Totton - 24th March 2011, Shaftesbury - 16th April 2011
Directed by Roger Wallsgrove
An aging comedian lies dying, reflecting on his life and trying to write that last great film. A fantasy homage to a man called Stanley Jefferson, known to the world as Stan Laurel who, with his partner Ollie, proved there has to be laughter till the end.
The first round of the All England Theatre Festival (Western Area, Southern Division) is usually held at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton. Bench Theatre first entered the festival competition in 2006 and has been a regular contributor ever since.
Stanley Jefferson was a music hall comedian who went to America to try and get his big break in the movies. Eventually ending up working for Hal Roach he became an accomplished writer, producer and director of short silent films, a 'Gag Man' with an instinctive genius for comedy who while appearing in a number of films, somehow never ignited the imagination of the US in the same way that his old friend Charles Chaplin did. He was on the verge of quitting performing to concentrate on writing when an accident brought him into a film with 'Babe' Hardy. When the two of them were on screen together, the public DID look and the public DID laugh and Jefferson became Laurel while 'Babe' became Oliver and a comedy legend was born.
The fictitious location of this play (The Lonesome Pine Ski Lodge) was chosen by the authors following reports of Laurel's dying words "I'd rather be skiing" - even though he had never been able to ski. The premise of Laurel's fantasies were taken from the fact that for many years after the death of Hardy, he continued to write scripts for the two of them - scripts that he must have known would never be performed. 'Lonesome Pine' was first performed with a different cast in 2005 at Havant Arts Centre as part of Bench Theatre's festival of new writing, Supernova3.
This one-act play was staged at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton as part of the first round of the All England Theatre Festival 2011 competition. Pete Woodward was presented with the award for "Best Actor" at this festival, with the play being selected to progress to the second round, staged at The Arts Centre in Shaftesbury on April 16th.
For his portrayal as Ollie, Mark Wakeman received the "Best Actor" award at Shaftesbury and the part of Stanley was played by Roger Wallsgrove.
|*Stanley||Pete Woodward |
|Stage Managers |
|Sally Hartley |
|Stage Managers |
|Robin Hall |