By Janet Shaw, directed by Malcolm Harrington
This is HTC’s March production, and performance dates are March 14, 15 and 16. Audition dates are Tuesday 20 November at 7.30pm, and Sunday 25 November 25 at 2.00pm – both in the Garden Room, the Henfield Hall.
It is a comedy drama that explores family issues spanning four decades. Dee and Millie haven’t spoken since 1969 and no one knows why. That’s how it would have stayed until fate took a hand and their children met and married. Now they tolerate each other on social occasions and avoid each other whenever possible.
It is the week of their only granddaughter’s wedding and it is physically impossible to dodge the inevitable confrontations. No one knows what happened forty-odd years ago and Brian and Linda are fed up with he innuendos, the sarcasm and the downright awkwardness of the situation. Linda is planning the wedding with military precision, much to Brian’s horror when he finds out just what has been planned for the big day. However the best-laid plans can go wrong and as the wedding plans unravel, so do the lives of all the family.
A spiral of destruction evolves leaving the family with a past that can only lead to heartbreak and the resurrection of a day that both Dee and Millie hoped had been buried long ago. No-one is talking, and when the next door neighbour Wills starts to delve into what happened in 1969, skeletons tumble out of the cupboards at an alarming rate.
There are seven strong parts (from the author’s notes):
Brian (45-55): a very likeable, funny individual, who doesn’t take life to seriously although he is quite capable of intensity given the right reason. He loves his wife and child and is sometimes a little overprotective. He is a ‘live and let live’ kind of person. He is very intelligent but allows his wife to make all the major decisions in the house and very rarely puts his foot down. He has a very special relationship with his mother (Dee). He sometimes gets frustrated with Wills from next door, but it is a comical, not derisory, relationship.
Linda (45-55): has lost sight of her values having been caught up with the social crowd her mother mixes with. She is definitely trying to keep up with the Jones’s planning her daughter’s wedding with military precision. She must not come across as unfeeling as her character could soon become unlikeable. The audience must be able to see her vulnerability and empathise with her plans and situation.
Nicola (19-25): a bubbly character, very pretty, and always immaculately turned out: dress, make-up and hair. She is well-balanced and able to pick up on people’s insecurities. She is astutely tuned in to human behaviour. She is quite happy working in a beauty salon and is more than excited about her wedding, although it is all her mother’s plans, as she is like her father, and just ‘goes with the flow’.
Millie (65+) : a complex character again must be played with a degree of sympathy. She can come across as unfeeling and cold, but the audience must be able to see past the exterior and realise there are reasons for her being as she is. The audience should be able to see past the cold bits and see that there is a heart beating there somewhere. The audience should have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this character. She is a ‘twinset and pearls’ type of person, the complete opposite of Dee.
Dee (65+) a marvellous character that should be played with vibrancy at all times. She should be slightly eccentric but at no point embarrassing. She is fun and full of life, but always with a hint of sadness. The audience should understand there is something deep-seated within her personality which will unravel as the play progresses. The banter between Dee and Millie should never get to the stage where it is uncomfortable for the audience, it should be comical sarcasm. Dee is modern in appearance and personality, a ‘leggings and tunic’ type of person, very up to date in her dress, without looking like ‘mutton’.
Wills (40-55): an extrovert character, he should be instantly loved and the audience should laugh with him and not at him. He is in awe of Brian and would do anything to please him. He is insecure and obsesses about being liked and accepted. Linda loves him like a brother. (There is a fine line drawn between Brian liking, but not understanding, this character, and at no point should the audience think that Brian is homophobic. Overplay him, underplay him, it doesn’t matter because his character will shine through the dialogue.
Gloria (65+): it is suggested that Gloria is played by a woman to save turning the character into a ‘dame’ persona. She should be taller than Millie, with good features, and should be simply dressed in slacks, jumper and jacket – no handbag or adornments that would confuse the character, but maybe a simple gold chain to finish the outfit. A deep voice would be an asset. Keep make-up to a minimum.
Jack (65+) : a very small non-speaking, walk-on role.
Rose Sharp (Production Manager with Sally Taylor)