Three Monologues by Alan Bennett
Fri 12th to Sat 13th May 2017
Wedmore Village Hall
|A Lady of Letters
|starring Carole Knowles
|A Chip in the Sugar
|starring Alan Philps
|starring Elizabeth Coulter
|Creative and Backstage Team
|Assistant Stage Manager
|Front of House
|Jonathan & Jenny Frankpitt; Peter & Jennie Colton
|Sue Burton, Rosy Brooks, John & Ann Sanderson
The “Talking Heads” series of monologues, originally written by Alan Bennett for BBC TV, and featuring some of our best-loved actors – including Patricia Routledge (A Lady of Letters), Stephanie Cole (Soldiering On) and Alan Bennett (A Chip in the Sugar) – have become modern classics and are amongst his most popular plays.
The writing is intensely skilful. The monologue form requires such close observation of the character’s interior life, and of their particular turn of phrase, whilst telling a complex story peopled with many characters through the eyes and the voice of a single narrator. Bennett’s characteristic combination of humour and pathos makes each story uniquely absorbing, reflecting his inimitable style.
Alan Bennett says, of the plays: “There is a single point of view, that of the speaker alone, and with the rest of the story pictured and peopled by the viewer more effort is demanded of the imagination”.
So, this is drama as pure storytelling. No frills or devices, very little adornment via set or props, almost no physical action – just the single, absorbing focal point of the storyteller.
It takes a very special acting talent to perform these pieces. Carole Knowles, Alan Philps and Elizabeth Coulter have worked tirelessly over the last few months. Similarly, the creative team have used their stagecraft skills to convert a series devised for a TV studio into a striking theatrical experience, and on a very small stage.
I am indebted to all of them.