Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Garden Part Two

December 2nd and it's time to get ourselves back to the Garden, after last week's electrifying Part One.

The play is set in a walled garden, somewhere in North London, where our genial Chorus leads us on a journey through time. In our imagination we are invited to picture the garden as a place of present beauty and life as time passes, seasons change, year follows year and people flower and fade and fight for survival. With the Chorus as guide, we are invited to share the dramas faced by some of the vibrant individuals who have inhabited this garden over the years, locked as they are into the vagaries of their times. Part 1 - shown last week – took us from 1805 to 1921 and received outstanding feedback. Part 2, this week, gives us four short plays: 1940 – THEY WON’T BOMB THE DORCHESTER; 1963 – LOVE CHILD; 1981 – WHATEVER LOVE MEANS; 2013 – WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

7.30 at the Three Stags.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Garden

For the next two Mondays we have a series of playlets that have come to fruition via the Collaborative group, entitled the Garden.

The play is set in a walled garden, somewhere in North London, where our genial chorus lead us on a journey through time. In our imagination we are invited to picture the garden as a place of present beauty, as time passes, seasons change, year follows year, and people flower and fade and fight for survival. Moving from 1805 to 1921 over five short scenes in Part One, and from 1940 to the present day in Part Two, we join nine different sets of characters as they battle with the challenges set before them and make their mark on the progress of history.

The Garden is written by Mary Conway, Anthea Courtenay, Victoria Johnston, Caroline Langston, Debbie Mayer, and Peter Vincent. Part One, Monday 25th November, 7.30 at the Three Stags.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Embalmer

‘Art can be whatever you want it to be.’

A man, a woman and a dead body.

After keeping the world’s most famous corpse in tip-top shape for three decades, Viktor plans to retire and grow roses at his dacha. But an unexpected visitor to his laboratory underneath the Lenin mausoleum has other ideas.

 John Morrison’s new play, set in post-communist Russia, asks universal questions about the nature of art.

‘Where’s Lenin? He’s in Poland.’ (Old Soviet joke)

John Morrison first visited the Lenin mausoleum as a schoolboy in 1965. He worked in Moscow as a journalist before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His last play, A MORNING WITH GUY BURGESS, was staged at the Courtyard Theatre, Hoxton, in 2011.

Whatever you say, things like this do happen in the world; not often, but they do happen.’  (Nikolai Gogol, THE NOSE)

THE EMBALMER will be read at Player-Playwrights on 18 November at 7.30 pm.  The venue is the upstairs room of The Three Stags, 67-69 Kennington Road, London SE1 7PZ (3mins walk from Lambeth North tube station).

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Guilty secret

November 11 is competition night. the theme this term is Guilty Secret. Ten short scripts, all read anonymously, by some of the finest acting talent in London, followed by the all-important vote.

Who wins? You decide.

Monday at the Three Stags. 7.30.


And this is how it panned out, as told by Peter Thompson:

"For the first time this century there were no disqualifications and 10 well-crafted entries completed the course. SALVATION, by Philip Mison, wrapped up a guilty secret in a Country and Western song that was being broadcast on a radio station in the Deep South. All very authentic, particularly the Southern commentary by Cyd Casados and the Willie Nelsonian ballad, but perhaps not sufficiently sophisticated for us Lunnon folk: 10th with 159 points. Just above was Angela Higson’s mysterious play THE WOUND in which junior staff pieced together the domestic secrets that were causing their boss, Silas Hawkins, so much pain: 163 points.
Giles Armstrong treated us to a tale of adultery and colonial uprisings in a beleaguered Indian fort, where Rez Kabir, the faithful(?) native servant, kept serving chota-pegs to Memsahib Courtenay and burnishing her ancient flintlock: 8th with 166.  New member, Katherine Woodrow, wrote CAR CRASH in which Caroline Langston pulled into a lay-by, glugged half a bottle of whisky and confessed to her son Jethro the terrible truth about murdering his father years before.  [Ajay and I gave her a lift home afterwards]  Seventh place with 173 points.  In sixth place, with 178 points was Michael Barry’s  NO GUILT AT ALL, which did what it said on the tin.  The more Carrie Cohen used hypnosis to expose his hidden history of immorality and crime the less guilty her patient, Chukwudi Onwere, felt.  That brought us to Debbie Maya’s MAYFAIR, which has always been a winning investment on the Monopoly board, unless you cheat, of course, as John Morrison always did as a 7 year old when playing his sister, Hannah Mercer.  Fast forward to the 70 year old John and he is still at it.  Only this time Hannah catches him out and he drops dead.  Ha! Fifth with 180 points.  Fourth was another entry by Michael Barry.  It was awarded 197 points and concerned THE FAMOUS FIVE, who made a great living in advertising and in showbiz as quintuplets.  Their guilty secret was that they each had a different father.
Peter Vincent’s entry took us to Bronte-land.  There is much musing below stairs about Mr Rochester’s Byronic philanderings all over West Yorkshire and how he gets away with it.  Governess Jane [Hannah again] decides to go and have it out with Mrs Rochester and THE TERRIBLE SECRET OF ED ROCHESTER is revealed:  there is no Mrs Rochester: she has been invented to fend off talk of matrimony! Third with 202 points.  ONE MAN’S MEAT was a lovely two-hander by Mary Conway, beautifully performed by Natasha Staples and Phil Philmar: two allotment-owning vegans torture each other with talk of steak and even MacDonalds: second place with 223 points.  Top of the class, with 225 points was, of course, Bill Gordon (who else) with UNDERWEAR IN THE HIGHLANDS: Paul Temple and Steve are lost in the Highlands in driving rain looking for McGuffin Grange, or some such.  As night falls they are lured into a mysterious motel by a Psychotic Scot [Silas again] who knows how to hum theCoronation Scot.  Fortunately Chris Prior is on hand to save the day and the patent for Harris Tweed underwear.  Another disaster averted.
Thank you, Natasha, for distributing these engaging scripts to such talented actors and managing a production of 10 little plays, back to back, without a hitch.  Great entertainment.