Written and Directed by Bradley Barlow

Melissa French is dead. After her body is discovered in the dark of the woods and the police delve into her past, Melissa’s family and friends begin to realise how little they knew her. As secrets are discovered and lies are revealed Melissa’s life begins to be unravelled.

Notes from the Programme

My starting point for Dead Leaves was that I wanted to centre the play on a character that the audience never meets, forcing them to imagine her based solely on the thoughts, opinions and information provided by the people that knew her.  As the investigation into the death of Melissa French progresses, we meet a total of about 60 different characters with most of the actors playing multiple parts.  I’d like to thank the cast for their time and creativity in developing some hopefully memorable characters.

Melissa’s life is intricate and multi-layered and so too is the investigation into her death.  There are twists, cliffhangers and red herrings at every turn and I encourage you to play close attention to the words of every character – not everything is as it seems.  I encourage you to share theories with other members of the audience in the interval and the conclusion and to put any burning questions to myself or the cast at the end.

I’d like to thank Jo Joseph and Pitchy Breath for giving me the opportunity to write and direct for them for a second time.  I’d also like to thank the cast for having faith in the play from the outset – in order to avoid ‘leaking’ the plot, they read excerpts in the audition and were only allowed to read the whole play once they’d committed to being in it.  I hope that initial trust has been worth it; I’ve enjoyed working with you all immensely and feel lucky that you have all been so dedicated to the production.

Contains extracts of true accounts from the-invisible-men.tumblr.com

2014

Pitchy Breath Theatre Company production
Download the programme here

Performed

The Hawth Studio Theatre in Crawley, 11 November 2014;

The Capitol Studio Theatre in Horsham, 15 November 2014;

Lingfield & Dormansland Community Centre, 16 November 2016

Cast

Harrison Calnan
Rachel Duke
Tim Fifield
Charlie Joseph
Jeremy Joseph
Sonia Moir
Tahrif Naqvi
Tom Paul
Alex Taylor
Amy Taylor
Sophie Waddington

Crew

Stage Manager  Jo Joseph
Crew  Mandy Masters, Annette Payne
With thanks to Tracy Alexander (Director of Forensic Services, City of London Police)

Soundtrack