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 (http://www.actorsandwriters.org/monty.holender/index.php), 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.)