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Absent Friends

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre

September 23, 24, 25, 26 & 27 1980

Absent Friends

by Alan Ayckbourn

Directed by
George Porter

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“Fast-moving performance”

– Shoreham Herald –


Ralph Dawes – Paul

Margaret Ockenden – Diana

Peter Joyce – John

Miranda Bowen – Evelyn

Neil Shepherd – Colin

Joan Bearman – Marge

Production Crew

Stage ManagerRonald Cheesman

AssistantMargaret Davy

AssistantJill Redman

AssistantDaphne Thornton

AssistantSusan Whittaker

LightingAndrew Theaker

LightingFrank Hurrell

Set ConstructionAlan Upton

Front of HouseFrances Moulton

Box OfficeBetty Dawes

Programme DesignAntony Muzzall

Programme Note #1: Absent Friends

GP wrote; “What can be said about Alan Ayckbourn that has not been said already? He is the playwright of today. Time and time again he comes up with another winner. His feel for dialogue, situation and behaviour in everyday life makes his plays extraordinary. They are funny in the way that people’s idiosyncrasies are funny, when you step aside and see them in a detached way – they ring true.

I have directed three Ayckbourn plays over the past five years – Relatively Speaking, How The Other Half Loves and now Absent Friends. Now, as before, I’ve had a very talented and happy cast. The rehearsals have been fun.

Absent Friends has some of Ayckbourn’s best dialogue and behind the laughter he is making the odd more serious reflection on the way we live today.

My special thanks for loyal support through rehearsals and the holiday interruptions to Daphne Thornton and Ronald Cheesman.”

Programme Note #2: Absent Friends

We welcome back to the Barn, Neil Shephard. Neil last appeared five years ago as Iago in Othello. This is his first piece of drama since then.

Ralph Dawes, one of our founder members, broke from Open University studies for the memorable revival, Sailor Beware last year. Absent Friends is a welcome return, now his studies are over.

Margaret Ockenden is no newcomer to you, appearing in recent seasons, in George Porter’s productions Relatively Speaking and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Peter Joyce steps out again after the Summer break, as does Joan Bearman – both were in the last production, She Stoops to Conquer.

Miranda Bowen has a very quiet rôle as Evelyn, far removed from her last part as the vicar’s daughter in Arsenic and Old Lace.