Bar pro­duc­tion an Amer­i­can clas­sic

Midweek Visiter - - Life at The Little Theatre, Southport -

BELOVED Rodgers and Ham­mer­stein mu­si­cal Ok­la­homa! mo­seys onto the main stage of the Lit­tle The­atre this Satur­day cour­tesy of BOS Mu­si­cal The­atre Com­pany un­til June 2.

Then from June 5 we travel from the Amer­i­can Mid-West to the Cal­i­for­nian coast for the fi­nale of our in-house SDC sea­son, Bernard Slade’s bit­ter­sweet ro­man­tic com­edy Same Time Next Year, in the in­ti­mate set­tings of the Lit­tle The­atre bar.

The 1975 play, also a hit film star­ring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn, fol­lows two peo­ple who meet by chance in a ho­tel and spend a wonderful night to­gether.

They agree to meet again at the same time, the fol­low­ing year. This con­tin­ues over two decades. Di­rect­ing a bar pro­duc­tion is very dif­fer­ent to work­ing the main stage.

Tak­ing on this chal­lenge is first-time di­rec­tor Lynne Hawksworth.

Lynne’s love af­fair with the­atre was first ig­nited as a nine-year-old when she was a danc­ing po­lar bear in a school pro­duc­tion of The Snow Queen.

Fast for­ward to Au­gust 2010 and she took early re­tire­ment from teach­ing English.

SDC mem­ber San­dra Unsworth per­suaded her to join the club and she quickly es­tab­lished her­self as a reg­u­lar prompt.

The process of fol­low­ing a play from first re­hearsal to fi­nal per­for­mance soon had her gripped, ob­serv­ing an ar­ray of di­rec­tors with var­ied styles.

Be­ing as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for two plays gave her the con­fi­dence to say “yes” to the Play Se­lec­tion and Cast­ing Com­mit­tee when they ap­proached her about lead­ing her own pro­duc­tion.

Lynne is de­lighted to have been blessed with two very tal­ented and ex­pe­ri­enced ac­tors in Les Gom­er­sall and Trudi Hirsch for her di­rec­to­rial de­but.

She be­gan with def­i­nite ideas of when each char­ac­ter would move and how they would say lines, but as re­hearsals have pro­gressed this has evolved col­lab­o­ra­tively, al­low­ing the char­ac­ters of Doris and Ge­orge to go with the flow.

Her big­gest chal­lenge has been the shift from study­ing the script to sur­vey­ing her ac­tors through new di­rec­tor’s eyes.

She feels lucky to have the ex­pe­ri­enced Jenny Parker sup­port­ing the process and prompt­ing the di­a­logue.

She is now work­ing with the club’s stag­ing teams to fi­nalise the sound, light­ing, set, props and also the cos­tumes to en­sure they both con­vey the pass­ing of 25 years and are also kind to the ac­tors for quick changes.

She says “I hope that my vi­sion of Bernard Slade’s clev­erly writ­ten script does it jus­tice, and that the au­di­ences en­joy it as much as I have en­joyed di­rect­ing it.

“Many thanks to the club for al­low­ing me to tick off an­other item on my bucket list!”

Ok­la­homa! runs from May 26 to June 2 (with a BSL in­ter­preted per­for­mance on May 28) and Same Time Next Year from June 5-9.

For tick­ets, pro­duc­tions and show times, ring our box of­fice on 01704 530521 / 530460, check out lit­tlethe­atre­south­port.co.uk or fol­low us on Face­book /South­portLit­tleTheatre.

Lynne Hawksworth has taken the reins to di­rect her first show – the bar pro­duc­tion of Bernard Slade’s Same Time Next Year

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