By J B Priestley
14 - 19 January, 2013
Olwen is sure she has seen the cigarette box before
Gordon is upset and angry
Charles is convinces that no one will gain from knowing the whole story
Betty has a confession too
Robert and Freda Caplan are entertaining their colleagues and friends at their country retreat; here is a group of people with the world at their feet.
A chance remark by one of the guests ignites a series of devastating revelations, revealing a hitherto undiscovered tangle of clandestine relationships and dangerous dark secrets. Disclosures have tragic consequences.
As the truth spills out about the suicide of Robert’s clever, reckless brother, the group’s perfect lives begin to unravel, never to be the same again.
As I write we are heading into the Christmas season; all who are involved with the production are trying to fit our rehearsals around our many other commitments. Something I've often noticed is how busy in many other ways busy AmDram people are!
Priestley's early play offers a number of challenges to a modern cast, and a modern audience. Habits and speech in 1932 may appear a trifle odd in 2012. During rehearsals we have had to make a number of decisions; what shall we do about smoking? What was normal (and indeed integral to this piece) in 1932 has decidedly changed in the intervening eighty years; do we stick with slang whose meaning has changed? Does any of JBP's dialogue sound antiquated, stylised or clichéd to the modern ear? (answer almost invariably not, but some insight into characters and the milieu and times they lived in has been needed in order to give dialogue its full value). My admiration for his genius as an author who is not merely clever but also accessible and humane only increases as I read and hear his work. I expect that the JBP Society will agree with me when I maintain that this great Bradfordian - respected though he still is - is nevertheless vastly underrated today. All power to their elbows in keeping his flame alive. Please take time to enjoy their background display in the foyer.
The story is introduced above, so it only behoves me to thank my intelligent and talented cast for their commitment and hard work - they have been a joy to work with - to wish them the success they deserve and to wish you, our audience, an enjoyable trip back to the 1930s, faithfully recreated by BLT's brilliant props, wardrobes and stage departments. Listen carefully and you will hear a rattling good story. Have an enjoyable evening.