Field of Greens – The Green Taverners’ Suite
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“Football ain’t what it used to be”. Actually, life ain’t what it used to be! The timing of the play, performed in its spiritual home of The Green Taverners’ Bar could not have come at a better time for anyone that had the privilege to be there and witness “Field of Greens” unfold before them.
The story is of the possible liquidation of Plymouth Argyle Football Club back in 2011 and how a band of fans got together from all walks of life to battle, innovate, fundraise and fly the flag for “our” club in the quest for survival. The story has echoes of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, where the people rose up together to make a stand against their oppressors and showed spirit, determination and grit along the way. Their anthem was “Do You Hear the People Sing”, ours was “The Janner Song”.
On entering the Taverners’ suite, it was obvious that this was not going to be a “tin-pot” production and short measures were not on the agenda, most notably in the content of Gary McGuire’s glass. The stage, the lighting, the seating layout made you feel that you were at the Theatre for the night. There was a buzz that grew as the audience grew before reaching capacity, just before the curtains went up.
The opening scene was a sombre affair at a funeral and was our first introduction to the cast of 14, who largely had never “trod the boards” before in their lives and so began an evening of tears, laughter, nostalgia with a little bit of escapism thrown in to-boot. It was rumoured that even Big Kev “had something” in his eye at one point during the performance.
The writing of the story by the insanely talented Rick was delivered brilliantly by the performers, who clearly enjoyed every minute of what they were doing and this came across loud and clear to an encapsulated audience. It was heart-warming to see Glyn “Chippy” Carpenter rising to the challenge of a serious role and doing it so well throughout the performance, as regular fan-festers will know he is renowned for slap-stick capers usually.
I am now deeply suspicious that there is more than meets the eye with regard to Chippy, maybe he has things in his locker that even he didn’t know about? Another mention for a sterling performance has to be Jo Reynolds-Inman who captured Lena’s positive and upbeat personality so very well.
For me, the performance of the evening was from Sarah Ryder who threw herself into the role of playing Sue with great gusto and came across as someone who has been acting for years and years (maybe she has!). The scenes where Rick and Dave performed at the Fanfest were wonderfully nostalgic and kept the momentum of the play going whilst giving the audience a real “feel good” factor.
Many a footballer would have been very proud to have made such a magnificent debut at Home Park such as Rick and Vince Sutton, the Director, did. It is impossible to write about Field of Greens, without paying attention to the way that it was written so cleverly and sensitively by Rick. There has to be real ability to be able to make people cry as well as laugh, sometimes in the same moment.
To us, the audience, it was a few hours out of our day to go and watch and enjoy but to him it must have been hours and hours of going through every human emotion known to get to the finished product. It goes without saying that it would have been impossible for Rick to do the whole thing on his own, as many contributed but without his creative mind, there would have been no Field of Greens, so next time you see him, buy him a pint of Jail and give him a hug!
A huge well done to everyone involved, it was a triumph and suffice to say you are all now locked into Argyle folk-law forever. Green Army!