Romcom (or, the distance love can be maintained between any two diverging points)

Concept by Ant Hampton

Text by Glen Neath

Video work by Britt Hatzius

Following BLOKE, and some experiments in late 2002, Ant Hampton and Glen Neath created ROMCOM (or, the distance love can be maintained between any two diverging points). Two performers meet on stage before an audience and enact the story of a relationship. The performers, different for every performance, agree in advance to do the show, but have absolutely no idea what is expected of them; they simply turn up and put on a set of headphones through which instructions are given to them about what to say and do. It's important they haven't been told anything about the show's contents beforehand. The two tracks - one for each performer - are started simultaneously with a video track. The video (which also contains the music for the show) doubles up as the lighting: there are no other light sources. The three separate machines (two audio, one video) then run on for 50 minutes without any human intervention; the entire stage business in ROMCOM - blackouts, titles for scenes, sound cues, music, lighting - is therefore automated, using very simple means. The structure is totally automatic and ‘closed’, thereby foregrounding the variable, human process of negotiating and carrying out the instructions

The show premiered:

291 Gallery, Hackney Road, London, UK, 15-16 March 2003

Finlay Robertson & Amber Sealey; David Rosenberg & Gemma Brockis

There were further presentations at:

West End Centre, Aldershot, UK, 25 March 2004

Martin Huggan & Camilla Greene

The Arches Festival, Glasgow, Scotland, 15-17 April 2004

Paul Blair & Alison Peebles; Ross Stenmore & Judith Williams; Neil Francis & Michaela Dunne

Garage Festival, Stralsund, Germany, 12 August 2004

Jens Bohnsack & Linde Engelhardt

Plateaux Festival, Mousonturm, Frankfurt, Germany, 14-15 October 2004

Jerry Killick & Elyce Semenec; Lars Rudolph & Caroline Peters

Live Brits Festival, Hebbel an Ufer, Berlin, Germany, 7-9 January 2005

Tilo Werner & Sussane Sachsse; Bastian Trost & Bettina Grahs

Phoenix Theatre, Exeter, UK, 3 May 2005

Marcus Bartlett & Katie Beswick

Sexy Machinery #11, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, London, UK, 29 May 2005

Sophie Okonedo & Greg McLaren

Hackney Empire, London, UK, 17 July 2005

Sean Hughes & Hannah Ringham

Grand Theatre, Noorderzon Festival, Groningen, The Netherlands, 20-21 August 2005

Gerry van der Laan & Sarah van Steenderen; Mirjam Stolwijk & Jochem Koole

Project Space, Dublin Theatre Festival, Eire, 29 September-1 October 2005

Lisa Lambe & Karl Shiels; Katherine O'Malley & Wolfgang Hoffmann; Ruth Negga & Tadg Murphy

Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, Zurich, Switzerland, 22-23 January 2006

Fabienne Hadorn & Martin Zimmerman; Barbara Maurer & Thomas Wodianka

Poole Civic Centre, Poole, UK, 14 March 2006

Laura Griffin & Lee Hart

Elkafka Espacio Teatral, Buenes Aires, Argentina (with Spanish surtitles by Hugo Salas), 23-25 March 2006

Bárbara Togander & Pablo Messiez, Soledad Galarce & Diego Leske; Elena Gowland & Mariano Caligaris -

Shunt Vaults, Joiner Street, London, UK, 24-26 January 2007

Greg Henderson Begg & Emily Mytton; Matt Rudkin & Emma Macfarlane; Neil Edmond & Melanie Wilson

Escrita Na Paisagem, Evora, Portugal (with Portuguese surtitles), 5 July 2007

Dora Bernardo & Tiago Porteiro

Krakowskie Reminiscencje Teatralne, Krakow, Poland (with Polish surtitles by Patryk Czaplicki), 24-25 April 2008

Michal Kocurek & Monika Radziwon; Marta Wardynska & Jakub Snochowski 

Stoke Newington International Airport, London, UK, 24 October 2009

Bill Aitchison & Tania El Khoury

In 2011 Kaserne, Basle co-produced a revised, rewritten and re-edited version

Kaserne, Basel, Switzerland (German language version by Karen Witthuhn), 13-15 October 2011

Isabelle Menke & Andreas Storm; Susanne Abelein & Silvester von Hösslin; Cathrin Störmer & Matthias Breitenbach

And there were further presentations at:

Forest Fringe residency, The Gate Theatre, London, UK (UK premiere), 22-27 April 2013

Neil Callaghan & Karen Christopher; Christopher Brett Bailey & Ira Brand; Nigel Barrett & Season Butler;

Thom Tuck & Caroline Williams; Sam Booth & Jess Latowicki; Chris Thorpe & Lucy Ellinson

4 Days: Curtain Call, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK, 15 September 2013

Jodie Hawkes & Peter Phillips (Search Party); Alexandra Zierle & Paul Carter (Zierle & Carter); Jenna Watt & Shaun C Badham

New Vision Festival, Kwai Tsing Theatre, Hong Kong (Cantonese language version by Joanna Lee), 31 October - 2 November 2014

Pichead Amornsomboon & Grace Wu; Au Yeung-chun & Karrie Tan; Lau Shau-ching & Anna leong; Yau Ting-fai & Wong Wai-chi -

Showreel by Susanne Dietz

Click here for reviews

The Poltergeists

Performed by Lizzie Clachan & Glen Neath (with the voice of Oscar Heath Stephens) at the Shunt Cabaret, London, 20 July 2003

The third party

Sketch performed by Gemma Brockis & Heather Uprichard at the Shunt Cabaret, London, 20 July 2002. Foley by Tom Espiner. Directed by Glen Neath

Didn't you...

Sketch written, performed and directed by Louise Mari & Glen Neath at the Shunt Cabaret, London, 14 October 2001

The pain, in two parts

Sketch performed by Amber Sealey & Hannah Ringham at the Shunt Cabaret, London, 14 October 2001. Directed by Glen Neath

The reason to go on living

Sketch performed by Hannah Ringham at The Shunt Cabaret, Bethnal Green, London, 29 July 2001 and 14 October 2001. Directed by Glen Neath

Closer to Ormsby

The Shunt Arch, London, UK, 23,24 February & 2,3 March 2001

Ormsby brings a woman home, but only so she can witness a battle that will decide who has killed his mother... himself, his brother, his sister, or his Father, who is already serving time for the crime

Cast: Simon Kane, Esther Coles, Tom Lyall and Hannah Ringham

Designed by Lizzie Clachan

Directed by Glen Neath

The eminent naturalist Wilberforce B Whitby's problem reconciling the things he finds in his garden with his belief in God

Sketch performed by Lizzie Clachan with the voice of Andrew Rutland at the Shunt Cabaret, London, 15 October 15 2000. Directed by Glen Neath

The Last Inch

Sketch performed by Hannah Ringham and Gemma Brockis at The Shunt Cabaret, London, 8 October 2000. Directed by Glen Neath