The Players most recent production of Charlotte Jones’ ‘Humble Boy’, performed from the 14th to 16th March has been hailed by audiences as being a huge success.
The play, which is loosely based on Hamlet, tells the story of Theoretical Astrophysicist Felix Humble (Tom Guest), who, plagued with self-confidence and social anxieties, returns to his family home to attend the funeral of his father. His difficult relationship with his mother Flora (Viv Jacobs) is pushed to the limit when it’s revealed she has been having an affair with George Pye (Geoff Clifford-Brown), father of Felix’s ex-lover, and unbeknownst to him the mother of his child, Rosie (Sarah Legender).
Flora’s neighbour Mercy Lott (Jean Hewling) and a ghostly apparition of Felix’s father James (Terry West) serve to lead the plot along and allow Felix to come to terms with his grief, his lack of understanding of ‘how the world works’ and allow himself in some form to just ‘be’.
A poignant and at times funny play was brought to life by Sarah Atkinson on a sumptuous garden set, designed by Walter Howell. Adam White developed a beautiful and moving soundscape that allowed the action of the play to unfold, leading to the final moments when Felix was finally able to scatter his father’s ashes, and move on.
Thanks must go to all the helpers working front of house, on prompt and backstage with this production, as well as to our fantastic audiences. Photographs by John Finlayson.
SPYS recent production of ‘Treasure Island’ in a new adaptation of Robert Louis Stephenson’s classic tale by Phil Wilmott, brought swashbuckling pirates, damsels in distress and a surprising amount of cheese to the Parish Hall in July.
The SPYS worked exceptionally hard to pull off a complex and intricate piece of theatre and we are always proud of their ambition, dedication and focus.
THE JEWISH WIFE
The Sedgefield Players are not normally known for performing different types of theatre, but their June production, entitled ‘The Jewish Wife and Other Plays’ sees just that. Written by Bertolt Brecht, this is a series of small plays played by members of the Players. The group also change sets, read stage directions, male parts played by women etc. The play is also set mainly in the round – on the floor of the hall, which give the audience a different view and also makes it more intimate. The plays are taken from a larger play called ‘Fear and Misery of the Third Reich.
Written just before the Second World War, the play very openly, and very bravely for the time it was written, looks at the rising difficulties that the people of Germany were facing with the growing Nazi Party and the rise of the Third Reich.
Brecht developed a very specific style of theatre for his productions, aimed at education rather than entertainment, allowing an audience to see the whole rather than the individual, and known internationally as the ‘Epic Theatre’. His Verfremdungseffekt, roughly translated as distancing techniques, allow an audience to examine their own thoughts and feelings about a specific event or subject, but with Brecht’s own political and social views very much at the forefront.
This was a completely different type of production for the group and also includes members of the SPYS, which was a great opportunity for them. It was a bold move by Thomas Guest, our director to produce this type of theatre, and we have been really pleased with the feedback it has received.
BOTHERED AND BEWLIDERED
The Sedgefield Players most recent production, Gail Young’s ‘Bothered and Bewildered’ has been another success with excellent audiences in attendance.
The poignant and sad story of Irene, beautifully portrayed by Jean Hewling, and her ongoing battle with dementia, brought a tear to many an eye. ‘A fabulous performance by all and well worth going to see this heart-warming production’ – Nicola Brister. The pathos is offset as Irene has visions of the world famous writer Barbara Cartland (Elizabeth Flanagan). Barbara’s often hilarious interruptions help Irene to cope in a world where everything is changing and she is beginning to forget who she is. Past memories of the boy she loved and the child she gave away (played in memories by Sarah Legender and Tom Guest) come back to haunt her and her biggest secret is never fully revealed.
Beth and Louise (Sarah Atkinson and Jacqui O’Meara) have the difficult decision of deciding their mother’s care and the scenes between the two actresses are beautifully played. Granddaughter Shelley (Jessica Sadler) can’t understand their decision to put her Nan into care, until she spends an evening looking after she and realises how difficult she has become.
The cast is rounded off by Rosemary Jones, Sue Hutchinson and Ian Thurgood as the efficient but caring NHS consultant, doctor and police officer that Irene comes into contact with.
‘I have just been to another brilliant production by Sedgefield Players – anyone living anywhere near who has the chance to go – please do! Laughter and tears in equal measure, and so well acted. Well done all – an amazing production on a topic dear to my heart – dementia’. Judith Edgoose. The production has been a pleasure from start to finish with laughs a plenty, and the odd shiny eye, in the rehearsal room. Set design by Garry and Viv Jacobs brought the difference areas of the difficult staging to life while the lighting and sound, designed by Adam White, was perfect for the changing sequences and the fast pace of the play. Operators Richard Flanagan and David Jasper were excellent of the night, keeping the show running alongside the ever important (though rarely used) prompt, Annette Lawson.
Many thanks too to all who helped front of house and on the bar for making the productions run so smoothly.