The English Theatre Company is proud to present

The Long Christmas Dinner

The long Christmas dinner by Thornton Wilder was written in 1931. It covers a period of nine decades and showcases several generations of the Bayard family at their Christmas dinner table. Thornton Wilder breaks the boundaries of time, as we measure it, inviting us to partake in one long, familiar Christmas dinner, past, present and future. As generations appear, have children, wither and depart, only the audience appreciates what changes and what remains the same. ‘Every last twig is wrapped around with ice. You almost never see see that,’ Genevieve marvels, not realising that her mother has made this observation years earlier, nor that her daughter-in-law will one day do the same. This play is a gently paced reflection on the idea that every present moment comes from the past.

Thornton Wilder wrote of this play:
Of all my plays this is the one that has found the widest varieties of receptions. At some performances it has been played to constant laughter; some audiences are deeply moved and shaken by it; some find it cruel and cynical – ‘What? The dead are forgotten so soon?’

Plaza Suite

Plaza suite is a comedy written by Neil Simon and was first performed on Broadway in 1968. As a whole it consists of three short plays in which the action takes place in room 719 of the Plaza Hotel. The English theatre Company is proud to present the third of these plays.

Norma and Roy Hubley are ready to celebrate their only daughter’s wedding day. But there is a major problem. In a rush of nervousness the panicked bride has locked herself in the suite’s bathroom and is refusing to leave her porcelain sanctuary. Her frantic parents are fighting about the best way to lure their daughter out, increasingly aware that the bridegroom and gathered guests are awaiting her arrival downstairs. As the pressure mounts they unwittingly lay bare the reality of their own marriage.

This play has been described as a ‘slapstick love letter to marriage written with a poison pen.’ It certainly lives up to that description!

 


‘Allo ‘Allo

by Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft

The English Theatre Company will be staging a revival of the hilarious comedy
based on the long-running British television series ‘Allo,’Allo.

Meet René Artois who runs a small café in France during World War II.
He has his hands full having affairs with Mimi and Yvette, trying to keep his wife happy, trying to please the German soldiers who frequent his café, and running an underground operation for the Resistance.

Among all the dropped trousers and compromising positions are all the favourite catchphrases that will invariably be said more than once. In this irreverent comedy no entendre is left undoubled and fun is poked at the British, French,
Germans and Italians in equal measure.

The play was performed in Boudrac, Ste-Dode and Marciac. Saturdays 13th, 20th and 27th May 2023

 

Calendar Girls

by Tim Firth

When Annie‘s husband John dies of leukaemia, she and her long-standing best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. With varying levels of encouragement, they persuade four friends and fellow members of the Women’s Institute to pose nude with them for an “alternative” calendar.

They are assisted by hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence, who looked after John in his final days. This is much to the horror of the their local W.I. chairman, Marie. The success of the calendar goes beyond their wildest dreams and they have soon raised the money needed and much more. Their efforts also catch the attention of the national and international press, who soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales.

Although the calendar is a huge success, Chris and Annie‘s friendship is put to the test with their new-found fame and Chris
is forced to question her real motivation behind doing the calendar. Tim Firth’s hilarious play is an adaptation of the smash-hit Miramax film by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth which was based on the
true story of eleven W.I. members who famously posed nude
for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund
in 1999.

The English Theatre Company not only chose to stage this challenging play, but also to follow in the footsteps of the original inspirational W.I. members by producing their own calendar to raise money for charity. Our large and practical 2023 wall calendar appears in the play and has a page for each month with a date pad for appointments and notes. The calendar features all the female cast members in various discreetly posed nude photographs. It is available for sale exclusively at each of the three performances and the profits will go to Cancer Support France.

 

Ben’s War

Ben’s War was the English Theatre Company’s tribute in words and music to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War. It was the personal story of Ben and Nellie’s wartime experiences.
​Our poignant portrayal of the heartache and humour of the Great War combined narrative with poems and popular wartime songs. It was performed on November 9th at Sainte-Dode and November 10th at Caillavet. Both venues sold out and post-production reviews on Facebook and by direct email were laudatory, encouraging and humbling.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (or ‘R&G’ as it was affectionately known by the cast) was the English Theatre Company’s main production for 2018. Tom Stoppard’s timeless comedy is a fabulously inventive tale about two bewildered characters who are childhood friends of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The play focuses on their misadventures as they drift in and out of Shakespeare’s play. They are a blend of Laurel and Hardy and Morecambe and Wise who sometimes forget who they are. Rosencrantz (played by Maggie Crane) is amiable, simple-minded and takes things at face value. Guildenstern (played by Phil Faiers) is a thinker, a brainy clever-clogs who worries about consequences. Together they get up to all kinds of antics without ever really knowing what’s going on around them. Along with David Allcock as the Player, the two eponymous characters put on a performance that was much acclaimed by those familiar with this classic comedy.

