Apples in winter

Philip Parker shares an insight into a thought-provoking new production at The Playground Theatre.

As 26ers you will appreciate superb writing. I want to alert you to some extraordinary writing next month in the European premiere of an astonishing play.

I’ve been working on the production of the play with professional theatre company LynchPin, which specialises in biography and theatre which often gives voice to the silenced and overlooked. Since 2019 we have been planning the staging of Apples in Winter by Canadian author Jennifer Fawcett. In the play, we find Miriam – an American mother – in a prison kitchen. Her son has been on death row for 22 years after committing an horrific act of violence. In a few hours the state will execute him. He is permitted the ritual of choosing a last meal: he asks for his mother’s apple pie. As Miriam shows us how to make the perfect pie, we watch her attempt to understand what happened to her son – and how everything changed 22 years ago.

While this is admittedly a ‘hard sell’, we were struck by the extraordinary quality of Fawcett’s writing, particularly the immense humanity – and how it avoids the polemical and becomes something richer and deeper. It provides a rare opportunity to hear an often silenced and ostracised voice: that of the mother of a perpetrator. Through its intricate pacing the play gently challenges us to reflect on the impact of crime on its hidden victims; it provokes vital questions about the price of justice, and forgiveness, indeed what it is to try and love unconditionally.

We knew it had to be brought to the UK stage. Hence LynchPin obtained the permission to stage the European premiere.

To bring to the stage a production that does justice to the quality of the writing has been a long journey and we are fortunate in having both a superb actor and amazing director to make this an immensely heartful and compelling rendering of Fawcett’s work.

When we gave rehearsed readings of the play in 2019 and 2020 we were struck by how the audience remained rooted to their seats after each performance, instinctively wanting to express their feelings and process the journey they had been on. So, LynchPin have developed an extraordinary programme of post-show discussions after each performance (except opening night) with panellists ranging from Bruce Houlder (founder of Fighting Knife Crime London) to Dr Alison Frater (formerly Chair of National Criminal Justice Arts) to Paul Bridges (Chair of Amnesty’s anti-death penalty project) as well as artists and those with lived experience of the criminal justice system. And we are excited that the playwright Jennifer Fawcett will be flying in to join us in discussion on the final night.

If you want to find out more, see the trailer and the list of guest panellists (and link to ticket sales) visit Apples in Winter — LynchPin Theatre Company  

– Philip Parker

Apples in Winter is at The Playground Theatre, Latimer Road, London W10 6RQ from 5 to 15 October

The 20th World Day Against the Death Penalty falls on 10 October.

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.