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‘World’s End’ at @Rouf: “The One that got away…” 11/11/2011, by Katerina Penna
The theatrical organization Urbn Theatr is staging Paul Sellar's prize-winning play in @Rouf at Gazi. It is a modern play that explores human relationships, love and loss in a metropolis, where people are expendable and time passes relentlessly. We watch, in real time, the unexpected meeting of a couple, a while after their break-up. The writer presents us with the mortuary of a romantic relationship – the last act of Kat and Ben's break-up- in a painful, humoristic and realistic way.

However the power of the text does not stop in the anatomy of today's relationships. While talking with the writer Paul Sellar, it becomes clear that it is a deeply social play with many extensions. “In the microcosm of Kat and Ben's relationship, issues are brought up for discussion, that transcend the tight boundaries of a relationship. First arises the issue of success in the western world. How is professional and social success defined in a metropolis? Is Ben a failure and a dreamer or did he just have the misfortune to be marginalized in a society where success is indissolubly connected to the reproductive procedure and to the material goods? And how does the generation of 30something deal with these dilemmas?”

But the writer's questions do not end here. He puts friendships under the microscope, and questions the purity of their intentions in a world which is closely related with personal profit. Thea, Kat's best friend, who comes to support her at this difficult point, is to Ben nothing but a little well dressed vulture circling the corpse of their relationship. “I wonder how much space there is in the lives of the people of the city, who are dazzled by the speed of the pace, that allow for real bonds and friendships to be formed?” , the writer asks during our interview. Indeed, during the play, the clock is a painful and pressing reminder of the time that flees and leaves no space for our relationships to blossom.

We asked Paul Sellar if the play is autobiographical. “It certainly has elements of my life and that of my friends and acquaintances. However having lived for years in London, I started observing people's relationships in the city from little everyday incidents: a couple's fight in the middle of the road , the conversation of two companions in a restaurant or in a casual walk on a Sunday afternoon. I tried to imprint wit accuracy the sense of life and relationships in the way they are shaped in our modern time. An essential conclusion is that people grow up in different points, which are irrelevant of their biological age. And certainly, the final moment of this break-up is a moment of death for both the heroes, but it is also a moment of maturing – especially for Ben.”

How can a play which unfolds in London , with many references in this city, be timely for viewers that don't have a similar experience? “The play evolves in London ; however each metropolis has its own benchmark. The neighborhoods which successful people frequent, the places where alternatives, bohemians or nonconformists meet. The rich and the poor suburbs, the fancy but also the working areas. I believe that the viewers no matter where they are, can associate and adjust this story to their own framework.” says the writer.

Concluding the conversation with Paul Sellar, I asked him to include in one phrase the gist of the play. “Ultimately the play is about the One that got away” , he answers. The play, then, is written for him or her we once let slip through our fingers.
Urbn Theatr is happy to announce that this May will be working alongside Wandsworth Arts Festival and Roehampton Library on a brand new artistic project entitled “Re-engagement” created specifically for Wandsworth Fringe Festival 2017.
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