What happens to Hope at the End of the Evening explores a friendship between two middle-aged men, and how society treats those who don’t conform.
The two friends; Tim and Andy have grown apart. One has followed a more ‘accepted’ route and grown up ‘settled down’ with a partner and had children. The other had remained in his late youth, not settling with just one partner, still attending anti-fascist rallies the two friends once attended together.
We learnt snippets of their lives outside from conversations; Andy meeting his wife, Tim’s affair and broken marriage, which is possibly the catalyst that made him re contact Andy after a break in their friendship.
As the play progresses Andy talks of life generally, his interaction with Andy is interspersed with direct monologue to the audience. All the while Andy is seated and not always in the live action of the play, while Tim actively plays a character.
Andy talks about his relationship with theatre and what it can do in society, how we should all just focus on being with one another. And yet he doesn’t take the time to be with his friend, and really be there for him when he needs it.
This play tells a story about what happens when there is a change between two people. There is a tension between Tim and Andy as Tim wants things to be they say they once were, and he puts Andy in an awkward situation trying to recreate times once passed. Rethinking too much, releasing his anger and frustration in the situation in violent bursts, in a world he has literally constructed – moving the furniture around while Andy sits and watches.
It made me contemplate the longer lasting effects on society, some people are left behind and refuse to change, left isolated. What happens to them.
Andy being the narrator helps us to identify with him, we are internal within Andy him looking out at the character of Tim. And the general structure worked well. Although having seen other work by Crouch I was expecting the play to dig a little deeper. All the narrative about theatre was just distracting from the real human interactions that were being played out on stage before me.
As a quiet piece which explores a concept, this play was interesting and enjoyable. The performance from Crouch was incredibly strong. I expect to see this play on again somewhere in the UK soon.