humour and the oral testimony of a group of ‘reformed truants’… an approach that proved highly successful in Legal Weapon.
The story centres on two characters who truant. Corey claims to be “addicted” to truancy, and Chalkie views himself as a casual truant with no “problem”. They explore their past on a day when they are greeted by a surreal Big Brother like figure who sets them a task. The loser will be in for some dramatic Big Bother. Who will lose? What will this bother be?
”The Gate Escape presents its issues thoroughly… in a way that is theatrically interesting and offers no simple solutions. Wheeller presents the stories in a flashback model, which has an almost novel like structure. Opportunities for active discussion of the issues and exploration of its dramatic style and it would make an excellent basis for exploration of the truancy issue with some reluctant GCSE students.”
Ali Warren - National Drama
Other publications by Mark Wheeller
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