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  • Writer's picturePeter Day

Ayckbourn Mastery

A scene from Confusions in rehearsal

After what seemed like an improbably brief timescale, Confusions came to life on the fabulous stage in the Britten Hall at Old Buckenham Hall, which is just outside Lavenham in Brettenham.

The cast, director Nicholas Paley, the production team and stage crew all rose to the challenge of putting the show together on time. Rehearsals were fun and rewarding. This was a team production where every member of the cast and crew got involved in bringing the various ends together to make the show a success.

Having been unable to secure a slot for our production in the Lavenham Village Hall, we were pleased to receive an amazing offer from the Headmaster at OBH, to come and make full use of the near theatre-like facilities at the school. Given our timescales and the chance to perform in such a beautiful setting, we jumped at the chance. Throughout the final weeks before the performances, OHB were immensely generous and offered us help and assistance setting up and building the set, fetching furniture, and initial rigging up of the sound and lighting.

Working with Nicholas Paley has been another first for Lavenham Players. We had never had the change before, to work with a professional director. Something that turned out to be a major blessing. From my own perspective, and having a fairly small part in the final play, I was free to observe at the rehearsals This was a really interesting and enlightening experience. Watching the cast being moulded into the shape and seeing how the various nips, tucks and tweaks here and there made subtle, yet important improvements to the piece. It was possible to see the characters coming out, and also every opportunity for a comedy or more thought-provoking moment being fully explored. Our three newest cast members where given direction, guidance and support all along the way, so that not only did their confidence grow, but their characterisations became clearer. It was a joy to behold, and an experience that I am keen to repeat.

For those who came to see the show, there were plenty of delighted and surprised reactions. Many were enthusiastic to give praise to the cast and director alike. The overall feedback was very positive indeed. Lots of happy and smiling faces as they departed into the peaceful night of the Brettenham countryside. Ayckbourn's mastery of the subject and the dedication of all involved certainly made this a great show, and one that Lavenham Players can be proud of.


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