*REVIEW* ~ Split Second: A play by Sharon Rose

#community #play #inspirational 

A very special journey for author Sharon Rose 

Reflections and a Review

Author Sharon Rose is one of those individuals who are an inspiration to us all. After surviving breast cancer Sharon uses her creative and artistic talents to raise awareness and funds for both national and local charities. These not only include Cancer Research UK but also other charities, who have over the years been a source of solace and support to herself and her family and friends.

I know Sharon through the contribution she has made to the work of Tamworth Literary Festival which I am involved in and I was excited for her when earlier this year she announced that she was working on a script for a play entitled ‘Split Second.’ Sharon hoped that the play would not only raise awareness of a number of health issues and life challenges she and others have encountered but also provide solace and support to those who have been affected either directly or through supporting loved ones. The largely autobiographical script draws largely on Sharon’s own experiences as set out in the series of books she has published to date.

Over the coming weeks the theatre at a local secondary school was booked and thus began the task of reaching out to local actors and would-be-actors (many of whom who had not been in a theatre production before); securing a cast; refining the script; organising rehearsals; advertising and ticketing – the list goes on. Through it all Sharon embraced the many challenges and opportunities that the venture threw at her with her typical good-natured determination, always with a smile on her face. I was honoured when I, along with local author and blogger Sue Flint, was asked if I wanted to review the play.

Scroll down to read my review and also to find out more about Sharon’s work in supporting local and national charities and her writing. Sharon will be taking an active part in the Tamworth Literary Festival in March 2018 (details to be anounced soon). Check out the Tamworth Literary Festival pages for regular updates.

Tina 🙂

My Review of the Community Play Split Second 

Inspirational and Life Affirming ~ 5 stars

On 18th November I was fortunate to have a front row seat at the premier of Split Second. The play, penned by the indefatigable Sharon Rose involved actors, musicians and dancers of all ages, drawn from the local community.

At the centre of the story is single parent Lucy who, like most of us, struggles with the vagaries of life, whether they be work, relationship or family issues. These are all thrown into sharp relief when Lucy is confronted with the news that she has breast cancer. The play looks at Lucy’s life prior to during and after her diagnosis and not only reflects on how she copes but also how the individuals closest to her – her family and friends, including those at her beloved Salsa club, support her through the process. The scenes flow effortlessly from ballroom to hospital wards, including scenes of home and work life and a holiday in Magaluf. The script is punctuated throughout by music, dance and song.

The script  references some heart-rending issues: cancer, sepsis and domestic abuse. It brought tears to my eyes at some points, but it also contains much humour and laugh-out-loud moments. The overall message is life-affirming, not least the power of the individual spirit and also the importance of friends in helping us face whatever fate has in store for us. The title and the content of the play ‘Split Second’ reminded the audience of how life can change in the blink of an eye and how we should all seek to make the most of the time we have on the planet.

All involved in the production, from the performers to the directors, back stage and front of house crew are to be complimented.The lady who played Lucy is worthy of particular note as is the gentleman who played her friend (and would-be-lover) Greg; the dancer Summer who provided a series of spellbinding dance routines at various points in the production; Jenny who sings a fantastic solo and Sharon’s son, the musician Ali Glbert who makes an appearance.

The event, which played to a packed theatre, was a memorable experience for both the audience and cast involved.

About Sharon

Sharon (in the words from her website), ‘started writing and expressing herself through the written word, finding it very therapeutic and aiming her books are at those who are experiencing adversity. To give them strength and hope for a brighter future.’ Sharon’s books include Single Salsa Survivor: The Journal of a Breast Cancer Survivor, Always Sublime Never Ridiculous, Living in Grief. Loving in Grief and Looking In, looking Back: Happy memories That’s A Fact.

Find out more about Sharon’s books and how you can support her chosen charities on her website, which also contains some of her poetry:

http://sharonroseauthor.co.uk/

http://sharonroseauthor.co.uk/blog/

https://www.facebook.com/sharonroseauthor/

 

Echoes from the Past – Part 1- Harry and Part 2 – Eloise (The Peggy Rodman Series), Sarah Colliver

513LlSIAKoL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-067Peggy’s Deductions Help  Spirits Find Peace at Last

These poignant and uplifting tales describe how Peggy Rodman, a wife and mother, uses a new found gift to help  lost and confused spirits make sense of their past and reunite with their loved ones. At the same time Peggy finds some comfort from her own grief at the death of her dear mother. Although both tales brought tears to my eyes, they both ended on a positive note and I found them to be inspirational and uplifting reads in their examination of love, loss and reconciliation in this life and the afterlife.

