CDS offers summer comedy

Undaunted by a destructive hurricane or even typical summer doldrums, members of the Cayman Drama Society are preparing to entertain audiences for three weekends, starting 30 June.

Directors Bill and Wendy Bewley have chosen a two-act comedy by Alan Ayckbourn, Living Together.

Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed a portion of the Prospect Playhouse in September, was a factor in their choice.

For one thing, as Mrs. Bewley pointed out before a recent rehearsal, ‘People need a bit of cheering up.’

For another, Mr. Bewley noted, the theatre is somewhat diminished and the stage area is not what it used to be. While the rebuilding process continues, the best choice for a production was something with a single set.

Living Together takes place in the living room of an old house. The Bewleys decided that a minimalist approach to set design would help audiences concentrate on the acting and what’s going on stage.

One of the things going on is a main character contemplating adultery.

There are some people who do not find anything funny about infidelity, whether attempted or actualised. They are forewarned.

Other people find the contrivances and comeuppances generally involved in such a plot to be quite a source of amusement.

Critics through the years have used a variety of descriptions for aspects of the play – from ‘discomforting’ to ‘hilarious’.

Mr. Ayckbourn wrote the script in 1974. The Evening Standard and Plays and Players both named Living Together the Best Play of that year.

Presumably, programme notes will explain that this play is one of three in an ingenious device: the same action, but seen from three perspectives in three different settings: the dining room, living room and garden.

The trilogy was a popular television feature in England in the late ’70s and BBC did a radio broadcast in 1990. LA Theatre Works taped an audio dramatisation in 1999, with cassettes available for purchase.

Clearly, Living Together has popular appeal.

As Mr. and Mrs. Bewley noted, each of the three plays is independent and can stand alone. They know firsthand, having directed it in England in 2000, before they came to Cayman.

The play is set in England, but it could happen anywhere, any time, Mrs. Bewley said.

She and her husband appreciate Mr. Ayckbourn’s approach to comedy: no flat farce or one-dimensional characters mouthing clever one-liners. He develops his characters as the play progresses.

It is giving nothing away to say that the character with adultery on his mind is Norman, played by Mark Campbell, and the object of his intentions is his sister-in-law Annie, played by Penny Paterson.

The woman in the middle is Ruth, Norman’s wife and Annie’s sister. This role is taken by Sarah Pyke.

Rounding out the cast are the women’s brother Reg (Ian Morgan), his wife Sarah (Janine Moss) and Annie’s would-be boyfriend Tom (Peter O’Sullivan).

‘Norman loves everybody,’ Mr. Bewley explained. ‘He is supposed to be taking Annie away for the weekend. Annie has been stuck in the house looking after her elderly mother.’

Theatregoers can see the results for themselves on Thursdays through Saturdays, 30 June until 16 July.

Dinner theatre is offered on Saturdays. Reservations may be made by contacting the CDS box office, 949-5054.

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