Our next production, THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by Frank D. Gilroy, opens on 22 February. We hope you will enjoy this modern classic which was the winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1965. Since then the play has been revived many times, most recently in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Coincidentally, a revival of the play opens the same date as our production in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum, where the well known actor Martin Sheen, who played the son in the original Broadway production, is now playing the father.
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES will run for only eight weeks. Please be sure to book tickets early so you do not miss this wonderful play. Thanks to a generous financial contribution from the Ministry of Culture in Hamburg, we were able to invite Ms Jenny Lee, Artistic Director of the Attic Theatre in London, to direct this production. We are very pleased to welcome her to the English Theatre of Hamburg, as well as actors Craig Pinder, Janet Greaves and Nick Rhys, all newcomers to our stage. We are also happy to welcome Justin Farrow to our team. Justin is a musician and is also capable of working on sound and lights for the theatre. Currently he is working as one of the Stage Managers.
The new cast and director:
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by Frank D. Gilroy
A Summary of THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES
It is the Bronx, New York, 1946. Twenty-one-year-old Timmy has just returned home safe after serving in the army during World War II. His Irish-Catholic parents, John and Nettie, celebrate their son’s homecoming with a party, but Timmy soon realizes that the family tensions he left behind three years ago have gotten worse. Over the years John has broken Nettie’s heart with constant drinking and affairs with other women. Nettie’s rejection of her husband and her concentration on their son have made John jealous, irritable and bitter. Now trapped in a troubled marriage, they compete for Timmy’s affections, and are shocked by the changes in him. Nettie quickly sees that he is no longer the mama’s boy she could count on to side with her against her husband. She is distraught when he insists on going to a baseball game with his dad rather than visiting a handicapped relative with her. John is enraged when Timmy refuses to attend Mass with him, and is crushed by the realization that his son will no longer accept his values without question. With the new maturity he gained in the army, Timmy tries to cope with the hostility between his parents. He buys roses for his mother and innocently persuades his father to take credit for the purchase. This improves the relationship between the parents for a while, but, when Nettie learns of the deception, old resentments rise again to the surface and threaten to break up the family completely. Timmy first blames his father, then his mother for the situation. He feels his father never loved him and that his mother has been too controlling and possessive of him at the expense of his dad. Finally, as he prepares to leave home, he shows how much he has matured by accepting and loving his parents as they are. They, in turn, are forced to recognize the man their child has become.
The previous cast:
BIRTHDAY SUITE by Robin Hawdon
Stephen Chance, Vernon Bass, Katie Kensit and Jamie Menard
Susan Casanove and Vernon Bass
SZENE HAMBURG, January 2010
Jeder will mit jedem und gegen jeden im English Theatre
Robin Hawdons Komödie enthält nicht nur die üblichen überraschenden Wendungen: Die Handlung schlägt so viele Haken, dass einem beinahe schwindelig wird.
Hamburg Express, 15 December 2009
This week I saw “Birthday Suite” in the English Theatre. Written by famous playwright Robin Hawdon, Birthday Suite revolves around only 5 characters and 2 rooms, and is nutty British Situational Comedy at its best. In fact, it is an orgy of slapstick and wit that will have you rolling on the floor laughing.
The play starts with a well meaning man named Geoff who wants to help out his good friends Bob and Liz, a couple with marital problems. Although Geoff is not actually in the play, he has managed to get the both of them to the same hotel. With the help of Tony, the Italian waiter, and bait! Since it is Bobs birthday, Geoff tells him that he has rented him a room, along with a pretty little call-girl named Mimi so he can relieve some stress and stop thinking about his wife. At the same time he tells Liz that he himself is coming, and that they can catch up, since they too are old friends. Since the waiter Tony is in the know, nothing seems to stand in the way of his plan. Nothing except circumstance!
Kate and Dick have also arranged to meet each other in the same hotel, but they have never met face to face, and were chosen for each other by an Internet dating site, Soulmates Unlimited. They simply wish to have dinner. The room where they are to eat is adjacent to where Bob is freshening up, waiting for his somewhat more amorous visitor. Kate is nervous, and asks where the bathroom is. Misunderstanding Tony the waiter, she walks right into a nice hotel room with a big bed, a fully set meal with champagne, and Bob. She immediately thinks Bob is Dick and that her alleged “soulmate” merely wants to get her into bed. Bob thinks she is Mimi and is somewhat surprised by her normal attire. Kate asks him if he does not think the bed is somewhat obvious, and asks him what he thinks this is all about, a quick drink and then off to bed? Bob of course says yes, and gets a drink thrown in his face.
Things get crazier and crazier as Bob figures out what is going on, but would rather get to know Kate than sleep with a prostitute, Liz and Dick show up and hit it off, and Tony makes a well-meaning mess of everything. This play is a laugh a minute, and once again the Brits show that nobody can do Sit-com like them, especially when they prey on their own social and moral discrepancies. The actors are good, and it doesn't come off as set-up or scripted, which happens a lot when Sit-com is attempted. Birthday Suite keeps switching directions, but it keeps you interested until the final twist.