Dying for a Laugh
Two one-act plays
directed by Miriam Breuer &
Friday 16 November 2012
Saturday 17 November 2012
Tuesday 20 November 2012
Wednesday 21 November 2012
In both one-act plays the audience is thrown into a world of absurd satire and finds itself, along with both main characters, dying for a laugh - or perhaps not?
The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang
This play was inspired by the well-known dream that many actors have, that they must perform in a play that they have inexplicably never been to rehearsals for, and for which they know neither the lines nor the plot.
George wanders onto an empty stage, not certain where he is or how he got there. The stage manager informs him that he is the understudy, and must go on in a few minutes. George doesn’t know his name, doesn’t think he’s an actor (“I think I’m an accountant”), and has no idea what play he’s supposed to perform.
He’s pushed onstage dressed as Hamlet and finds himself opposite a glamorous actress who seemingly is in Noel Coward’s Private Lives. George does his best to guess the lines and guess appropriate behaviour, but then the actress leaves and suddenly a new actor comes in, spouting Shakespearean verse from Hamlet. After a while George is left alone and must improvise his own Shakespearean soliloquy.
In the closing sections, George finds himself thrust into a Samuel Beckett play (a combination of Waiting for Godot and Endgame), of which he has very little knowledge. Then suddenly he is Sir Thomas More in the historical drama A Man for All Seasons, facing a beheading for opposing Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Alarmingly the executioner seems more real than he should.
A Slight Accident by James Saunders
This play links violent death together with casual conversation, but this time the killing is over just before the curtain goes up. With the revolver still smoking in her hands, Penelope, ever the perfect hostess, launches comically into her polite, slightly affected middle-class clichés as she invites a neighbour to watch television.
When Camilla and her husband Rodger arrive, Penelope's improvisation skills are pushed to the limit as she attempts to gloss over the lingering presence of the corpse in a dance honouring and parodying the time-honoured traditions of a classic thriller.
Rodger, a slave to convention, lives by routine and thinks in clichés. The comedy that follows is partly verbal, part situation as Penelope invents, contradicts herself and re-phrases sentences in a cross-talk act with Camilla and Rodger, which verges on the vaudeville. How will it all end?
Cast in order of appearance
The Actor’s Nightmare
George - Marcus Küdde
Alex, the stage manager - Andre Garthaus/Annika Lahl
Sarah Siddons - Andrea Lorenzetti
Dame Ellen Terry - Ulla Hilterhaus
Henry Irving - Robert Muil
The Executioner - Simon Harst
A Slight Accident
Penelope- Denise Tiefenthaler
Camilla - Britta Noerenberg
Rodger - Markus Hollins
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