With our rehearsals starting to pick up the pace now, we realise there are just eight weeks left to our opening. That means it is time to start promoting the play and our poster should be appearing in local villages shortly.
Meanwhile, here is the poster as a reminder that it is never too early to book your tickets and obtain your preferred seating.
You can read more about this play by clicking here
Yes, here we go again. Rehearsals for our final play of the 2018-2019 season began a couple of weeks ago with our cast working through the initial blocking. Now the hard work begins.
We like to mix our styles and give you different plays and Take Away The Lady follows on from our more modern and earthy performance of Double Top with this, a ‘play of suspense’, a whodunnit by Jimmy Chinn. Set somewhere around the 1950s, The Doubletree family gather for a surprise visit, one that raises questions about the death of their mother some 15 years ago.
You can read more about the play and also get in early with your ticket reservations by following these links;
Our previous posts announced the first two plays of our 2018-2019 season, The Odd Couple (female version) and Double Top (click the links to read the posts). So, although it seems a long way off to think about it, how will we end our season?
Our third play will be (sound trumpet fanfare):
Take Away The Lady by Jimmie Chinn
This time we drift away a little from our usual fare of comedies and farces and treat you to a crime mystery. Jayne Hewson will be directing and it won’t be the first time she has put together a Jimmie Chinn production. Three years ago we did Sylvia’s Wedding and we enjoyed his story telling and style. It was this experience that drew Jayne to search for more of his plays during our summer reading and planning period. She discovered that his plays cover a range of styles and subjects and she was surprised to see that he had written what appeared to be a traditional Agatha Christie-ish whodunnit. “I was intrigued – I read it and enjoyed it and so submitted it to the group” she said, and was pleased to find that the reading went well. “Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it was well received by everyone including our more youthful members so it was nice to see that it could be appreciated by a younger audience too.”
How so? “Well, it’s different to our usual plays – not modern but not period. By that I mean some plays seem very dated in the way they are written.” Jayne explained that she had expected the rather stilted feel of a post-war Agatha Christie – its set in a family country house, perhaps in the late fifties / early sixties with a murderer in the midst – but then realised that he had written this in the 1980s in his more natural and observational style, and all the better for it.
In the play Chinn gives us glimpses into a cupboard full of family skeletons, together with some serious, and not so serious, detective work that keeps everyone guessing until the end:
Returning home from prison, after serving fifteen years for allegedly murdering his mother, Matthew finds his three sisters, his wife and his father waiting for him. Still protesting his innocence, Matthew’s arrival prompts the question, if he didn’t kill Mother, who did – scornful Celia, dotty Emma, cold Lavinia, flighty Gilda or even gentle Father?
As Jayne says “It’s not a comedy but it does have humour. It’s a wonderful gentle thriller with everyone a possible suspect and it has a few nice twists along the way.”
For now the scripts are put to one side as we work through rehearsals for the first play but we feel it will round off the season nicely – a classic big-hit comedy, then a modern local drama/comedy to the finale of a gentle but intriguing thriller.
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So now, everything is packed away and rehearsals have already started for our next production. A lot of hard work paid off with three great performance nights – but not without trauma, however….
One of our cast, Gill, a major character, was unable to perform after the first night due to illness. (She’s fine now by the way). With four hours to go before curtain up we burst into action and decided that the cliché must be fulfilled: the show must go on. When a group of amateurs such as ourselves put such effort and spare time into creating a full stage production then it would be an injustice to that effort – and to our loyal audiences – not to find a way of carrying on.
We needed someone to read in the part if we were to perform. Barbara, our stage manager for this production jumped at the chance (she would say pushed) and we gathered as many of the cast as we could to have a run through of the essentials – the lines, the moves, the costumes. All amateur groups struggle to find actors as it is, so the concept of an understudy is just not possible. Done well, working script in hand works so that the audience is not distracted.
It was a remarkable achievement that the members pulled together during those frenetic few hours so that we were able to keep going. The audience reaction was amazing and appreciated by all. Barbara did an exceptional job and it is pleasing that Gill was able – if only for one night – to bring her wonderfully developed role to the stage.