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Noel Coward in Two Keys

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Coward in Rehearsal



Posted by webmaster on 02/08 at 11:13 PM
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Couple of Cowards

Here is the article that appears in the February BUZZ, about our next play:

Could the Provinces Room in the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel double as a private suite in a luxurious auberge in Switzerland?

With its old-world charm, its gilded high ceiling, dark wood, massive fireplace, and elegant furniture, I don’t see why not.  Even if there is no view of the Alps.

Imagining this, one can imagine more: that some wealthy, witty, and oh so worldly characters from a chic Noel Coward play have been living for some time in that very suite, dressing for dinner in black tie and evening gown, tossing verbal darts at their absent friends and each other, and flirting from time to time.

Or why not TWO Noel Coward plays, with different but thematically related characters and a handsome waiter who appears in both?  That’s what ACT (a community theatre) is presenting at the Rodd Charlottetown in early March.

The titles of the two short plays—“Come Into the Garden, Maud,” and the still well-known “A Song at Twilight”—are taken from songs of the British music-hall tradition, where Coward got his training.  The first play is a somewhat light-hearted fairy tale of temptation, while the second has more of the reflective and sombre tones of evening, fitting, perhaps, for what turned out to be the last of Coward’s many plays.  The two together are called “Noel Coward in Two Keys.”  They were first performed in 1966 with Coward himself in the leading male roles.

Each features a triangle: a man well past his youth (and feeling it), his wife, and an unconventional woman from outside their social circle, who upsets them both when she comes to visit.  But do not expect the predictable from Coward.

Known simply as ‘the Master’ among his stage associates, Noel Coward was the Da Vinci of British theatre for over half a century: playwright, composer, lyricist, story-writer, stage actor, movie actor, comedian, singer, director, producer, and man about town.  He knew everybody, from Joan Sutherland to the Queen Mother.  Some of his friends made appearances in his plays: for example, the main character in A Song at Twilight, Hugo Latymer, was modelled on the famous novelist Somerset Maugham.

“Noel Coward in Two Keys” is ACT’s second offering of this season, following “The School for Scandal” in November.  It is directed by Brenda Porter, and will include a rendition of both title songs, along with Coward ‘house music.’  Tickets are available from TicketWorks, Confederation Centre: 566-1267 or 1-800-565-0278.  Performances are Fridays and Saturdays, March 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, March 4 at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $12 and $10.

Watching these amusing characters, audiences will feel that they too are guests of the Rodd Charlottetown Swiss Hotel.  And to begin the evening, why not dinner or dessert and coffee in the excellent dining room?  Perhaps a fondue—but with evening dress optional.

Posted by EH_Support on 02/04 at 08:41 PM
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Noel Coward in Two Keys Production Under Way

The second offering of ACT’s 2006-2007 season, “Noel Coward in Two Keys”, includes two short plays by Coward, both of which are set in a posh Swiss hotel in the mid-1960s. The titles of the plays—“Come into the Garden, Maud” and “A Song at Twilight”, were inspired by songs from the British music hall, and both songs will be performed as part of the show.

Cast members are already busy rehearsing. The roster includes:

Rowena Stinson as Anna Mary Conklin      
Stephen Beck as Verner Conklin
Hannah Grant as Maud Caragnani
Mark Ramsay as Felix
Cathy Grant as Hilde Latymer
Paul Whelan as Hugo Latymer
Barbara Rhodenhizer as Carlotta Gray
Sophia Wong as Host and Chanteur

Members of the expert production team include Gerry Gray, Wallena Higgins, Pam Jewell, Fred Louder, Clair Smith, Janet Mcdonald, Richard Haines, Terry Pratt, Carl Mathis, Eileen Braidwood, Ruth Lacey, Tony Welsh, Greg Hughes, Linda Kerr, and Cyril Armstrong. Director is Brenda Porter.

More folks are still required for Front of House and other backstage duties. Anyone interested should contact Gerry Gray, producer (gerry.gray@pei.sympatico.ca or 569-5633).

Posted by webmaster on 01/14 at 01:31 PM
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Noel Coward in Two Keys

Set in the mid -1960s, this Coward work is really a pair of one-act plays “Come into the Garden, Maud” and “A Song at Twilight”.  The action of both takes place in the sitting room of a private suite in a fine, old Swiss hotel. An ‘outsider’ causes uncomfortable and previously unnamed truths to be dealt with.

When the show played in New York’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1974, the cast included Jessica Tandy, Thom Christopher, Hume Cronyn, and Anne Baxter.


Come into the Garden, Maud
Anna Mary Conklin
Wealthy American matron, late 40s or early 50s
Verner Conklin
Her husband, also wealthy, fit, late 50s
Maud Caragnani
Attractive, mid - 40s, has a style of her own
Waiter, young, good looking

A Song at Twilight
Hilde Latymer
Early 50s, German, married to Sir Hugo for 20 years
Sir Hugo Latymer
Elegant, author of considerable eminence, late 60s—early 70s
Carlotta Gray
Attractive former actor, late 40s - early 50s
Waiter, young, good looking

Note: The role of Felix will be cross cast. The remaining three roles in each play will either all be cross cast or none of them will be.

ACT (a community theatre) will stage this pair of one-act plays at the Rodd Charlottetown, in the Provinces Room, March 2/3, 9 -11. The director will be Brenda Porter and the producer, Gerry Gray. The production will also feature dessert, coffee and ‘meet the cast’ following the show.

For audion information, please go to http://actpei.ca/pmt_comments.php?id=M1010_0_1_0_C

Posted by webmaster on 10/29 at 02:31 PM
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