By Alan Ayckbourn
22 - 27 May, 2017
The play opens at a family funeral at which Simon is attracted to both Abigail and Dorcas and Simon tosses a coin for which sister will occupy the last seat in the funeral car. This is the point at which a decision is made as to which scene follows. The two alternates are set at family picnics but with significant differences. At the end of this scene either Dorcas or Abigail make a decision as to which offer to accept which sets the next scene which is either a cross country run or a night under the stars in a tent. The play ends at the wedding of Brenda and Melvyn with Simon as the best man where he quickly realises that the family have closed ranks against him.
This play of four scenes has alternates for Scenes 2 and 3 which are dependent upon the toss of a coin and upon the arbitrary decision of one of the cast, therefore there are FOUR plays which can be seen. The final scene is the same in all instances and it is intended that the play will be performed as written.
The action takes place on a remote corner of Pendon Common in the present day.
It's a cold and damp day in February on Pendon Common and sisters, Abigail and Dorcas, are with their father, Ralph, at this favourite family haunt. With them are other members of the family:
Abigail's businessman husband Patrick; Dorcas' latest boyfriend, Stafford, a would be poet; Uncle Len, a Detective Inspector with the local Police Force and his wife Rita; and their younger brother Melvyn, who is studying medicine, with his girlfriend Brenda. They are joined by Brenda's brother, Simon, who has just returned from working overseas.
Abigail, disillusioned with her marriage, and Dorcas, tiring of her unsatisfactory relationship, are both attracted to the suntanned Simon. During the visit events lead to there being insufficient transport for everyone to return home, leaving Abigail or Dorcas the opportunity to walk home and be alone with Simon. Both conniving for this opportunity, it comes to the obliging Simon to toss a coin.
Four months later on a sunny afternoon in June, we join everyone again for a family picnic. But who walked home with Simon? And how did their respective partners react? During the rather fraught occasion the weather turns inclement and the picnic has to be abandoned. But has the fling with Simon come up to expectations? Was the grass not so green on the other side? Was it really worth it?
The second half of the play is determined by the result of the tossing of the coin and the consequent decisions of Abigail and Dorcas. Will Abigail find the romance she hungers for? Will Stafford convince Dorcas that he is the love of her life?
By the end of the play, on a cold frosty day in November the family are all together again. This time for a family wedding.............
The play is about the choices we make and the consequences of our actions. It is also about the effect the actions of others has on the control, or lack of control, we have over our destiny.