2013 Phoebe Rees Awards
Jim Cartwright was born in Farnworth, Lancashire in 1958 and educated at Harper Green Secondary Modern School, Farnworth.
Cartwright is adept at interweaving the apparently 'real' with the fantastical, and this juxtaposition is apparent in many of his dramas. In The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (1992) the stark poverty and depressing monotony of Mari and LV's world are set against the ability that LV has to be 'changeful', to transform herself by way of her voice. LV, daughter of Mari, barely speaks - she is not quite, but almost, voiceless. However, she has the extraordinary ability to become 'others' - in this case, great divas with resonant, powerful voices. LV's ability to become others can be seen as emblematic of one of Cartwright's most abiding themes - that of the power of the individual to transform her/himself despite the expectations of society/community.
The Rise & Fall of Little Voice tells the story of a shy, reclusive girl named LV – or Little Voic - and her larger than life, boozy, out-of-control mother Mari. Desperately missing her dead father, LV spends her time locked in her bedroom listening to his old record collection and perfecting astonishing impersonations of famous divas including Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Edith Piaf, and Judy Garland...
When Mari starts dating sleazy, small time "talent scout” Ray Say, she thinks he’s her chance for a better life. When Ray hears LV sing, he thinks she’s his ticket to the big time. Meanwhile, LV finds comfort and companionship in Billy, a young man who is just as socially awkward, and an oddball romance blooms. As showtime draws closer, the stage is set for LV’s stunning debut performance – and a showdown that will change everyone’s lives.