1990

Lucinda

by Mary Smith

Directed by Peg Gloor

November 1990

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Rattle of a Simple Man

by Charles Dyer

September 1990

Percy and his mates have come to London from Manchester in order to attend the Cup Final. Under the influence of too much beer and to win a bet, Percy has gone home with a lady of the night… but then a peculiar friendship develops between the shy middle-aged man and the worldly-wise lady as they are forced to confront their insecurities and discover that they may not be so different after all.

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The Neighbours

by Yves Cabol

Directed by David Llewellyn

The Man in the Bowler Hat

by A A Miln

Directed by Des Mayblom

The Browning Version

by Terence Rattigan

Directed by Audrey Hoving

July 1990

The Man in The Bowler Hat

A terribly exciting little affair happens in the humdrum life of John and Mary, a tempest in a teapot, but while it lasts–well, it’s high comedy, at least for the audience!

The Browning Version

Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version is a one-act play about an unpopular schoolmaster who, faced with the collapse of his career and marriage, snatches a last shred of dignity when he receives an unexpected gift from a pupil. It was premiered in a double-bill with the one-act farce Harlequinade under the joint title Playbill at the Phoenix Theatre, London, on 8 September 1948.

The play is set in the sitting-room of Arthur Crocker-Harris, a classics teacher at a boys’ public school in the South of England, just as he is about to retire because of ill health. He is an unpopular teacher known for his strict discipline and stern lack of humour, and his younger wife Millie, embittered by his lack of passion and ambition, is having an affair with another teacher, Frank Hunter. But when John Taplow, a hitherto unremarkable pupil, makes Crocker-Harris a gift of a second-hand copy of Robert Browning’s translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, the unexpected gesture sets in motion a series of actions that force him to reflect on his past and confront his future.

Neighbours

The Man in the Bowler Hat

The Browning Version

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The One Day of the Year

by Alan Seymour

Produced and Directed by Joanne Llewellyn

April 1990

Undoubtedly one of Australia’s favourite plays, The One Day of the Year explores the universal theme of father–son conflict against the background of the beery haze and the heady, nostalgic sentimentality of Anzac Day.

It is a play to make us question a standard institution – Anzac Day, the sacred cow among Australian annual celebrations – but it is the likeability and genuineness of the characters that give the play its memorable qualities: Alf, the nobody who becomes a somebody on this day of days; Mum, the anchor of the family; Hughie, their son, with all the uncertainties and rebelliousness of youth; and Wacka, the Anzac, with his simple, healing wisdom.

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1989

The Great Coarse Acting Show

November 1989

These plays cover a range of disasters appalling enough to turn any show into a coarse one. 

A Fish in Her Kettle by David Pearson: In this disaster, the cast is trapped on stage when the door jams. 

Present Slaughter by Jane Dewey and Don Starkey: This play collapses because the leading man cuts his wrist on a glass. 

Stalag 69 by Michael Green: This seminal investigation into the relationship between men and war unfolds on an inverted set that collapses completely during the second run through. 

Julius and Cleopatra by Michael Green: This Roman spectacular illustrates two laws of coarse acting: everyone in the crowd is hideously deformed and all pain is felt in the bowels, regardless of where the wound is!


The Crimson Stain

Directed by Peg Gloor

Busy Bodies (Repeat)

by Pat Woods

Directed by Shirley Gay

September 1989


They Had to Go

by Lorna Bol

Directed by Richard Tucker

Busy Bodies

by Pat Woods

Directed by Shirley Gay

July 1989


They Came to a City

by J B Priestley

Directed by Audrey Hoving

April 1989

Just before dawn the play’s characters — who represent every stratum of society — come to the wall overlooking a strange city whose gate is shut against them.

At daybreak they are admitted and towards the end of the day some have found it to be the ideal earth has never achieved. So that everyone may know of this attainable perfection, two of them make the sacrifice of leaving the city to return to their sinful world.



