entertaining and challenging drama


Edinburgh Showcase 10 April 2024  

Off Stage  

Hannah Bradley Croall         Producer

Hannah is a PR and Arts Industry Professional, specialising in the arts and entertainment, hospitality and tourism industries. Based in Edinburgh, Hannah has worked with a number of high profile venues and events, including Assembly Festival, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival, and Hippodrome Silent Film Festival.


Martin Foreman         Playwright / Director

Previously the author of novels and short stories, Martin began writing one-man plays in the early 2010s and has since moved on to full length productions. His writing includes both original works and adaptations or reinterpretations of well-known plays and characters. The latter include Death on the Lido (2014, aka Tadzio Speaks which returns to Thomas Mann’s beautiful youth decades after the events of Death in Venice); Now We Are Pope (2014), based on writer Frederick Rolfe (aka “Baron Corvo”); Casanova Dreaming (2018); The Satyricon (2022); and a version of Volpone set in the 19th century with a female Mosca (2017, 2018). Awards include London Solo Festival New Writing and Pitlochry Festival Theatre Short Play. 


More recently, Taiwan, Martin’s dystopian vision of the near future, premiered in February 2024; his 15-minute contemporary comedy Delivery! is on at the INK Festival 11-14 April 2024 in Halesworth; and a second run of The Satyricon can be seen in Bielefeld, Germany later the same month.


As well as his own work,  Martin has directed Noel Coward’s Hay Fever and J B Priestley’s The Rose and Crown. In October 2024 he will bring Priestley’s Dangerous Corner to the stage.


Dug Campbell         Sound

Dug is a composer and sound designer who works across theatre, film and TV. Recent shows include Copenhagen, Guards Guards, Hamlet, Pressure, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Chalk, Hogfather and A Christmas Carol. Scheduled work for 2024 includes writing music and designing sound for The Fastest Clock In The Universe, Cyrano de Bergerac, Men At Arms, Macbeth, Going Postal and Dunsinane. He holds a Masters in Film Scoring (Berklee College of Music), a Masters in Scriptwriting and is a member of the Association for Sound Design and Production. 


Freya Game         Lighting

Freya is a student at the University of Edinburgh and an early career theatre designer, with particular interest in technical theatre and conceptual design. She is based in Edinburgh year-round and is the former President of Bedlam Theatre. She has worked professionally in London and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Martin Foreman writes:


The first impetus for A Pound of Flesh came from a production I saw in 2022, which unintentionally highlighted the difficulties of putting on a play that alternates comedy and drama and where the question of sixteenth century anti-semitism cannot easily be addressed from a modern perspective. 

That contradiction loitered in the back of my mind until February 2023 when I took part in an online event where participants were encouraged to write a play a day. One of the challenges was to take a well-known story and change an event, which would lead to a completely different outcome. Immediately Romeo and Juliet came to mind. What would happen if there had been no plague in Mantua and Romeo had been informed of Juliet’s scheme? Tragedy averted. But if instead of a messenger delayed by plague in Mantua, what would happen if the plague struck while Portia and Nerissa were in Padua? 


With that twist the first draft of A Pound of Flesh wrote itself. I excised the most of the comedy to focus on the essential plot. I claim no credit for Antonio’s obsession with Bassanio nor for Bassanio’s love of money and luxury – they are both clearly stated in Shakespeare’s opening scene. At that point I throw more light on Antonio’s deep emotion and on Bassanio’s greed, and as the play develops I open out their characters until the final scene, where each comes to terms with the fate they have brought upon themselves and those around them. 


I make no comment on Shylock or the prevailing attitudes either of the society in which he lives or the society in which we live. In that respect I let A Pound of Flesh speak for itself, although I am aware that each member of the audience will see the play from their own perspective. 


Two reasons were behind my choice to marry Shakespeare’s text with my weak imitation of his language. The first was to remind the audience that this is his play as much as it is mine; the second was because modern language would have required modern attitudes and that would have torn the story too far from its roots. In much of my work I prefer the timeless to the contemporary; the former seldom dies, the latter has too short a life.   


Finally, I must emphasise that although I am responsible for the structure and all new dialogue and actions in A Pound of Flesh, the play could not have reached its current form without Danielle Farrow’s help. She came to the first reading with little knowledge of my previous work and since then she has offered unconditional support and shared her great knowledge and experience of every aspect of Shakespeare’s work. Her insights as she reviewed each new draft – why a line didn’t work here, what would give greater impact there, what was intended with these words or that phrase – have been invaluable and enabled me to create what I hope is a powerful drama. To her I give my greatest thanks.


A Pound of Flesh first came to life in June 2023 when a group of actors came together to read through, discuss and act, script-in-hand, the first draft. Their comments and enthusiasm led to a later meeting with a smaller group to decide how to take the project forward, with the conclusion that this industry showcase was the best option. Our thanks go to Wendy Brindle, Emma Carter, Danielle Farrow, Ross Hope, Al Innes, Alastair Lawless, Alan Patterson, Michael Robert-Brown, Lois Williams, Claire Wood and Robert Wylie for their input. Without them, A Pound of Flesh would never have reached this stage.