Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Would You Adam and Eve It?

Yes, Competition night is here again, on Monday 7 April at the Three Stags, Kennington Road/Lambeth Road, starting at 7.30.
The rules require the submission of a 5 to 10 minute play, set in the Garden of Eden [Wot No Clothes!] and written in the style of a well-known playwright: Shakespeare? Strindberg [who he?], Bennett....
We have nine provocative entries and marking sheets for all.  So come along, watch and judge.

UPDATE: And here's Peter Thompson's report on the result:

This was an “In the Style of” Competition.  The given theme was the Fall of Man and expulsion from the Garden of Eden and we had nine compliant entries ie not too long (over 10 mins), not too short (under 5) and featuring a couple called Adam and Eve.

The first one up, by Peter Vincent, was such a brilliant take-off of Private lives that Noel must have been laughing in Paradise.  But we will return to that later.  Of the other eight we had four skits on Samuel Beckett! Julia Collier’s EASTWARDS OF EDEN, which was one of them, got the style well enough, but being slow and uneventful doesn’t win you high marks (150). Brian Haddon, on the other hand, gave us a play GENESIS in the style of Caryl Churchill about theologians of different religions trying to agree on God’s purpose in creating Man, until interrupted by a couple of Top Girls in the next room (163).  Debbie Maya gave us a Neil Simon playlet in which a decrepit Adam and Eve were invited into God’s garden to try some re-invigorating fruit (175). 

Bill Gordon disappointed some by not giving us a fresh take on Mrs Hudson’s relationship with Sherlock Holmes but went instead on an Oscar Wildean frolic, TEMPTATION, in which Phil Philmar coined all sorts of bon mots as the sibilant SIR PENT (182).  Chris Prior gave us WAITING FOR YAHWEH in which Beckett was lightened by some music-hall humour (184).  [I seem to recall Adam tracking some wild beasts and falling between two stools.  Boom, Boom!]  In third place two plays tied with 185 marks.  One was Adrian Chadburn’s Beckettian PAIN, featuring two of our great actors, Silas Hawkins and Belinda Blanchard, showing us how to do nothing in bed and make it interesting.  The other was a very clever Stoppardian play in two time zones, one with Adam and Eve etching hieroglyphs in a cave and the other a group of present day palaeontologists examining them and smugly denouncing them as fakes:  EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN by Michael Barry.

So now we come to the fourth of the Beckett lookalikes, Giles Armstrong’s GOD ISN’T COMING.  Giles always pulls off surprises and he introduced us to Lilith who, according to some legends, was Adam’s first husband and a bit of a sexpot.  Naturally Eve was consumed with jealousy of Lilith for being the first woman although she, Eve, was the one who saw the shining on the fruit. Natasha Staples ranted about Lilith’s wickedness for about eight minutes and refused to eat jam with her husband and eventually admitted that she had disobeyed God’s command whereupon the earth opened up and swallowed her.  Most of Giles’s plays end that way.  The text was so unusual and so dazzlingly performed that we had to give it 190 marks and put it in second place.  But it was miles behind that brilliant play of Peter Vincent’s with which we opened proceedings: ADAMANT EVE.  According to Peter, Adam’s first wife was an irresistible lady serpent with four beautiful legs.  As played by sinuous six foot Sophie Steel little Jethro never stood a chance: 232 points and another lovely Certificate of Merit to hang with the others.

Thanks to all, not least to Natasha Staples who again effortlessly pulled this farrago of nonsense together into an intellectual feast and brilliant entertainment.  PT

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