1988


Purity Prevails on the Rails

Directed by Joan Llewellyn

December 1988


Blue Heaven

by Irene Howe-Tucker

Directed by Audrey Hoving & Peg Gloor

September 1988


Silver Sails in The Sunset

by Pauline Williams

Directed by Richard Everingham

April 1988


Once A Jolly Jumbuck

by Ian Austin

Directed by Alex Benham

A Good Ripoff

by Terry Gould

Directed by Jim Williams

April 1988


1987

The Pitfalls of Marriage (From Erection to Resurrection)

December 1987


The Killing of Sister George

by Frank Marcus

October 1987

A scathing examination of the public and private lives of so-called “cultural icons”. “Sister George” is a beloved character on a popular BBC soap opera, a cheerful nurse who bicycles about the countryside singing hymns and doing good. In private life, June Buckridge the actress, is a swaggering, foul-mouthed, alcoholic lesbian in a long-term relationship with waifish Alice “Childie” McNaught. Due to low ratings, cut-backs and June’s own bad behavior, the BBC decides to “kill Sister George” on the series. A visit from Miss Mercy Croft, a no-nonsense network executive bearing the bad news sends George into meltdown, which results in “Childie’s” retreat to the arms of Mercy.

 


Confusions

by Alan Ayckbourn

Directors:  Carol Chapman, Audrey Hoving, Joan Llewellyn, Jim Rose & Pauline Williams

July 1987

Alan Ackybourn’s Confusions is series of five, short, interlinked one-act plays: Mother Figure, Drinking Companion, Between Mouthfuls, Gosforth’s Fete, and A Talk in the Park. Some of the characters appear in more than one play; others are only seen in one. Each play is vastly different – one is comedic (Gosforth’s Fete), another naturalistic (Drinking Companion), and yet another is stylized (Mother Figure). Each, however, deals with the common themes of loneliness and relationships. The characters and their conflicts are immediately recognizable and applicable to everyday lives, and each play leaves the reader, or viewer, questioning their own lives and relationships.


 

1986

Travelling North

by David Williamson

Directed by Jim Williams

November 1986

A moving homage to age and the old radicals who changed the course of our history. Soon after Frank and Frances desert their former lives for a northerly bohemian retreat, Frank’s mortality asserts itself.

This David Williamson play, premiered in 1979, the year that Williamson moved from Melbourne to Sydney. Williamson says the inspiration for the play came soon after he met his second wife Kristin and she took him up to the Central Coast of New South Wales to visit her mother Hope. Hope had recently remarried an older man called Wilkie.

Williamson: “There was more than a little hint of disapproval from her two daughters about the new liaison, which I used in the play, but I found them an inspiring couple. Wilkie was a ferociously intelligent man, a former electrical engineer and ex-communist with pronounced opinions on just about everything. Hope was gentler but with a wonderful quality of perception and understanding. They both impressed me and, some years later, the image of them both living in a verdant, sunlit subtropical paradise re-entered my mind and became Travelling North. In fact, by the time I wrote it, Wilkie had died. I asked Hope whether I could write the play and she trusted me and was most cooperative. She told me anecdotes about a busybody neighbour who had annoyed the hell out of Wilkie and a long-suffering doctor who had to answer Wilkie’s probing questions about the quality of treatment he was delivering. These characters found their way into the story. I think Hope genuinely liked the play, but my wife Kristin and her sister were a little less enthusiastic, particularly when Frank, in the play, refers to them as “Goneril and Regan””.

“This play was not to do with me, and there was no ‘me’ character in it,” he later said. “It was a dispassionate – hopefully – observation of a journey we all must make. I tried to make it as truthful, emotionally, as I could.”


