Holly Haynes took the plunge and directed her first play with LEP - a one act suffragette piece that formed part of our new directors showcase evening. The cast and audiences did well as it was performed on the hottest day of the year (or perhaps on record)! How the Vote Was Won depicts a general strike called by women. Every woman leaves her work and goes to live with her nearest male relative until the state grant votes for women. In the play a besieged clerk, Horace Cole, arrives home one evening to find that the maid has left. While he and his wife struggle with dinner, his sister-in-law, a niece, a cousin, an aunt and a very distant relative all arrive, announcing their intention to stay until men change their opinion that a woman’s place is in the home. Badgered and cajoled by the women's arguments, Horace soon finds himself enlisted in the "Votes for Women" cause - anything to ensure peace and quiet at home! The rehearsal time was short - only 6 weeks! And there was a real life dog....
Cast & Crew Horace Cole (a clerk) – Leeroy King Ethel Cole (his wife) – Lucy Amos Winefred (her sister) – Kate Tysoe Agatha Cole (Horace’s Sister) – Ruth Perkins Molly (his Niece) – Jody Cook Madame Christine ( his distant relative ) – Libby Beck Maudie Spark ( his first cousin) – Vicki Foley Miss Lizzie Wilkins ( his aunt) – Alison Hartnett Lily (his maid-of-all-work) – Libby Wiles Gerald Williams (his neighbour) – Peter Rose Ponto the Dog – Bailey King
Directed & Produced By - Holly Haynes Stage Manager- Darren Haynes Continuity Assistant – Margo Connor, Georgie Brooks Costumes- Eve Berry , Tish Marshall , Libby Beck Props- Ceri Nicholson , Kath Gill Set Building and Painting– David Hartnett, Libby Beck, Darren Haynes, Holly Haynes Sound and Lighting – Tom Simms, Peter Simms, Peter Humfryes Programme – Ritchard Tysoe Hair and Make Up – Sophie Koziol, Holly Haynes, Eve Berry & Cast
LANE END PLAYERS HOW THE VOTE WAS WON By Cicely Hamilton and Christopher St John Lane End Village Hall 25th July 2019 This was a well chosen, and very well cast production and I was delighted to be invited to adjudicate on a hot evening with a most appreciative audience – nothing worse than playing to a half empty house. Congratulations to Holly Haynes and the whole cast – although it must be said the undoubted star of the show was Bailey the dog who managed to look both interested and as if he was listening to the conversation going on around him! THE SET Using only furniture and props to set the scene in a cluttered Edwardian sitting room worked well as did the use of the fourth wall DSR for a window. The advantage here was that it enabled us to see the expressions on the faces of those peering out of the window. I quite understood that for a one night, low budget show like this a box set would have been overkill but I did think that a combination of HOW THE VOTE WAS WON with one or more of the other short plays in the book SUFFRAGE PLAYS could be made into a full show with a box set where hangings, furniture etc can be moved as appropriate. The fireplace was exactly right, so were the newspapers – indeed all the props worked well as they should do. Always remember that everything on stage should be there for a purpose, either to forward the action or to set the story in both context and time – there was nothing extraneous but I felt that there should have been more photographs on the mantlepiece and more cheap ornaments in the side cupboard. COSTUMES All were well chosen and reflected the period well. All were well matched to the various characters and their ages – you achieved a good contrast between them from the youth of Molly and the elegance of Madame Christine to the brashness of Maudie. Winefred’s practicality and enthusiasm were emphasised by her costume in suitable suffrage colours too. SOUND/LIGHTS All good with some nice touches on sound like the cab and car coming and going; the sash window being opened and shut - with the increase in street sounds and newsboys’ cries. The bird was nice, but the sound came from behind the audience not from the birdcage at the back of the stage. HAIR AND MAKE UP Also in period and on the whole well suited to the characters with the exception of Molly’s lipstick which was too red for the period and for her age. Bright cheeks OK as she is obviously an outdoor type – witness the golf clubs – but lipstick was considered ‘fast’ – OK for Maudie but not for you.
DIRECTION Holly, you did an excellent job and you had chosen a very good cast to work with. It is always important that a director does some research, especially when a period play is concerned – even if the actual events depicted in this comedy did not take place, the fight for women’s suffrage is certainly well documented and true. I liked your choice of opening music. I felt that you had a good understanding of time and place, well done. PACE AND POSITIONING This is always vital and you all kept it up – despite the heat, which must have been augmented by the stage lights, you never flagged. Once all the family members had descended on the hapless Horace you kept it up, all looking interested and never once blocking each other in the small space you had. Quite often pace can be slow to start and even droop in the middle of a play but Holly had kept you all on your toes so we, the audience, felt involved from the start. OPENING SCENE It is important to drag your audience – even kicking and screaming - into the story from the first line to get them involved in the story line which, you must always assume, is completely new to them. Ethel and Winefred got our attention from the start, well done both of you. You grabbed us and kept us hooked! CAST Good use of space from you all. You all looked, and behaved like relatives, the right age for the assorted relationships. A very good contrast shown between the militant WINEFRED and her quieter sister ETHEL. You both also acted just like sisters and exhibited similar good clipped accents – just right. WINEFRED - displayed such vivacity and enthusiasm for Suffrage that I felt like marching with her. Good, well in character, facial expressions. ETHEL – you had a much bigger part as this character was on stage virtually all the time. Your crying fit was hilarious. You had to find a much greater range of expressions, such as horror at the arrival of relatives, particularly your sister in law and aunt in law, which told the audience much more than words can do. You changed from a timid, worried newish wife to a realisation that there was a great sisterhood out there, and you were part of it. LILY - you looked great and developed some lovely cheeky expressions – you did well as the workhouse waif who was gaining confidence. However, watch that you don’t speak too fast and also work on your projection – a few words got lost – try some deep breathing exercises before you go on stage – it does work quite well and helps you to produce volume. AGATHA- lovely performance, always in character. As the first ‘relli’ to arrive you had to maintain interest as the others, some new to you, turned up. Good body language and facial expressions. MOLLY – good portrait of a bouncy, enthusiastic young lady, but watch the period make up. MADAME CHRISTINE – well judged performance, elegant costume befitting the owner of an up-market dress shop – with a lovely posture to match. MAUDIE – great contrast here to the others. Blowsy and very common and with very different accent, posture and expressions. Well played. AUNT LIZZIE – another fine performance from Alison as everyone’s (very Victorian) maiden aunt who speaks her mind and has a tendency to boss others around. I would have liked a little more aging make up perhaps? GERALD – just what was needed. Your first speech was a tad lacking in projection, possibly because you were speaking across, or slightly up, stage; however your excited entrance at the end added a most important extra dimension – and we heard every word too Finally, HORACE. Marvellous performance – how to metamorphose a pompous stuffed shirt into a terrified man totally out of his depth when surrounded by more than two women. You final diatribe, marching around your overcrowded living room, was masterly. An enjoyable evening, again, well done to you all – and, Holly, I look forward to seeing a full show directed by you Good luck with LADIES DAY!
Judith Watsham NODA LONDON DISTRICT 11 AND 11A REPRESENTATIVE