Under Milk Wood

by Dylan Thomas

Under Milk Wood is Dylan Thomas’s funny ‘play for voices’ about a day in the life of a quirky Welsh village. It is a beautifully written poetic ballad that pokes fun at a range of village characters such as the Reverend Eli Jenkins,
twice-widowed Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard, blind Captain Cat, drunkard Cherry Owen, nosey postman Willy Nilly and the allegorically named Polly Garter, Lily Smalls and Nogood Boyo. Together their dialogue sparkles to paint a raucous vision of the bawdy, lovelorn, disgruntled, affectionate and tragedy-tinged lives of those who live in the fictional village of Llareggub.
The English Theatre Company’s production was presented at three venues on and around St. David’s day at Sainte-Dode, Cazaux-Villecomtal and St. Arailles.

There is talk of presenting a reprise during the summer at an outddor venue in the north of the Gers — watch this space!

 

The Far Side of the Moore

by Sean Grundy
&

Yes Minister, the Right to Know

by Jonathan Lynn and Anthony Jay

Two radio plays were presented at the the Foyer Rural in Cazaux-Villecomtal, l’Auberge in Montesquiou and at La Ferme de Flaran in November 2017
​Our two radio plays were performed either side of a meal in the above venues.
You can see pictures on the gallery pages and read about the performances by trawling through the blog posts.

 

Summer Revue

a blend of Musical Theatre, old-time Music Hall
and classic comedy sketches
​with supper was presented at
Sauveterre on 2nd July 2017
and at Château Herrebouc
St-Jean-Poutge on 17th August 2017

Absurd Person Singular

by Alan Ayckbourn
was presented at
La Salle de la Comédie, Lectoure on 6th and 7th May 2017
and at Les Sept Chandelles, Maubourguet on 27th & 28th May 2017

Ayckbourn’s funniest play won the Best Comedy award when staged in the West End of London in the 1970s. It was an interesting play to direct 40 years later
as it wove the rise and fall of three couples over three years with a mix of pathos, sadness, outrageous behaviour and non-PC attitudes.
Some parts of the script had to be adapted for today’s audiences as they were deemed unacceptably provocative.
With its blend of visual, almost slapstick humour and the darker undercurrent of misogynostic cruelty it gave many a belly laugh and a few gasps of horror.
We received some very kind plaudits post-production and our in-house photographer Jon Wainwright
​took some marvellous photographs that can be seen on the Gallery page.

 

A King’s Speech

by Mark Burgess
&

Dad’s Army

by Jimmy Perry and David Croft

Two radio plays were presented at the Hotel de France in Maubourguet, l’Auberge in Montesquiou and at the Hotel Continental in Condom in April and May 2017
​Our two radio plays were performed either side of a meal in the above venues.
You can see pictures on the gallery pages and read about the performances by trawling through the blog posts.

 

Henceforward

by Alan Ayckbourn
was presented at
La Salle de la Comédie, Lectoure
on 4th and 5th September 2016
and at Les Sept Chandelles, Maubourguet
​on 26th & 27th November 2016

Henceforward was set sometime quite soon. Closeted in a fortified, steel-shuttered, slovenly flat in a no-go area of north London, where violent thugs rule the deserted streets, lonely composer Jerome sits surrounded by high-tech audio-visual equipment with only a robot nanny, NAN300F, for company – and she is seriously on the
blink. When he hatches a plan to get his life back and recapture his vanished muse he will unwittingly open his fortress to the forces of emotional chaos …
​This technically challenging play is rarely staged by amateur groups, but played to packed houses at both venues.

 

Night School

by Harold Pinter
was presented at Caillavet
on 5th and 6th December 2015


Like several of Pinter’s early one act plays, Night School was originally written for television. It was later adapted for radio, a medium ideally suited to his characteristically rhythmic and cadenced dialogue. Rarely performed in the theatre, it can be seen as a precursor of more ambitious works, foreshadowing elements of The Lover and his masterpiece,The Homecoming.
This darkly comedic piece explores the recurring themes in Pinter’s work – the fundamental human instinct to fight for and defend territory, the lies people tell to hide their true nature and the refuge they take in fantasy, thereby denying themselves genuine human contact.