WEDNESDAY 08 FEBRUARY 2012 THE SHALLOW END - A PLAY BY DOUG LUCIE
The Shallow End - directed and co-produced by Seb Blanc
Some of you may remember my sons, Sebastien and Olivier, sharing memories and a Christmas meal with me in my recent BBC2 programme, Raymond Blanc's Christmas Feast. Those of you with long memories may also recall the three of us sharing a gâteau à la crème in the first series of Kitchen Secrets - a childhood favourite they have never tired of!
Now, though, Seb and Oli are both grown up, and it is my honour and my pleasure to tell you about Seb's latest venture: he is the director and co-producer of a play - The Shallow End (by Doug Lucie) which is on at the Southwark Playhouse from 8 February until 2 March 2012. Although the play was written in 1997, it is even more relevant today, as it is all about journalism, and the morals surrounding it.
Sex, power, money, drugs... This is a play about journalism.
The Shallow End is a biting satire that attacks the predominant mercenary agenda in the UK’s media. Set in the 90s at the lavish wedding of a media mogul's daughter the axe is about to be wielded. Amidst the enthusiastic revelry, the old-guard of a recently taken-over Broadsheet paper are presented with the dilemma of yielding to the philosophy of the new regime, thus compromising their own professional & moral values, or be ousted from it.
The Shallow End unmasks a heightened world of seduction and power, walking the stark moral battle lines that were drawn at the dawn of a new age in British media.
“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”.
How could a profession, that at its heart embodies our notions of freedom and truth, become so tarnished? With a quick glance over our shoulder, perhaps we may see how….and why.
In 1997 Doug Lucie’s play, The Shallow End foreshadowed the dangers of allowing an individual or organisation with a predominantly mercenary agenda to take a strangle hold on the UK’s media institutions. The challenge for any news editor is to balance the need to sell with reporting stories in the public interest. However, the dramatic shift towards a philosophy of ‘give them what they want’ in order to boost readership or ratings presented some alarming possibilities; that news stories would be selected solely on the basis of financial concern, and as has been subsequently proved, unethical action permitted if it increased the bottom line.
We’re very excited to have the opportunity to present this play working alongside the playwright, who will be revising certain sections for this production.
Why support us?
This project presents an opportunity for us all to ask the questions we’ve ignored for so long, and not just of the world, but also of ourselves. The public’s relationship with the media is a reciprocal one: they supply what we demand. Ultimately then, are we not also complicit?
With the phone-hacking scandal, Leveson inquiry, and the cancellation of News International’s take-over of BSkyB, momentum has seemingly shifted, at least temporarily, towards installing a more responsible and ethical ethos in the media. This production presents an opportunity to add impetus to that momentum.
At Stone Junction we share a simple philosophy: to question the world around us and pose the questions that should be asked, while remaining genuinely entertaining and accessible. Faced with a seemingly disintegrating world, we feel it is a responsibility, indeed a duty to do what we can to inspire change within our society. This philosophy runs through our art and into our interactions with all we meet; to work with honour, courage and honesty.
Our company's debut production, Jez Butterworth's The Winterling received broad critical acclaim and was nominated for the OffWestEnd Awards: www.stone-junction.co.uk
You can download the flyer about the production by clicking here
Of course I shall be watching this fascinating play, and I very much hope that some of you will too - and let me know what you think!
PS Please tell me what you think of my blogs and my website: I want to hear from you!
Raymond Blanc's new book, Kitchen Secrets, featuring recipes from Kitchen Secrets Series 1 & 2 and many more, was published by Bloomsbury on 14 February and is available to buy online from Amazon, from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Brasserie Blanc, Maison Blanc, and from online and retail bookstores.
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