Our season closes with To Kill a Mockingbird, a dramatization of Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honour and injustice in the Deep South and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred. One of the best-loved novels of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture.
It’s 1935, and racial tensions are high in Maycomb, Alabama. Nonetheless, young Jean Louise Finch – or Scout, as she is fondly called – manages to live a rather carefree, priviliged existence, insulated from issues of race. All that changes when Scout watches her father, Atticus Finch, defend an innocent man, Tom Robinson, against a potential death sentence, which looms threateningly against him because of racial prejudice. Scout learns that “growing up” often means doing what is right, even when it comes at great cost. To Kill A Mockingbird is now considered an American masterpiece.
A moving, comical and eye-opening story of four young women fighting for education and self-determination against the larger backdrop of women’s suffrage. Cambridge 1896, and Girton College, home to the country’s first female students, is an object of annoyance and derision to the rest of the university. The year’s intake of new women face economic difficult, the distractions of men, radical politics, and the jaw-dropping prejudice that blights every aspect of academy life. Meanwhile, there looms the prospect of a controversial vote to decide: should these ‘blue stockings’ be allowed to graduate? While skilfully invoking its Victorian setting, the play’s themes of gender equality and the power of education are just as important today.
“Cracking… leaves you astonished at the prejudices these educational pioneers had to overcome.” ~ Michael Billington, Guardian
“Touching and entertaining… Swale tells the story with both wit and a hint of righteous indignation.” ~ Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph
The third play of the season is Emlyn Williams’ Someone Waiting, first seen in London and on Broadway in 1955. Martin’s best friend Paul has been wrongfully hanged for murdering a woman in his adoptive father’s flat. When Martin fails his law exam, Fenn, a private tutor, arrives and soon confides to Martin that he is Paul’s father who has come to administer justice himself to whoever it was who really did the killing. Before this evening is over, you will find that you have been misled several times. Playwright, novelist and actor Emlyn Williams understood theatre intimately and knew what worked for audiences. When he died in 1987, he had written or co-written 20 screenplays in addition to his 20 plays. Someone Waiting will keep you on the edge of your seat as the plot twists and twists again.
“… a drama of murder and revenge which stretches suspense from the first moment of the first act to the final line… If you can guess beforehand what will happen at play’s end you are smarter than I am… As an addict of the psychological thriller, I had a fine time.” ~ New York News
Based on the 1947 Oscar-winning film, this heartwarming classic story of Kris Kringle, an old man from a retirement home who gets a job working as Santa Claus for Macy’s, the famous New York department store. Kris unleashes good will to the Macy’s customers by referring them to other department stores, where they can find exactly the toy their child wants for Christmas. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s, a plot ensues to have Kris sent to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, that results in a court hearing. At stake is one little girl’s belief in Santa Claus. In a dramatic decision, the court confirms Kris as the true Santa, allowing countless children to experience the joy of childhood fantasy.
“This is a tale that we want to believe in… that creates a world we seem to desperately desire.” ~ Santa Cruz Sentinel
The first play of our 42nd season is the hysterically funny Exit Laughing by Paul Elliott. When the highlight of your life for the past 30 years has been a weekly bridge night out with the girls, what do you do when one of your foursome inconveniently dies? You “borrow” the ashes from the funeral home for one last card game and the wildest, most exciting night of your life.If you like your jokes bold and laugh-out-loud funny, Exit Laughing will be exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll certainly “exit laughing.”
“…uproarious comedy with a message… peels of laughter and a few tears of joy.” ~ Suburban Times, Washington
“This is the funniest play I’ve seen for ages! …witty dialogue, full of innuendos, had the audience rolling in the aisles.” ~ Stage Whispers