Jennie Eggleton: ‘I was struck by a strong sense of otherworldliness’

Tangled Thread Theatre are a young collective dedicated to employing 60% or more of their company with recent graduates, giving them vital professional credits at the beginning of their careers and valuable experience working with more seasoned members of the industry. They have also signed Equity’s Professionally Made, Professionally Paid scheme to ensure that everyone within the company is paid fairly for their work.

Only Forever is the second new play from Tangled Thread, showing at the Hope Theatre in September. Co-Artistic Director, Jennie Eggleton, tell us more…

Reading out the final stage directions of Only Forever, a quiet settled on the group and there was a palpable ripple of excitement. We were sitting round a table in the writer’s bright cosy front room, yet for the last hour I had been physically and mentally transported to the damp, cold bunker inhabited by George and Margaret and their three children. Pip (my Co-Artistic Director) and I looked at each other and knew that this was a story we had to help Abrahan, the writer, bring to life.

            Translated from Abrahan’s native Spanish, Only Forever tells the story of George, Margaret and their children; Robert, Victoria and Charles. When war breaks out, George and Margaret decide to move their family down to the bunker they have been preparing until the danger passes. Days and months elapse, the children grow, and the family stay safe and secure. But as questions begin to arise, cracks start to form threatening to break this family apart forever. With nowhere to go, and no-one to turn to except each other, you wonder what is going to happen to this once close-knit family.

            I was struck by a strong sense of otherworldliness in Only Forever, which is created in part by it being a translation, and also the alien, enclosed space Abrahan has created down in the bunker. The family have their own rules and routines that keep a semblance of normality about their lives but that also draw attention to their peculiarity and disjointedness. I love how he challenges our perceptions; how this ordinary family is gradually revealed to be more distorted and strange as time passes.  Under the whole story lies a dark and twisted family mystery which mercilessly sucks you in and will surely bring out the Poirot in every audience member - though more sinister and strange than you thought possible.

            As I sat there, plunged into this dim, cold family home, another thought was beginning to tease into my brain. Tangled Thread Theatre has always been driven to tell stories that champion the voices of women as well as men, and Only Forever gives a powerful voice to Margaret and Victoria, especially in the face of a somewhat draconian and controlling George. They are educated and feisty women who are not afraid of conflict, which is refreshing to see. Yet there is a powerful sense of love in this play, and it questions what you would do to protect your family. The conflict is sparked out of fear, and the fear out of love for those closest to them. The family teeter on the thin line between hate and love, providing fascinating results. Directed by the fantastic Poppy Rowley, nothing about this family is quite what it seems…

© Jennie Eggleton, 2015


About the author: Jennie Eggleton is an actress and the Co-Artistic Director of Tangled Thread Theatre. Graduating from the University of Leeds having read English and Theatre Studies, she completed her Postgraduate Acting Course at Drama Studio London in 2013. She wrote and performed Tangled Thread Theatre’s first show Close To You to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, before embarking on a short tour and transfer to the Southwark Playhouse in 2013/2014. Only Forever is the second new play from her company.


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