TWO’S company goes the old adage but the crowd will be definitely more than three when Saddleworth Players lift the curtain on a much-anticipated new season later this month.
For the first time since February 2020, the Players return to Delph’s Millgate Arts Centre to bring audiences their adaptation of Jim Cartwright’s Two (September 25-October 2) – a “sharp, salty, quickfire evocation of the surface gaiety and underlying melancholia of English pub life.”
Mark Rosenthal and Kate Davies take on the roles of the landlord and landlady as well as their customers.
Two, directed by Verity Mann, brings to life the romantics, the flirts the abusive, the poor-but-happy and all manners of drinkers at their local.
“For many of us actively involved in community theatre, the lure of the tinsel dust is hard to ignore,” Verity told the Independent.
“We may stagger away from the remains of the last night supper exhausted, crying: ‘Never again.’
“But mere weeks later, we’re back pouring over scripts and being seduced by another great story.
“The first lockdown took us by surprise. We were used to rehearsing three nights a week, not sitting on a sofa binge watching box sets.
“Once the novelty of not bolting dinner down in time to make it to the theatre wore off, we found we missed the fun, the creativity, the teamwork, the joy.
“Right when we needed it most, amid all the gloom and fear, the stage was off limits to us.
“I was rather pleased when Kate and Mark contacted me last Autumn asking if I would direct them in Two via Zoom. They too were missing theatre land and thought it would be good fun to have a project.
“With the aid of technology, we set up a regular rehearsal schedule and stuck to it regardless of where we were. Mark (being so method) even built his own bar.
“In the days before Christmas, we were fairly confident theatres would re-open sometime in January and we could, maybe, put on a couple of nights with a socially distanced audience.
“We had worked on the characterisation, had all the moves and the sterling cast were pretty word perfect. What could possibly go wrong?
“Coronavirus had other plans but here we are finally ready to start the season and adapting our small screen version of Two to the full-sized stage.
“It’s an amazing experience. We started with all lines learnt and retained – that must be a Saddleworth Players’ first!
“With the stage set built and, thanks to a timely session with the Spy Theatre group, all the costumes sorted.
“We are now in the joyous position of being able to refine and improve rather than start from scratch.
“We are really looking forward to laughing and crying with you as we bring our northern pub regulars to life.”