At Myddfai Hall September 23rd
Swansea Lighthouse Theatre Company presents
Noel Coward’s Brief Encounters a double bill of one-act plays
Mild Oats and Still Life
Mild Oats was written in the early twenties as a vehicle for Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence.
It is a surprising one-act play, unmistakably Coward but delightfully comic, telling the story of a couple who have come back to a flat late at night for one thing, and find something very different happening. Something very surprising indeed. Risque for the time, it marked Coward out as a great talent, and is hardly ever performed these days.
It tells the story of Alec and Laura – a pleasant, upstanding middle-aged couple both happily married, and their doomed love affair.
The couple meet by chance in a railway station tea room They then meet a week later, and by arrangement every week subsequently until the end of the play.
Their fraught, tender, sometimes amusing encounters are set against the straightforward goings on of another courting couple – Myrtle and Albert, two railway employees. Albert’s tomfoolery alongside Myrtle’s airs and graces and their obvious devotion to each provide a lot of the humour of the piece as well as a more nuanced look at the social standards and restrictions of the time.
Alec and Laura meet in the cafe every Thursday. They talk of their hopes and fears, desires and disappointments. The audience learn of the dramas and sadness of their domestic lives and their furtive off-stage meetings. Finally they meet for a final time. Unable to consider the shame and guilt of abandoning their families passion they decide to part. Just as they about to say farewell for the last time they are disturbed by Dolly Messiter – an inveterate gossip and interfering acquaintance of Laura. Alec must leave with nothing but a fleeting touch on the shoulder, and Laura must return to her life as before with Dolly’s insistent chattering going on around her.
The play is performed by three actors each playing multiple roles and is underscored by the magnificent Rachmaninov concerto made famous by the black and white film
‘simply lovely stuff’, The South Wales Evening Post
‘oozing professionalism’, Theatre Wales website
Brief Encounters is a self-contained piece that last about 100 minutes with a fifteen minute interval. Touring from September 15th to October 3rd 2015.
The get-in takes about an hour, and the get-out about 30 minutes, and as such is perfect for village halls, studios and community centres all over Wales.
Lighthouse will provide you with publicity material and flyers.
Lighthouse Theatre is a small-scale touring theatre company, dedicated to producing character-driven interpretations of classic texts, screenplays and new writing for audiences not commonly associated with mainstream theatre, as well as for a more traditional theatre-going public.
We tour to village halls, community centres, and theatres, offering theatre skills’ workshops from the text being performed as an adjunct to our touring productions. We have done works by Coward, Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare, and others, developing a reputation for excellence in the locality and beyond.
We produce interactive theatre workshops for all educational Key Stages and have formed a partnership with Swansea’s Arts and Education Office in order to develop new school-specific touring projects touring. Last year, we performed On Scarborough Front in secondary schools in Swansea. This piece, about Wilfred Owen, was part of the WW1 commemorations and was supported by Tŷ Cerdd music service. In 2013, we performed A Child’s Christmas in Wales in schools, accompanied by a drama workshop. We researched, wrote and performed a promenade production based on the artist Josef Herman and his time in Ystradgynlais entitled Joe Bach, as part of the Josef Herman Foundation Schools Award. One participant said ‘It is a testament to their skill that meeting Joe Bach on the streets captivated both young and old participants alike’. This project has now been made into a short film for the Josef Herman Foundation.
Operating predominantly in Wales, but touring widely, we have taken shows as far afield as the rural communities of North Yorkshire. In 2011, our three-person adaptation of Noel Coward’s Still Life toured to Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Welsh Patagonia. We received a Wales Arts International grant to return in 2013 with an adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, adding Chile to the tour schedule. Our tour included delivering bilingual schools workshops, adult drama workshops, a noson lawen with a trilingual Under Milk Wood and harp masterclasses. We have maintained links with the Welsh speaking communities of Patagonia visiting towns across the region, and intend to keep a cultural relationship with our hosts there.
In 2014, we were heavily involved in the DT100 programme of events. We developed a promenade performance of Return Journey, taking the same route as the author on his return to his blitzed home-town. This performance tour played to near capacity audiences and attracted considerable critical acclaim. We also collaborated on a series of special performances, broadcasts and television programmes for the BBC, Visit Wales, DT100 and the National Trust during the centenary year – we were featured in the BBC Wales Arts Review of the Year.
Last Christmas, we worked collaboratively with the Pontardawe Arts Centre to adapt Charles Dickens’, The Chimes, touring fourteen small-scale venues – this was a great success.
We continue to attract an audience with a wide age range and field of interest nationally, but we remain firmly rooted in our home base, offering quality theatre in arts spaces as well as spoken word in local pubs and community centres.