In Echoes from the Past – Part 1 – Harry, we are introduced to Peggy, the heroine. Peggy has recently moved into a cottage with her husband and two boys.  In the run up to the move Peggy’s mother was taken ill and died.  Peggy is struggling to come to terms with her grief, whilst helping to support others such as her dad, who lives nearby and her two boys who have started a new school. Three months after the move, whilst exploring the area around her new home, she discovers a secret place where she meets a young man called Harry, who she realises lived over a century ago.  Peggy recognises that she has developed a rather extraordinary gift – the ability to interact with spirits of the departed. Harry’s memories of his life are confused and he has become tied to this earthly plane. Peggy helps him to remember and find peace at long last, moving on to be reunited with his loved ones. At the same time Harry’s actions encourage Peggy to find her own peace and start to come to terms with her mother’s passing.

The character of Peggy, a wife and mother, with hopes and fears we are all familiar with, is one which is easy to empathise with.  Peggy is a gentle and thoughtful person, who is very much in tune with her environment and takes pleasure in engaging her senses. She is happy and secure in her relationship with Ed, her husband, and adores her two school age boys. However, she is in a dark place, deeply grieving for her mum, and her ability to communicate with those spirits who remain tied to this world is new to her.

Harry is a lovable character. He is confused and is shocked when Peggy helps him to realise that he is in fact dead and recognises that Peggy is from a time that is not his own. At first he cannot recall much of his life and feels desperately sad. However, with Peggy’s help he is encouraged to make sense of his flashbacks to his past life and eventually his death, enabling him to reunite with his family in the afterlife where he can find happiness again.

Both Peggy and Harry comprehend that something extraordinary is happening and that they have been brought together for a reason. They have a strong physical and emotional connection, which neither understands. I enjoyed the fact that for a ghost, Harry appears very corporeal indeed, like a living breathing person. Indeed, there is reference to Peggy feeling his breath on her cheek, as well as being the recipient of his touch, hugs and kisses. Peggy feels guilty about the attraction she feels for Harry and Harry also feels guilt for he knows that he was happy with his wife and children when he was alive.  Their shared experience of grief enables them to gain comfort from each other.

The story has some mystical, almost fairy tale qualities, especially in how the author describes Peggy’s secret place. I particularly enjoyed the presence of the dove throughout the tale, which I read as a symbol of love and peace and representing a link to the afterlife. For the most part the author’s writing style flowed readily and quickly drew me into the plot and the characters. I would have liked to know a little more about Peggy’s relationship with her husband Ed, which seems very close and loving and hope that this will be explored further in subsequent instalments. I am also curious about Peggy and Harry’s special attraction to one another and wonder if we will be seeing any more of Harry as Peggy’s story unfolds.

I found the tale a very thoughtful and touching read in how it explored the deep emotions connected to death,  grief and  the afterlife. I liked the way that the story concluded and found it to be an inspirational read.

In Echoes from the Past – Part 2 – Eloise, Peggy is getting her life back on track after her mother’s death, whilst a8201da7e24b0a20e32f0e.L._V400995341_[1]-002becoming reconciled to the responsibilities of her special ability. Her joy of life is returning and, at her husband’s suggestion, she applies for a job in Gloucester. It is there, after attending  her interview, that she encounters the troubled spirit of Eloise, who has outstanding issues to resolve before she can pass over peacefully. Peggy is more than happy to assist, especially when she hears her heartbreaking tale. Once again Peggy uses resources available at the local records office to identify some truths previously unknown to Eloise. She also helps Eloise to  remember what happened, helping her to reconcile the past and to reunite with her loved one.

Eloise is a fascinating character, who lived in the late 1800’s. We learn that she was well educated and wanted to contribute to society through working in an area often reserved solely for men. Unusual for a woman of her time, she was able to find work in the offices of the local match factory. Her story focuses on a romance between her and a young man called Charles. Her unfinished business concerns events and misunderstandings which arise soon after she weds him – I will not reveal any more than that as it would spoil the plot for those wishing to read the series.

In this instalment, Peggy grows in confidence and relishes the fact that she can offer help to the troubled spirits she seems to draw to her. We also learn more about her husband Ed and Peggy’s relationship with him. Eloise’s experiences of struggling to justify her role in the workplace as a woman in late Victorian Britain were interesting to reflect on. Peggy comes to realise how lucky she is to have the freedom to work and be a a wife and mother without society judging her harshly. I found the issues raised to be very thought provoking and the conclusion of the tale an uplifting one.

As with Harry’s story, I could sense that the author had carried out a lot of local research into the time and places that her characters inhabited.  This added to my reading experience and added depth to the characters and the narrative. Once again the tale was an emotional one and I welcomed the fact that Peggy was able to help Eloise find peace at last. The two instalments flow almost seamlessly into one another and should be read in order. I am looking forward to the next instalment of Peggy’s story, The Lost Children and the fourth and final instalment which is planned. I recommend the Peggy Rodman Series to those who like to read about the paranormal and explore, in a sensitive way, the issues connected with grief and loss and the veil between the world of the living and those departed.

Reviewed by Tina

To read author Sarah Colliver’s post, in which she talks about her inspiration behind the Peggy Rodman Series, click here.

Author Sarah Colliver’s website/blog http://sarahcolliver.wordpress.com

The Peggy Rodman Series on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Find Sarah Colliver on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EchoesfromthePast