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Rope

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.

October 7, 8, 9 & 10, 2015.


Rope

by Patrick Hamilton

 

2551510_rope_playbill

Directed by
Guy Steddon

Cast

Matthew Arnold – Kenneth Raglan

Dan Dryer – Rupert Cadell

Derek Fraser – Sir Johnstone Kentley

Sarah Frost – Leila Arden

Natalie Notley – Mrs Debenham

Simon Robinson – Charles Granillo

Guy Steddon – Wyndham Brandon

Peter Thompson – Sabot

 

Production Crew

Directorial Assistants – Dan Dryer

Directorial Assistants – John Garland

Stage Manager – Julian Batstone

Lighting Design – Martin Oakley

Sound Design – Bob Ryder

Technical Operation – Martin Oakley

Technical Operation – Kieran Pollard

Wardrobe – Maggi Pierce

Wardrobe – Cherry Fraser

Properties – Anita Shipton

Properties – Di Tidzer

Set Construction & Painting – Nigel Goldfinch

Set Construction & Painting – Carl Gray

Set Construction & Painting – Dave Comber

Set Construction & Painting – Dave Collis

Set Construction & Painting – Sue Chaplin

Set Construction & Painting – Sheila Neesham

Set Construction & Painting – Margaret Davy

Set Construction & Painting – Gary Walker

Poster & Programme Design – Judith Berrill

Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy

Publicity – Maggi Pierce

Publicity – Peter Joyce

Publicity – Judith Berrill

Foyer Photography – Ray Hopper

Front of House – Betty Dawes

 

Programme Note #1: Rope

GS wrote: ” Welcome to tonight’s performance of Patrick Hamilton’s seminal thriller Rope.

Patrick Hamilton was better established as a novelist than a playwright, in fact he only wrote four plays overall, a shame given that two of them – Rope and Gaslight – are rightly regarded as classics. Hamilton’s success is attributable to the fact that he would get a good idea and then develop it simply and naturally.

The idea of Rope first came to Hamilton when the details of the notorious Leopold and Loeb murder in America came to light. Rope uses this as more than mere inspiration but actively explores the central idea of the fiercely intelligent men killing another person for supposedly intellectual reasons rather than any real motive.

The central conceit of Rope is so simple and brilliant that it is still ‘borrowed’ liberally. There has been a murder and the body has been put into a chest, the audience has been informed of this in the opening moments of the play and given the killers’ identities. They play then unfolds in real-time as we progress through a macabre social gathering, not knowing if and when the chest’s contents will be discovered. Things may well get very tense!

It’s a very modern style of theatrical storytelling which makes its age even more startling – the play was first performed in 1929 – and it’s a shame the play is less lauded today than the film version made by Alfred Hitchcock nearly 20 years later. This play is a simple one but, as such, it represents theatre at its purest.

When I originally began working on staging this play, the last thing I was thinking of was being a member of the cast. I was more that happy taking the director’s chair and was genuinely apprehensive of having to take on a rôle in the play as well as direct. When it became clear that this was the only course of action available that would see the play staged, it was apparent that I’d need a lot of support to be able to move forward. I am delighted to have been given the support by John Garland and Dan Dryer who have been extra ideas, eyes and ears – they have made this a lot less stressful for me! I must also thank the cast and the crew who have been obliging and helpful at every turn and very understanding if I seemed distracted! My sincere gratitude to all who have worked on the play and given their time and help.

Now, it’s time to sit back and get ready to get uncomfortable ”

 


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