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ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR

PRODUCTION DETAILS

 

TITLE: Absurd Person Singular

PLAYWRIGHT: Alan Ayckbourn

PERFORMANCE DATES: 19th - 21st November 2015

DIRECTOR: Nicki Clay

CAST

Sidney Hopcroft - Graeme Parker

Jane Hopcroft - Lisa Valentine

Ronald Brewster-Wright - David Lane

Marion Brewster-Wright - Jill Pearson

Geoffrey Jackson - Nick Leaf

Eva Jackson - Sophie Griffiths

Dick Potter (Voice) - Mike Waters

Lottie Potter (Voice) - Linda Baillie

Click HERE for production programme

SYNOPSIS

Absurd Person Singular play is set over three Christmases in the kitchens of three couples: Sidney Hopcroft, an ambitious tradesman, and his submissive wife Jane; architect and adulterer Geoffrey Jackson and his depressed wife, Eva; Ronald Brewster-Wright, a banker, and his alcoholic wife Marion. The three couples range from working to upper class. ‘Last’ Christmas is set at Sidney’s house, who hopes to persuade the others to invest in his business - although both Geoffrey and Ronald are obviously dismissive of the man and dislike him. Throughout the scene, Sidney’s unfeeling treatment of Jane becomes apparent, as does the way she rises above it. It also becomes obvious that Geoffrey and Eva’s marriage is on the rocks and that in Ronald, Geoffrey sees the potential for help with a new commission for a shopping centre. Unseen in the lounge, Dick and Lottie Potter hold sway with their raucous jokes, forcing the others to seek refuge in the kitchen. By the end of the act Jane has been locked out of the kitchen in the pouring rain only able to return when the party, declared a success by Sidney, is over.‘This’ Christmas is spent at Geoffrey and Eva’s flat. Geoffrey’s fortunes have fallen and Eva spends most of the act attempting to commit suicide in ever more desperate, domestic ways. Jane mistakes her attempts to gas herself for cleaning and takes over scrubbing the oven; the tablets Eva loses down the sink leads Sidney to offer to help with the plumbing - getting soaked as result; when Eva tries to hang herself, Ronald thinks she’s trying to change the light-bulb and takes over - electrocuting himself in the process. In despair, she starts singing a Christmas carol as Geoffrey arrives with a doctor in tow. Amid the chaos, Marion has been getting increasingly drunk and the Jackson’s rabidly aggressive and unseen dog, George, has attacked Dick and effectively trapped them all in the kitchen. ‘Next’ Christmas is at Ronald and Marion’s house, where Marion tends to lock herself in her bedroom to be comforted by alcohol, leaving Ronald bewildered and lost in his own home. The roof of Geoffrey’s shopping centre has collapsed and, ironically, he is now dependent on Eva. The two couples meet for a Christmas drink but try to hide when Sidney and Jane turn up uninvited. The couple have come up trumps in the interim and are now on the rise. Once in the kitchen, it transpires Ronald, who was dismissive of them in the first act, has to court them to keep their business and Geoffrey desperately needs them to employ him as an architect to keep his career alive. Having dished out wildly inappropriate Christmas presents and with the fortunes of all couples now completely reversed, Sidney finally gets his wish for party games and makes everyone

CHAIR’S PRODUCTION NOTES

Welcome to our latest play offering...... Absurd Person Singular by Alan Ayckbourn.I thought it was about time I gave this directing lark a go, after having decided upon the play about 3 years ago. I'd heard of Absurd Person Singular before but had considered its title somewhat...odd! I had expected the play itself to be...well...absurd!  After seeing Ayckbourn's latest revival of the play (SJT Scarborough), I soon realised the play itself wasn't odd, the characters however, were a little absurd! I'd read that Ayckbourn had shelved another of his plays, which he had called Absurd Person Singular, yet had loved the title so much that he swapped it for this play! In typical style, it is simply a story which portrays the worst side of people.Ayckbourn doubts anyone would willingly choose to become friends with the characters he creates - I agree! The planning phase began back in June and then the doubts kicked in! This was my first attempt at directing and I had chosen a play with a very complicated set. I was going to need three kitchens, a washing machine, oven, fridge, tables, chairs and the rest! Not only was I concerned about space and storage but how could we obtain all this furniture and not blow the budget? In the end I decided upon part-minimalist staging, hoping our audience will use their imagination to fill the spaces.  Directing this play has been a very enjoyable, positive and rewarding experience. I have had incredible support and commitment from everybody involved. The cast were even rehearsing without scripts way ahead of schedule. I might have another go at this directing lark!  I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to our newest member Mike Waters.And finally...thank you to our audience and sponsors for your continued support and patronage. It is, as always, greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy our play.

Nicki Clay

Photos taken by Nancy Waters

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