Thursday 20th July to Saturday 22nd July and Tuesday 25th July to Saturday 29th July 1989
Directed by David Penrose
At the Cull-Loomis School of English, English is Spoken and English is taught to foreigners eager to learn. But in the staffroom there is confusion and farce as no-one seems to speak the language at all. The comedy is rich, though it is no laughing matter that every term may be Quartermaine's last.
'Quartermaine's Terms' is set in the 1960s, in the staff-room of the Cull-Loomis School, Cambridge where English is taught as a foreign language, and the action takes place over a period of 5 school terms.The play follows the relationships between seven teachers at the school in particular that between Quartermaine and his colleagues.
The dominant theme is loneliness and during the course of the play, all the characters experience the pain of being or feeling alone. Mark's wife leaves him; Derek (from Hull) finds Cambridge initially unwelcoming; Eddie is ultimately bereaved by the loss of a partner; Anita's husband is a philanderer; Henry is trapped in a dysfunctional family and Melanie is trapped as her Mother's carer. Quartermaine himself is a painfully lonely bachelor with no friends other than his colleagues at the school. He's also painfully inept as a teacher, but the politeness, kindness and general "Englishness" of the other staff seem to save him from being let go time and again.
The significant events in the teachers' lives take place off stage and involve characters who we do not see. Simon Gray pokes gentle fun at the British penchant for "muddling through" and "not complaining" - coupled with a tendency not to take firm action when necessary. Important issues are constantly avoided through politeness and fear of embarrassment. Whilst the play is at times highly comical it has a more serious theme that the struggles of each character with their own version of loneliness are more than they can cope with. Above all Quartermaine himself is an increasingly pathetic figure lost in his own confused thoughts - and ultimately deserted. His future as the play closes is poignantly bleak.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|St. John Quartermaine||Peter Corrigan|
|Anita Manchip||Jo German|
|Mark Sackling||David Hemsley-Brown|
|Eddie Loomis||John Scadding|
|Derek Meadle||Jim McCarthy|
|Henry Windscape||Stuart Hartley|
|Melanie Garth||Nicola Scadding|
|Stage Manager||Vincent Adams|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Jane Hemsley-Brown|
|Lighting Design||Jacquie Penrose|
|Lighting Operation||Peter Holding|
|Costume Design||Ingrid Corrigan|
|Costume Assistant||Ruth Prior|
|Set Design||David Penrose|