Past Productions

From the Director's Chair

James's thoughts on directing King Lear:

This is a play I feel passionately to be one of the strongest in the canon.  For a group like ours it was also an ideal choice, as there is such a huge range of strong parts.  In 1993 we had a very strong acting membership, and in particular a talented group of women, so I felt it was a good time for Lear, as well as an opportunity for people to show what they could do.

I changed the Fool and the Gentleman into female characters, to give more of our women an opportunity for a big role, and the latter absorbed several Lords and Messengers to become quite a substantial character.  Glyn and Sarah handled these admirably.  I also made a substantial change to the Fool by splitting off some of the lines as a Fool's Boy.  There are two sides to the character of the Fool, and I felt this would allow them to show through more - it was also a matter of expediency, as Glyn's son David wanted a part, and this was a way of giving him something more than a walk-on as a Messenger.  I hope and think that Will would have approved of fitting the play to the cast in this way.  I also cut the play quite heavily; when you're working outdoors, even in the summer, you have to bear in mind how cold an audience can get over three hours, and besides, we needed to have time for a pint afterwards!

The one problem I had - and it was a big one! - was that, after we had decided to do this play, my chosen Lear felt he was unable to commit the necessary time, and dropped out of the group, leaving us with a big hole to fill.  Despite the qualms of the rest of the group, I decided to do it myself.  With Carol my assistant director on hand to keep me in line, we got though it okay.  I have always felt that Lear is younger than he is usually portrayed - despite that I was still too young for the part, but I think in ten years or so I would be interested to give it another go.

The production was a success - for the first time the Villagers showed they had the ability to do a major tragedy outdoors, and the feedback from the audience was very positive.  Many of the actors rose to their parts superbly, and I think surprised themselves with what they could achieve.  It was a pleasure to direct and act in this production.

July 19th-24th Little Woodham

Lear James Doyle
Gonerill Judith Styles
Regan Diane Wright
Cordelia Jane Robbins
Duke of Albany Owen Rowe
Duke of Cornwall Andy Jarvis
King of France Blair Atkin
Earl of Kent Nigel Dean
Earl of Gloucester Ian Wright
Edgar Mark Wright
Edmund Dave Press
Fool Glyn Wright
Fool's Boy David Wright
Oswald Tom Start
Gentlewoman Sarah Bullman
Albany's Heralds Carol Hicks, Mel Doyle
Captain Barnaby Rosevear
Knights, Servants & Soldiers Steve Herbert, Mel Doyle, Ceri Harms, Glyn Wright, Carol Hicks, Rob Teague, Barnaby Rosevear, Blair Atkin, Andy Jarvis

Director James Doyle
Assistant Director Carol Hicks
Costumes Jean Bowyer, Kate Strong
Stage Management Austin Hicks
Publicity Diane Wright

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