From Earth to Heaven

Dark Out There

by Bec Robinson

Directed by Richard Everingham

The Education of Meg

by Joan Hornby

Directed by Jim Rose

Four Queens Wait for Henry

by L Du Garde Peach

Directed by Barbara Hosie

July 1986


Inherit The Wind

by Jerome Lawrence

April 1986

Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, which resulted in John T. Scopes’ conviction for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to a high school science class, contrary to a Tennesse estate law. The role of Matthew Harrison Brady is intended to reflect the personality and beliefs of William Jennings Bryan, while that of Henry Drummond is intended to be similar to that of Clarence Darrow. Bryan and Darrow, formerly close friends, opposed one another at the Scopes trial. The character of E. K. Hornbeck is modelled on that of H. L. Mencken, who covered the trial for The Baltimore Sun, and the character of Bertram Cates corresponds to Scopes. However, the playwrights state in a note at the opening of the play that it is not meant to be a historical account, and there are numerous instances where events were substantially altered or invented. For instance, the characters of the preacher and his daughter were fictional, the townspeople were not hostile towards those who had come to Dayton for the trial, and Bryan offered to pay Scopes’ fine if he was convicted. Bryan did die shortly after the trial, but it happened five days later in his sleep.  Political commentator Steve Benen said of the play’s inaccuracies: “Scopes issued no plea for empathy, there was no fiancee and the real Scopes was never arrested. In fact, the popular film that was nominated for four Academy Awards and has helped shape the American understanding of the ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ for decades is an inadequate reflection of history.” Lawrence explained in a 1996 interview that the drama’s purpose was to criticize the then-current state of McCarthyism. The play was also intended to defend intellectual freedom. According to Lawrence, “we used the teaching of evolution as a parable, a metaphor for any kind of mind control […] It’s not about science versus religion. It’s about the right to think.”

 

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1985

Trap for a Lonely Man

by Robert Thomas

Directed by Bill Alderman

 

November 1985

Set in an isolated chalet in the French Alps, Trap For A Lonely Man is a gripping psychological thriller concerning a man who has apparently lost his wife, and is rapidly losing his mind. After having reported his wife’s disappearance to the police, Daniel Corban is visited by a young priest who claims he has found Madam Corban well and repentant for running out on her husband. When Daniel’s wife enters the chalet however, he is outraged to discover that she is not Madam Corban, though she insists she is. It becomes increasingly apparent to Daniel that he is facing some sort of conspiracy, as various witnesses declare that she is indeed the Madam Corban they have seen happily ensconced in the chalet with Daniel before her disappearance occured, and when the police fail to believe his story he can only conclude that they are trying to drive him mad – or worse still, to his death. We learn that there is a considerable inheritance at stake, which is reason enough for a scheme of deception and corruption – but just who is telling the truth and to what lengths can a person go to distort the facts? The tension and mystery are sustained to the very last moments of the play.

 


Come Blow Your Horn

by Neil Simon

August 1985

What does it mean to “grow up?” When does it happen? And, does everyone have the same experience? Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play, Come Blow Your Horn examines all of these questions through the lens of the Baker Family. There is Mr. Baker, who began working at age eleven and was married at twenty-one; Alan, his eldest son, is a thirty-three-year-old confirmed bachelor and womanizer; Buddy, the youngest, is Alan’s opposite — hard-working, obedient, reserved, and unsure; Mrs. Baker is adept at the art of emotional manipulation and is prone to hysterics. Throughout the course of the play, the family struggles to understand and adjust to one another, as the two sons begin to grow up, and the parents realize that they are growing old.


Toad of Toad Hall

by A A Milne ( Adapted from Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows )

Directed by Audrey Hoving

June 1985

Toad of Toad Hall, written by A.A Milne was adapted from the Kenneth Grahame children’s book “Wind in the Willows.” The story follows the adventures of an out-going and sometimes recalcitrant toad. Toad often shocks his friends with his outrageous behaviour. Badger, Ratty and Mole are always trying to convince Toad that he needs to be nicer and not run off on a whim chasing an unreal dream. This wonderful play thrills young and old alike. It is truly a play for all ages.


No Room for Dreamers

by George Hutchinson

Directed by Peg Gloor

April 1985

Based on the life of William J Chidley, (1860-1916). In turn-of-the-century Sydney his name rapidly became a household word as he strode the city streets and the Domain dressed in a Grecian-style tunic proclaiming to all who would listen that he had found the answer to all the problems of mankind.

 

 


Snow White

(a production for Australia Day)

January 1985