by Alan Dawson
Marshmallow Sky, written in 2013 by writer Alan Dawson, is a contemporary piece concerned with exploring aspects of autism and its positive/ negative impact on the development of the central character, Graham, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. It is an ensemble piece written to include 30 characters and spans ten years. There are 5 principle actors around whom the piece revolves. The piece can be played with a minimum of 5/6 actors. Although the piece has a very serious subject matter it is driven by humour. The scenes are short and filmic.
The piece was commissioned by Mansfield Palace Theatre in 2013 and was performed using the main stage as a black box. The director decided to use a traverse style of theatre to allow for a more intimate experience. The piece was hailed as an exciting new piece by the theatre and the writer was nominated for an Accessible Britain Challenge Award 2014.
‘The piece focuses on the life of Graham, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and explores the way in which he maintains a successful life whilst coping with the challenges that go alongside living with autism.’
Mansfield Palace Theatre
Further to this the ‘Marshmallow Sky’ was adapted by the writer and Mansfield Palace Theatre to be the centre piece at Dawn House School Pupil Participation Conference, 2014. The piece was well received by the students; many of whom are on the autistic spectrum.
‘Marshmallow Sky is focused on the main character of Graham – exploring the difficulties he faces on his journey through life. Graham is on the autistic spectrum and his life is impacted upon by his difficulties with speech, language and communication… the play is uplifting and sees Graham achieve a positive outcome in his life’
Dawn House School
Graham is involved in all of the action and his age range throughout the piece is 18-30. Graham has Asperger’s Syndrome and goes about his life in his way. He meets many characters along the way who usually give him negative attention – until he wins them over that is.
Dad or Maurice as Graham calls him; is a long suffering parent who often gets the brunt of Graham’s bizarre behaviour. He has a good relationship with his son; who often frowns upon his attention preferring his mum’s input.
Mum has a difficult job keeping the status quo in the home – especially between Graham and his sister, Molly when they were younger. Graham was violent towards Mum in his early teens because his anxiety but grows to have a very close and trusting relationship with her. She is central to the family and often the voice of reason within so much chaos.
Molly: Graham’s long suffering older sister. Her life as a child was very difficult because of Graham’s difficulties and she often felt resentful. As an adult she comes to value her bizarre brother.
Sarah: eventually becomes Graham’s wife. She understands his difficulties ad is very supportive.
The Theorists: Spout theory and have conflicting ideas over Graham’s autism.
All other characters, such as Jake, tutor, manager etc. appear fleetingly and are played by the ensemble.
Preview available here
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