December 8, 1980, New York Mark Chapman shoots and kills John Lennon. This spring renowned international touring company, Pilot Theatre launched their latest production, CATCHER. Arriving at Pulse Festival on the 8th June, followed by Croydon Clocktower 9-12 June after a critically acclaimed run at York Theatre Royal, don’t miss this exciting new play that explores the night before Chapman shot Lennon.
*** "Provocative and robust". The Times **** What’s On Stage
In a hotel room on December 7, 1980, Mark Chapman opens The Catcher in the Rye and reads as the books hero Holden Caulfield brings and escort to his hotel room… to talk. Mark picks up the phone and does the same. Twenty-four hours later John Lennon is dead.
The story of Mark Chapman and John Lennon has been told many times, but no one knows what took place in that hotel room on Mark’s last night of anonymity. Catcher invites the audience to step inside that room and for the first time approach those final hours through fresh eyes.
What happened on December 8, 1980 still lives on in our cultural history, however there is a whole character whose story never ended and yet we know nothing about. In Catcher the woman finally comes forward and the story of John, Holden and Mark is remixed, re-lived and re-imagined.
Award winning writer Richard Hurford returns to Pilot Theatre Company once more with his stunning new play that explores the fatal attraction of fame and obsession. Through examining the ideas of fame and celebrity this new production asks questions about the actual power of fame. Before Chapman shot Lennon he was heavily involved in charity work, but never felt this was making an impact. Is it only the acknowledgement of doing something that justifies it as worthy?
Richard explains “What drew me to this story was the untold. This woman is probably still alive and yet has chosen to keep her silence. In a world so obsessed with celebrity I find that fascinating. We all know this story but what does it mean… more importantly, what does it mean now?”
Director Suzann McLean returns to this piece having directed the staged rehearsed reading in 2009 at Pilot Theatre’s Shift Happens conference. Originally training as an actor she explained that the fascination with fame is something that had always intrigued her and what drew her to the play “Why do people want to be famous? As an artist it’s not the fame but the notoriety of doing good work, but with that comes fame. You end up playing ‘the fame game’ where you are built up so high you transcend humanity. Lennon reached unprecedented heights of fame, becoming an icon. Does this then mean that you are stripped of humanity and only seen as a symbol? Could this be the answer to why Chapman shot Lennon?”
*** Guardian. "Richard Hurford’s new play for Pilot Theatre is a startling, emotional rollercoaster given a pitch-perfect production by Suzann McLean." Northern Echo
The story so engraining in our cultural past consists of four characters; John Lennon’s stopped on that day, Holden never existed in reality and Mark Chapman has been in prison ever since. The woman’s story however, never stopped…
*** "Cunningly devised, taut little thriller". The Independent
"Catcher is Pilot Theatre at its best: provocative, thrilling, topical, challenging, dynamic, intelligent theatre, superbly performed and directed, and topped off with well-chosen Lennon soundtrack. York Press
**** "The sharp script and faultless acting distinguishes Catcher from much new theatre". Yorkshire Post