Saturday, July 4, 2015

5 August - When We Are Married by J B Priestley

We had a marvellous turn out for such a hot day - 11 of us were grateful for any breeze we could catch with the windows and doors open!

We were delighted to welcome Christine for a taster of the play reading group, but very sad that this was Ryoko's last meeting with us before her return to Japan at the end of the month: Ryoko you have been a lovely member of the group and we are really going to miss you.  We wish you had found us earlier and been able to be to more meetings.  We all wish you much happiness in being reunited with your family.

And so to the plays.  Well, after Bennett's somewhat saucy romp, very much set in the English Farce style and looking at not just bodies by human foibles and obsessions - and also perhaps very much a play of the 60s/70s - we are next going to step back in time to the more restrained Victorian Era.

In J. B. Priestley's 1938 hit play, a group of three couples, old friends and all married on the same day in the same chapel, gathers at the Helliwells’ home to celebrate their silver anniversary somewhere in the north of England.

When they discover that they are not legally married, each couple initially reacts with proper Victorian horror – what will the neighbours think? – and all three couples find themselves re-evaluating their marriages.

Hovering closely over the proceedings is the Yorkshire Argus' alcohol-soaked photographer, keen to record the evening's events for posterity, and a wickedly destructive housekeeper who is hoping to use the couples' mortification to her own advantage.

When we are Married was turned into a film in 1943.

A still from the 1943 film
In an interesting connection with July's play: in a 1994 radio adaptation of When we are Married Alan Bennett played one of the husbands!
This is a popular 'traditional' play, which I hope you will all enjoy.

The three couples in the original cast: clockwise from top left, Raymond Huntley, Lloyd Pearson, Ernest Butcher; Ethel Coleridge, Muriel George, Helena Pickard

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