HDC Programmes - Page 3

Welcome to Huntingdon Drama Club’s production of Hay Fever Directing ‘Hay Fever’ marks my return to Huntingdon Drama Club after a brief hiatus that ended up lasting about three years! I’m very pleased to find the Club lively and vibrant – and full of new faces. However, I’m probably the ‘new face’ to many of you, so I’ll give you a quick résumé. I first joined Huntingdon Drama Club back in the mists of time (actually about 11 years ago), having been previously involved with amateur dramatics in London, Godmanchester and Vancouver (yes, the one in Canada). I appeared in several HDC productions, of which my favourite was ‘The Real Inspector Hound’. I also directed three plays for the Club. It’s hard to pick my favourite there, because one was the incredibly funny and surreal ‘Picasso at the Lapin Agile’ by Steve Martin, but the other two were (in the words of Ernie Wise) ‘plays wot I wrote’. I am proudest of the last one, ‘Worlds Apart’, which seriously threatened to out-surreal Steve Martin. It’s great to return to directing, which I adore and have missed. I must praise my stellar cast and crew, who have worked very hard whilst (I hope!) enjoying themselves. I’d run out of space if I tried to name everyone who has helped, but I want to record a special thank you to my Producer, Ann Monk, who has relieved me of all the tiresome details and relentlessly dotted all the ‘I’s and crossed all the ‘T’s. Thanks also to Brampton Drama Club and OCAG for inviting us to put on this production. Noël Coward designated ‘Hay Fever’ a ‘light comedy’, and that it is, with plenty of opportunity for histrionics and what is best described as sophisticated farce. Directing this has been a challenge – as you have probably surmised, it is not my usual choice of play. In its own way, however, it too is surreal. And very funny. You will see a family of drama queens take centre stage – much to the consternation of their hapless weekend guests. Very quickly, the fine line between real life and high blown fantasy begins to flicker and fade. (Hmmm – perhaps my sort of play, after all.) As is typical of works by Noël Coward, the wit is fast and furious so, in a line from the Queen of Drama Queens, Bette Davis, ‘Fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a bumpy night’. And enjoy. Valerie Gerrard Director A Selective Coward Chronology 1899 1911 1917 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1929 1930 1932 1935 1939 1941 1944 1954 1960 1964 1973 Born on 16 December in Teddington, Middlesex Made first stage appearance Ida Collaborates (written with Esmé Wynne) produced on a British tour Wrote songs and sketches for the revue London Calling! Appeared in London Calling! Wrote The Vortex and Fallen Angels Directed and appeared in The Vortex. Wrote Hay Fever and Easy Virtue Hay Fever and Fallen Angels produced in London, Easy Virtue in USA Easy Virtue produced in London The Vortex and Easy Virtue filmed Completed operetta Bitter Sweet. Wrote Private Lives Appeared in Private Lives Wrote Design for Living Wrote Tonight at 8.30 Wrote Present Laughter and This Happy Breed Wrote and directed Blithe Spirit. Wrote screenplay for In Which We Serve Co-produced film of Blithe Spirit. Wrote screenplay for Brief Encounter (based on Still Life from Tonight at 8.30) Wrote Nude with Violin Novel Pomp and Circumstance published Directed High Spirits (musical of Blithe Spirit) in USA and Hay Fever in Britain Died on 26 March at his home in Jamaica Coward’s 281 songs include Mad Dogs and Englishmen Mad about the Boy Don’t put your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington The Stately Homes of England I Went to a Marvellous Party I’ll see you again