California Suite by Neil Simon is our May 2017 production. This hit American comedy set in the 1970s is actually made up of 4 smaller plays that all take place in the same hotel suite – Room 203. Without giving too much away, here’s a brief synopsis of the individual mini-plays. Although each is slightly different in style, in all of them Neil Simon shows his adept skills with razor-sharp dialogue and the personal “dilemmas” of the room’s various occupants.
VISITOR FROM NEW YORK. In the opening play, Hannah Warren has arrived from the Big Apple for a meeting with her ex-husband, William (Billy). The couple were divorced 9 years ago and have met to discuss the problems that they are having with their 17 year old daughter, Jenny. What follows is a verbal fencing match that crackles with sarcasm, barbed wit and genuine tenderness.
VISITORS FROM PHILADELPHIA. With vague memories of the night before, Marvin Michaels wakes to find a girl next to him in bed. He has overslept, he didn’t leave a wake-up call and his wife is about to arrive any minute! Classic comedy of a man in a very ‘tight place’.
VISITORS FROM LONDON. Famous film actress, Diana Nichols, and her husband Sidney, have travelled to Hollywood to attend the Oscars ceremony. Diana has been nominated for the Best Actress award and obviously hopes to win. The script beautifully deals with both tensions and tenderness within the couple’s marriage. Maggie Smith played the role of Diana in the 1978 film of ‘California Suite’ and, ironically, won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.
VISITORS FROM CHICAGO. To round off the evening, 2 couples, the Hollenders and the Franklins, have come away on vacation together. They have just played a tennis doubles match which got just a little too competitive. Sharing a vacation with friends is not always a good idea as this mixture of disasters, farce and slapstick proves.
Having just 2-4 cast members to each playlet has allowed us to neatly ‘split’ rehearsal time. One week New York and Philadelphia would be rehearsed in the Brammer Room whilst London and Chicago could be rehearsed at member’s houses. This would be swapped over during the next week and so on. Masterminding this whole process is the Director, Dennis Baggarley. Dennis joined RTG in 2014 and has appeared in several of our recent productions. This is Dennis’s first spell in the Director’s chair for RTG and we hope to see many more future productions under his care. In previous years Dennis was an active member of the Capital Players in Gaborone, Botswana – directing and acting. He appeared in their production of ‘California Suite’ in the role of William Warren.
Book into the California Suite on 18th,19th or 20th May at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 0774 2057153