Richard Bean, born in East Hull in 1956, is an English playwright. He studied psychology at Loughborough University, which set him up for half-a-dozen years as a personnel officer and a further ten acting as an independent occupational psychologist advising non-governmental organisations (e.g. Amnesty International). Between 1989 and 1994, Bean also worked as a stand-up comedian in pubs on the London comedy circuit. As a playwright he had a rather late start while he was in his 40s. In 1995 he wrote the libretto for Stephen McNeff's opera Paradise of Fools, which premiered at the Unicorn Theatre.
In the setting of his first plays he drew on his own background, having been born in a once prosperous fishing town which had gone into decline. His most important plays include Under the Whaleback, Hooneymoon Suite, Harvest, England People Very Nice, The Heretic, One Man, Two Guvnors. Bean's plays have received several prestigious awards: Pearson Award Best New Play for Honeymoon Suite (2002), Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play for Harvest (2005), Evening Standard Awards for Best New Play The Heretic and One Man, Two Guvnors (both plays joint winners in 2011).
Toast, is a comedy-drama, set in 1975 in the canteen of a bread factory in the small town of Hull. Seven men come together to bake bread during night shift. The canteen is the site of their interaction; it is a place where their life stories are gradually revealed and their relationships, dominated by the hierarchy of the plant, are put to a test. The men work long hours, their wages are miserable. Providing glimpses of their personal stories the author gives a vivid portrayal of the underdog population with hardly any bright future ahead. One Sunday night the bread plant in a neighbouring town breaks down, so the men in Hull get an additional order to bake three thousand loaves. And it is on that particular night that things are not going well: someone put a double quantity of yeast in the bread mixture, the ovens are cranked up, and the mixture is expanding as it goes into the oven. Will the men be up to their task?
Toast is a topical drama about working-class people who are largely exploited and working in difficult conditions. In spite of this, or precisely because of it, their conversation is generously humorous, and it is their humor which helps them get by. Toast premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1999 and became a very successful production.
Translator Tina Mahkota
Director and Set Designer Jernej Kobal
Dramaturg Nuša Komplet
Language Consultant Jože Volk
Blakey, chargehand Vojko Belšak
Dezzie, first oven man David Čeh
Colin, spare wank Damjan M. Trbovc
Peter, tinner Andrej Murenc
Walter Nelson (Nellie), mixer Branko Završan
Cecil, tin man on the prover Bojan Umek
Lance, student Aljoša Koltak
Opening 26 October 2012
Performance duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes. No interval.
Our sincere thanks to Pekarna Geršak bakery and to the Celje Fire Brigade for their assistance in the staging of Toast.