North London Actors

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North London Actors


Our first event this month was a Circle Reading of ‘Juno and the Paycock’ by Sean O’Casey. Member Milli Innila had this to say about the event. ‘I had only read one of Seán O’Casey’s plays, ‘The Plough and the Stars’, before but do remember having taken an instant liking to how O’Casey seemed to view the world, the society and the people in it yet find such humour even in the midst of misery – ‘Juno and the Paycock’ was no different experience. I often easily loose focus, but would have had no such problem with this play even if I’d just sat home reading it. The characters were believable and well layered, authentic human beings – the same can be said about the story.

The reading was also well lead: everyone got to participate and the parts were shifted in intervals that felt suitable. We had a good group of people attending – and they were not few but not too many either. I find these evenings a good way to keep sharpening my cold reading skills and often get to read plays I would otherwise not have even known of. A good Irish-flavoured evening it was with ‘Juno and the Paycock’!’

This month’s semi-staged rehearsed reading was a production of ‘The Bear in the Forest’ held on Wednesday 26th June. It was a piece of new writing written by member Monty Holender (, who had this to say ‘I wrote The Bear in the Forest a few years ago, and it received warm words from Thea Sharrock, but this was the first time it had been performed. So for me it was almost like seeing a new play. The 4 hour (yes that’s right, just 4 hours) rehearsal had gone well but on the morning of the show, Mary Drake playing one of the main roles had to pull out because of lariingytis. After a panicky morning we secured the services of Helen Cashin to step in. Mary had been great in rehearsal and Helen was astonishing in performance, especially in showing the skill that underlies our rehearsed readings, namely that of sight reading. Which incidentally is exactly the skill required in auditions. And here was a perfect example of it.
As for the performance, I was thrilled that I had left enough space in my writing for the actors and director to bring their input to the play which they absolutely did. There were some lovely performances. I had been interested having heard of a massacre that happened at a battle in the civil war and the idea of archaeologists uncovering the secrets of the past. For some reason, and I’m not sure writers ever know exactly what happens in the creative process, I started to think of massacres that happened during the second world war in Eastern Europe. Throw in the idea of a loving grandfather who turns out to have a dark side and the link between the present and the past in the lives and relationships of the archaeologist started to form.

I enjoyed writing it and it was a real pleasure to see it come to life under the skilled direction of Michael Murray and the talented cast. comprising Mike Duran, Joel Dyer, Emma Manley, Edmund Dehn and Marian Elizabeth. I even enjoyed the Q&A afterwards.’

The best way to see what we do is come along to one of our events. July’s events are: a Circle Reading of ‘The Stepmother’ by Githa Sowerby on Monday 8th July at 7.30pm and a performance of A Series of Chekhov shorts on Wednesday 24th July at 7.30pm. All events are held at The Oak and Pastor, 86 Junction Road, N19 5QZ (Nearest tube Archway. 10 minutes from Upper Holloway Overground. Bus 134 or 390, Pemberton Gardens bus stop. Parking in the area free after 6.30 pm.)


North London Actors


North London actors


The Circle reading for this month was ‘Loyalties’ by John Galsworthy, chosen and led by Monty Holender on Monday 4th February. Monty says ‘From 1906 through to the twenties, Galsworthy’s plays’ addressed the class system and social attitudes and specific grievances of the time . He creates vivid characters both male and female (giving actors great possibilities of interpretation), which though of their time, speak to us today. ‘Loyalties’, written in 1922, is one of the first plays to deal honestly and openly with the problems of antisemitism, in the context of the British class system. As always in Galsworthy’s plays there is a strong narrative and the play builds to a dramatic climax.’

Our February performance was ‘The Colleen Bawn’ by Dion Boucicault, directed by Gareth Pilkington. The Colleen Bawn (meaning the blonde girl), or The Brides of Garryowen is a melodramatic play written by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault. It was first performed on 27 March 1860. The play is set in rural County Kerry in the 1790s. Hardress Cregan and his mother have fallen on hard times. His mother tries to persuade Hardress to marry the wealthy Anne Chute. He agrees, although he is already secretly married to Eily O’Connor, a beautiful fair-haired girl who has many admirers including the roguish Myles na Coppaleen.

This production required Southern Irish accents, so many of our Irish actors were drafted in, along with those good at accents. Rehearsals took place on Sunday 17th February at a member’s flat in Finchley. As is often the case there is a lack of young male actors, so the castings were all scaled up so older actors could play these roles, giving people the chance to play characters that may be outside their casting bracket. The rehearsal started with a read through of the play so we were all aware of what happened in the plot, before getting stuck into the rehearsal. Since we have such a short rehearsal time (6 hours for the whole play) rehearsals are quite concise. Actors are given the freedom to interpret their characters and lines as they see fit, as long as they stand in the right place!

The performance was on Wednesday 20th February and we had a very good turnout, almost a full house! One of our actors had to be rushed to hospital the day before so another actor kindly stepped in at the last minute. The actors had a brief rehearsal before the show to rehearse him in and also a couple of actors who had very small roles and were not needed at the Sunday rehearsal. The production went well and was well received by the audience. Irish accents were still intact by the end of the show, and we all had fun even if we couldn’t agree on whether the play was a melodrama or a domestic drama!

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The best way to see what we do is come along to one of our events. February’s events are: Circle Reading of ‘Fight for Your Life’ by Gareth Pilkington on Monday 4th March and a performance of ‘The Fall & Redemption of Man’ by John Bowen on Wednesday 20th March. All events are held at The Oak and Pastor, 86 Junction Road, N19 5QZ(Nearest tube Archway. 10 minutes from Upper Holloway Overground. Bus 134 or 390, Pemberton Gardens bus stop. Parking in the area free after 6.30 pm.)