3rd to 6th October 2001
Some years ago, I saw a production of Skylight by David Hare at Salisbury Playhouse. It was a stunning production in all respects, beautifully acted and directed, but I was particularly struck by three things: firstly, by the exquisitely crafted dialogue for which Hare is understandably renowned; secondly, by the empathy with which he explores the female mind and character; and thirdly, by the breathtaking skill of Stella Gonet in delivering a wonderful performance whilst preparing and cooking an entire Spaghetti Bolognese which she and Bill Nighy then proceeded to eat! The memory of those wafting aromas is with me as I write!
And so, some 3 months ago, I found myself in the joyous but fearful position of directing this great play, Amy’s View, with the huge responsibility of doing justice both to my cast, and the master of his craft, David Hare.
I hope the play will strike as many chords with you as it has with me on this short, but significant, journey. Its themes are universal - grief and betrayal, family relations and conflict, love and loss - all thrown into sharp focus through the relationship between Esme, a successful actress, and Dominic, the up and coming cultural monolith with an agenda that threatens her traditional views on the theatre. Amy, Esme’s daughter whose view is that ‘love conquers all’, is the battleground over whom the conflict is played out over a decade and a half.
As in Skylight, the characters are not politicians or public figures, but ordinary people, with neighbours, lovers and family. The play is about grief and happiness, about the role of theatre, both as an art form and in modern life; it’s about having money and not wanting it, wanting money and not having it, and the tragedy of putting off reconciliation until it’s too late. It’s about the fundamental ‘alone-ness’ of the human spirit. That’s my view - but I leave the last word with the writer:
“My purpose in writing Amy’s View was to do something blindingly simple yet still distressingly rare: to put modern women’s lives on the stage in a way which I hope women might recognise.”
On the Music Belinda Drew wrote;
“For me, music is an integral part of any production, and for Amy’s View, my concept was clear and simple: English, 20th Century, piano. There was the added challenge of finding something to fulfil David Hare’s very specific stage direction in Act 4 for ‘the overwhelming sound of a string orchestra’. In Gerald Finzi’s ‘Eclogue’. I believe I found the perfect combination of all my desired elements. Originally written as the slow movement of an intended piano concerto, Finzi died before completion, and the 12 minute piece was posthumously published in its own right. I hope you will love it as much as we have come to, with its poignancy of themes and harmonies.”
|Dominic played by Steve Clark
Exploding onto the drama scene in 1963 with a memorable and definitive Second Sheep in his infant school production of The Nativity, Steve - a Masker for 15 years - was last seen at the Nuffield being upstaged by a very dead and faintly dripping rat. Drawn to the parts of cruelly-dealt heroes meeting with grisly fates (Misery’s Paul Sheldon, John Proctor in RAODS’ The Crucible, Grandier in The Devils), Steve has also appeared as Gary in Noises Off, Angel Clare in Tess, and Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard - all thrilling literally several Southampton theatregoers. Steve is delighted to be back on stage with Ros and Nicky, and says a big Thanks to Sue.
|Amy played by Nicky Housham
After studying drama at Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke (1994), Nicky has performed with a number of theatre companies. During 2000 she worked for Murder Mystery Southern Ltd., taking on a variety of characters at murder mystery days and dinner parties! Nicky received the Maskers ‘David Bartlett Award’ for Best Supporting Actor in l999 for her performance of Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard. She has twice been nominated for Best Comedy Actress at the Echo Curtain Call Awards, for performances of Juliette in Thieves Carnival (1999), and Lady Teazle in A School for Scandal (2000). Nicky spent time earlier this year travelling the east coast of Australia and plans to spend 8 months of 2003 on a voluntary development programme with secondary children in Tanzania. Nicky is looking forward to her third appearance at the Nuffield and the challenging role of Amy!
|Evelyn played by Mollie Manns
A Masker since 1970, Mollie has been involved in countless productions both as actor and director. Her most celebrated role for the Maskers was as Helene Hanf in 84 Charing Cross Road (also directed by Belinda Drew), and her most recent - Beline in The Hypochondriac at Mottisfont. Director’s credits include Wild Oats at Mottisfont and Cider with Rosie at the Nuffield Theatre. Mollie wishes it to be known that ageing up for Evelyn has been her most difficult role so far!
|Esme played by Ros Liddiard
Ros became a Masker 15 years ago, when she played The Mother in the one-act comedy Have You Met Our Rabbit? She found herself cast opposite the awesome and energetic talent of Alan Watson’s family pet rabbit, ‘The Colonel’. Ros feels lucky to have survived with both dignity and limbs intact.
Other Maskers productions include Rose (Rose), Noises Off (Dotty Otley), The Rover (Angellica Bianca). With Maskers she directed A Day in the Death of Joe Egg for Nuffield audiences. Other major roles include Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa and Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, both for A Motley Crew. Ros was delighted to join the Chorus of Greek Women in Patrick Sandfords’ The Bacchae. Her somewhat nomadic theatrical career has seen her playing The Witch of the North & Aunt Em in The Wizard of Oz in Brighton, The Nurse in Romeo & Juliet at Westminster Theatre, London, and she has just completed a nationwide tour of Having a Ball by Alan Bleasdale. TV credits include Peak Practice and Big Meg, Little Meg
|Frank played by Alan Watson
Having played a eunuch, a satyr, a bull and, at this year’s Maskers Production at Mottisfont, a gormless idiot, Alan is grateful to Belinda for offering him his greatest,acting challenge yet; a normal, middle-class Englishman.
|Toby played by Steve Tizzard
This is Steve’s first performance with The Maskers. He was on holiday when this was written, so is a bit of a mystery. We know he played Vincenzio in Taming of the Shrew at Exeter University but to find out more you’ll have to ask him in the bar after the show.
|Belinda is happy to be directing again for the Maskers - since her last show, 84 Charing Cross Road, she has devoted more time to acting and has had the opportunity to play some of the great women’s parts, notably Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac, Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing, Gwendoline in The Importance of Being Earnest and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all at Mottisfont Abbey. Nuffield appearances include Madame Ranyevskaya in The Cherry Orchard. Last year, she won the Southern Daily Echo Curtain Call Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her performance of Lysistrata|
|Production Manager||Christine Baker|
|Stage Manager||Angie Barks|
|Lighting Design||Clive Weeks, Tony Lawther|
|Lighting Operators||Nathan Weeks, Graham Dennis|
|Properties||Ella Lockett, Gill Buchanan, Irene Shiell|
|Furniture||Helen Officer, Angela Stansbridge|
|Set design||Peter Liddiard|
|Set construction||David Jupp assisted byJim Officer, Graham Buchanan, Ken Hann, Albie Minns and Jez Minns|
|Marketing and Publicity||Jan Ward, Angela Stansbridge, Lyn Austin|
|Poster design||Graham Hill|