Saturday 19th March 2011
Directed by Members of Bench Theatre
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. In 2011, we have entered a record three new plays ALL written by current or past members of the company.
To mark this special occasion (and with the kind permission of the authors) Bench Theatre present a special preview show at The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre in Havant, featuring all three of our 2011 Totton Drama Festival competition entries. All Members and Backbenchers are invited to this special event. Friends can also be invited as long as they are accompanied by a paid up Member or Backbencher.
Six strangers, three couples, ninety seconds to find true love. The play is a funny and poignant insight in to what some people go through to find the partner of their dreams. This play was first performed by Bench Theatre in 2010 as part of the Supernova 5 festival of new writing.
The title of this play was taken from a 1982 locally produced guide to the excavated site of Pompeii, by Piemme & Enrika D'Orta. The scene is Pompeii, on a hot day in August. In this comedy, Elspeth and Corinne are on a package holiday. The play was originally written in the early 1980s and first performed by Bench Theatre in 1987 as part of a touring trilogy of plays, all written by Jacquie, under the banner 'Time and Tide'.
Aunt Elspeth and her niece Corinne have reluctantly agreed to share a holiday after the break-up of Elspeth's marriage. Neither of them really want to be there on the holiday, but are doing their best to make the best of things. It's Tuesday, so it's Pompeii - and for Elspeth and Corinne - their feet ache, it's hot and they're beginning to think that all this history and culture isn't quite what it's cracked up to be. The main problem it seems, is the effect that all of it has on the feet.
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. This play was first performed by Bench Theatre in 2005 as part of the Supernova3 festival of new writing.
These plays were staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977, to a specially invited audience of members, family and friends. All three plays were staged again the following week as part of the First Round of the All England Theatre Festival at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton, where they won multiple awards.
|First Man||Andrew Caple|
|First Woman||Sharman Callam|
|Second Man||Thomas Hall|
|Second Woman||Megan Green|
|Third Man||Richard Le Moignan|
|Third Woman||Fern Bicheno|
|Stage Managers |
|Julie Wood |
|Lighting Operation||Robin Hall|
|Programme and |
|Set Design||Kevin West|
|Poster and Flier Design||Dan Finch|