Alistair McDowall's Pomona
21 November 2017
Alistair McDowall’s Pomona was first staged in 2014 and won properly startling, and startled, acclaim. Its edgeland setting permits a surrealistic disengagement of linear forms of time, which is both dreamlike and wildly funny; nightmarish and ominously enveloping. The play has as its imaginative springboard a landscape which is both real and surreal. It offers an unforgettable journey into radical uncertainty, alongside unpredictable action that presents and questions the forms by which all too much of British life is lived.
McDowall offers us a wild plunge into a modern English urban rabbit hole; a haunting and bewildering high-stakes hunt for meaning and value, set in a gothic noir Manchester, possibly dystopian (or possibly not).
Fourth Wall books are short, accessible accounts of some of modern theatre’s best loved works. They take a subjective but easily digestible approach to their topics, allowing their authors the opportunity to explore their chosen subject in a way that is absorbing enough to be of use both to lovers of theatre and those who are being asked to study a play more deeply.
Each book in the series looks at a specific play, variously exploring its themes, contexts and characteristics while prioritising original, insightful writing over complexity or scholarly weight. While other cultural products such as albums and films are well served by this kind of writing, the Fourth Wall series aims to find room between rigorous analysis and the short format of reviews or articles. They are extended accounts that get to the heart of their chosen works without being bound by the density that academic treatments can often require.
The book features interview material based on the dialogue and Q&A with the playwright, when the deparmtent was fortunate to play host to Alistair in 2016, and is further informed by David's work directing the 2016 departmental production of Pomona and subsequent teaching of that play.