The Truth Terry Pratchett

About the play A search for truth through Discworld

For its first production of 2015 Glenbrook Players returned to the Discworld. This alternate universe created by Sir Terry Pratchett and gathering more devoted fans yearly, mirrors our Roundworld in many ways. Although shaped like a large pizza resting on the back of four enormous elephants who in turn rest on the back of a gigantic space turtle, the Discworld contains many characters and situations we will all recognise.

The Truth tells of the creation of the first moveable type printing press and the subsequent inevitable rise of newspapers.

William de Worde, younger son of a nobleman, makes a living by writing a newsletter of happenings in his world in the huge sprawling city of Ankh-Morpork and sending it to leaders of the surrounding countries and states. Before the dwarves invent the printing press this involves writing on a smooth piece of wood, getting an engraver to make it into a block and printing up a dozen copies, a very slow and skilled procedure. A close encounter with the dwarf Mr. Goodmountain and his mate Boddoni, leads to William's little newsletter becoming a slickly produced newspaper sold on the streets of Ankh-Morpork by the beggars, led by Foul Old Ron and his much cleverer dog, Gaspode.

William's success, despite his obsession with truthful reporting, leads inevitably to competition, and another newspaper hits the streets to immediate success. To William's frustration "The Enquirer" reports stories of the "Woman gives birth to snake" and "My husband was taken by Aliens" type and these stories are immediately believed by the public because "it must be true, it was in the paper!"

Throw in a plot to depose the Patrician, Tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, a pair of gangsters, a gaggle of noblemen, the Disc's first lady reporter, a vampire photographer whose flash turns him to dust on a regular basis, and a talking dog and you have The Truth.

Director's Note The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret

The Truth is my third and last foray into the Discworld. When I read the book, I wanted to direct it. I loved the satire, the topical references that we can all relate to – whistle blowers, phone tapping, political intrigues and unfair business practices. Then I looked at the play and had no idea how to tackle it – the number of scenes, the gender imbalance of characters, the sheer size of the cast and the special effects – meant that I put the project aside until I had more experience with this style of play.

Discworld plays have an energy and vitality that is somewhat raw. It comes from the fact that they not staged frequently and as such there is little in the way of a frame of reference that a director can draw on for inspiration. Without being a passionate Discworld fan, I have found that directing these plays has been cathartic in that it forces the imagination into overdrive to work out a way of creating the magic that Discworld fans love but also to try and give sense to a complex plot for the patron who has never read a Terry Pratchett book.

I am immensely grateful to everyone associated with the play. I do not have space to thank everyone individually, but I am particularly indebted to Jill for her mammoth task in organising the costumes, Cassandra for help with key people, Rachel who got thrown in at the deep end and has coped brilliantly, and to my husband Alan, without whom I would not have survived the process. I would also like to mention Phil Donney (William), who has performed wonderfully in the huge role whilst coping with injuries to his foot and to Madeleine Sheehy (Gaspode) who has created a character to remember. Her support and assistance has been greatly appreciated.

Directing is hard work – but the joy of seeing a vision come to life in the hands of a dedicated cast and crew lessens the memory of the stress and frustration. I can truthfully say that THE TRUTH HAS MADE ME FRET.

I am very proud of this production and the team. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour.

Robyn Pope