Snake in the Grass
By Alan Ayckbourn
22 - 27 October, 2018
Cast & Crew
Following her father’s death, Annabel enters the garden for the first time since running away, aged twelve. She is met by Alice, the nurse to her late father. Alice states that she was dismissed by Annabel’s sister, Miriam, not for inefficiency, as Annabel believed, but because she was trying to stop Miriam finishing her father off. These claims are backed up by a letter from their father, and knowing the will was changed in Annabel’s favour, Alice demands compensation. When Annabel questions her, Miriam concedes that she might have removed one or two light bulbs, given her father a little push, and increased his dose of medicine “just three or four times”.
Writing for women is what Alan Ayckbourn is especially good at; he is particularly acute when it comes to writing about how women feel about the way men treat them. He also knows how to write for women when they are among themselves.
In this play Annabel, the eldest of the two sisters, has returned to a very sticky situation, far stickier than she ever guesses. Annabel has not seen her sister Miriam for 35 years. Annabel has lived abroad, had a successful business and has been married. Miriam has stayed at home and stayed with their father until his death. Alice, their father’s nurse, has been a companion to Miriam. The play looks at the relationship between the two sisters. But it has much else on its mind and is a suspense drama about murder, blackmail - and haunting.
Most ghosts we encounter are not wailing nuns or headless monks. The phantoms lie within us, born out of a past that continues to haunt us; “suppressed memories that grow into nightmares of our own imaginings as we lie awake in the darkness." And so it is with Annabel and Miriam who are still haunted by their shared childhood history and their cruel and domineering father.
I am pleased to be directing at Bingley Little Theatre again and I am especially delighted to be directing Snake in the Grass. I have always enjoyed acting in Alan Ayckbourn’s plays, but this is my first time directing one.
Snake is the Grass has certainly been a challenge to bring to life and the three actresses have had to work very hard at grappling with their complex characters.
Snake in the Grass is a brave choice for BLT to choose, not least because of the set difficulties, but I feel that Godfrey, David and the team have done us proud.
I would like to thank many people who have enabled me to bring this play to life, without the hardworking backstage team the play just would not go on.