The International Players return to Le Quai 3 in Le Pecq this January with the black comedy Season’s Greetings, a classic from the celebrated English playwright Alan Ayckbourn.
or 07 81 02 78 14
The action takes place in 1978, in a leafy English suburb, at the home of Belinda and Neville Bunker, a middle-class couple who have invited family members and a young couple to spend Christmas with them. Belinda has done her utmost to make the festivities a success, but the Christmas magic doesn’t always work when the guests don’t all get on with each other and find themselves in a confined space for three days.
Belinda’s sister has also invited Clive Morris, a charismatic young writer and his arrival upsets what is already a very delicately-balanced atmosphere. As the spirit of Christmas takes more and more turns for the worse, tensions mount – as does the comedy. There is a painfully chaotic and seemingly interminable rehearsal of a puppet show put on by a stressed-out Uncle Bernard. A passionate romantic encounter under the Christmas tree is brought to an unexpected and disastrous end. And then there is trigger-happy Uncle Harvey…
This Christmas celebration is hilarious, but, behind the comedy, Ayckbourn shows us how desperate and ridiculous ordinary lives can be. He exposes the frustrations and disappointments of married life and unfulfilled dreams. An epic moment illustrating this is when Uncle Bernard lets all his anger out when his carefully-prepared puppet show ends, literally, in ruins. The playwright Dan Rebellato has described Bernard’s tirade as “Antigone in a cardigan”. In an instant, Ayckbourn manages to turn our laughter into compassion, and it is this combination of irony and generosity towards his characters that gives depth to his comedies – he shows us our own reflection in a mirror whilst entertaining us at the same time.
Season’s Greetings, performed in English by The International Players from Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February at Le Quai 3, 3 Quai Voltaire, 78230 Le Pecq.
Reservations: www.internationalplayers.org or 07 81 02 78 14
Alan Ayckbourn was born in 1939 and, to date, has written 83 plays, some of which have been translated into 35 languages. No other British playwright, except for Shakespeare, has had his or her plays produced so often throughout the world. He has won numerous international awards, notably several Olivier Awards in the UK and a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010) in the USA. In France, two of his plays have been adapted for the cinema by Alain Resnais: Smoking/No Smoking (1993) and Cœurs (2006). In 1997, he was knighted by the Queen for services rendered to the theatre.