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INTRODUCTION TO MAYNARD’S END

I began writing Maynard’s End during the early stages of the pandemic. It started as an idea to write radio material suitable for use in publicising a production of The Killing of Sister George, which is  based on a character’s role in a fictional radio serial not unlike The Archers.

 When that production was cancelled during the first Covid summer I decided to keep writing material and to make it something original but along similar lines. To keep it light I decided to make some of the characters on the whole nicer and funnier than they might otherwise be, but I hope not unrealistically so, mainly so that actors would enjoy reading them. It was a zoom thing at first, when the pandemic was raging and it gradually evolved into the script as it is today.  My thanks to all those who took part in the early readings.

It’s a simple play. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, just a bit of fun. A right load of escapist nonsense really. It’s still evolving and no doubt will evolve further,  as we adapt the play to the NA auditorium. 

THE CHARACTERS

The play is set in 1968 or thereabouts. It’s important to note that all the adults have been through the second world war and those events are not much further in their past than the millennium is to us.  Generally, these are people more likely to count their blessings than bemoan their problems, or worry about things they cannot change.

THE MAIN SPEAKING PARTS:

Dorothy Meridy:  late 50s retired district nurse.  Dorothy lives on the village green and keeps rabbits. Inquisitive, outgoing, helpful, tolerant. A good egg. Best friends with Mrs Mac.  An accident makes her question her mortality as she has always considered herself indestructible.

Maigret McTeagle (AKA Mrs Mac): 50/60s Scottish widow, very humourous, possibly a trifle judgemental, but good hearted. A lively eccentric busy bee. Runs the village sweetshop. Best friend of Dorothy. Loves a hard-boiled Private Dick. Crime novel. 

Anne Shelmerston: 30s-40s runs local W.I. like a prisoner of war camp. Stridently uptight, censorious, condemnatory. Will also play Geraldine, local theatre manager,who is quite different and lovely.

Virginia: late 30s/early 40s County health scientist, rides a motorbike. Very jolly, inquisitive, easy-going. Quick on the uptake. Takes to Maynard’s End like a local on her first visit to the place.

Billy: aged 11-13 son of prominent local farmer. Well liked and trusted to run various errands on his bike which he cherishes and which he is gradually converting from Gent’s-type bicycle into 10 gear racer with his pocket money, the odd half-crown and various postal orders.

Sir Harold Maynard: 60s Lord of the Manor.  A relic of the feudal system. Bit of an old buffer, but nice enough. Has a great regard for the old ways of looking after the land and how it was run before the various Inclosures acts put an end to that in most places.

Ginger:  late 40s to early 50s, landlord of The Dog and Partridge on the village green. Good friend to Dorothy and Ernie.  In an unhappy marriage and being deceived by his wife but doesn’t realise , would rather not think about it. Inclined to be easy-going and thoughtful.

Ernie Lauderdale: 40s local police sergeant.  Lives on village green.  Is in a discreet, arm’s length, no-strings, on and off semi-relationship with Penny.  Comes across as slightly gauche but this is an act. He is very well-informed and comfortable in his own skin. Adores Penny but wonders if marriage to a policeman would be in line with her expectations. 

Penny Swift: late 30s- early 40s. Staff nurse in Yartley District Hospital. Very efficient, clever, funny. Been happy to be in a fairly casual relationship with Ernie until now but she would like to see more of him. 

Vicar:  40s -60s fairly standard, broadly respected, self-effacing, bit mysterious.That a man of his talents ( talents so-far known only to himself)  should end up in this backwater…….will also play Inspector Parks

Old Seth: 80s crusty local poacher, an intriguing character, part of large extended family all called Seth. Speaks ancient local dialect sometimes indecipherable even to himself.  His breathing sounds like an accordion. Wears such distinctive apparel that he is instantly recognisable.

The next three will be played by the same actor-

Amhurst Maynard: 40s an utter cad of the worst kind. Least said the better.

Constable Newton: 20s -30s Local bobby, Ernie’s sidekick.  On his way to being Sergeant some day. Bit of a card.

Pottle: 60’s Local Asst. Chief Constable, old friend of Sir Harold. Ernie’s Boss. Small part, might be cut. Grand, a bit dotty.

It should be possible to video the scenes with these two :-

Fyfe Robertson 60s 1960s eccentric television personality , reporter and presenter. Wears a trademark deerstalker and Harris tweed. Eccentric and smokes a pipe.

Director very camp, any age, directs Fyfe telecine piece to camera (can be a voiceover).

Non-speaking roles  – pub customers, various W.I. Ladies, 2 heavies.

NELL GWYNN By Jessica Swale.

REVIEWS

Marc Aspen : https://markaspen.com/2021/10/31/nell-gwynn-q2/

London Theatre 1 by John O’Brien: https://www.londontheatre1.com/reviews/nell-gwynn-by-jessica-swale-at-the-national-archives-kew/

Radio Interview on Spotlight at Riverside Studios hosted by Sian Kenyon with Cat Lamin (Nell) and Polly Beauwin (Director)

https://www.mixcloud.com/riversideradio/spotlight-19-10-2021-including-interview-with-q2-players-about-nell-gwynne/

PHOTOS

Arts Richmond Swan Awards 2020-21

With theatres closed, Arts Richmond weren’t able to hold a traditional Swan Awards Gala Evening, however they did award two very special awards for 2020-21 for virtual performances and Q2 are very pleased to be able to announce that we were awarded “Best Virtual Performance” by the Swan Judges for ‘Kin ‘Ell, a Zoom play written and directed by Genni Trickett and starring Denise Tomlinson, Cat Lamin, Lily Tomlinson and Laurie Coombs. Judges described ‘Kin ‘Ell as ‘highly watchable’ and it ‘struck a chord with all’ with ‘confident performances and an entertaining production’. We’re so proud of everyone involved as it was a super play, really showcasing both the acting and writing talent of Q2.

Don’t forget that you can watch back both ‘Kin ‘Ell and many of our other play readings, including an incredible selection of new writing, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel and looking up our Zoom Play Readings playlist.

We’d also love to extend our congratulations to our friends over at RSS for their award for “Best Virtual Production” for their Halloween Spectacular, Stage Fright (also featuring Lily Tomlinson as well as a number of other Q2 members).

Congratulations to everyone involved in both productions and thank you to the Swan Awards team for all their hard work; fingers crossed for a more normal Gala Evening next year!

Denise Tomlinson receiving the nomination certificate from Sir Vince Cable, President of Arts Richmond 2020-2021

Charles II Announces Dramatic Return of Live Theatre in Kew

Q2 Players are pleased to announce that our postponed production of Nell Gwynn is now scheduled to play at The National Archives, Kew, between 28 and 30 October 2021 (four performances).  Tech and dress rehearsals 24-27 October.

Polly Beauwin, who is directing this play writes:

“Nell is now back, and we can’t wait to get back to work on this fun show!

A 16 month hiatus, however, has meant that four actors have had to drop out because of moves and other commitments, so we are on the lookout for four actors for four great parts. 

LORD ARLINGTON – Charles II’s minister, a key player in the power games at Court.  He knows how to plot, cajole and threaten when necessary.  Age: late 30s-50s

JOHN DRYDEN – England’s first poet laureate, but here we see him as the playwright he also was – struggling with writer’s block, coming up with ideas, and coping with the women who have suddenly been allowed on stage.  Age: 30s-40s

NANCY – Nell’s dresser and confidante.  She finds herself on stage with catastrophic results.  A part with great comic potential.  Age: late 20s-40

EDWARD KYNASTON – Actor specialising in playing women’s parts; his nose is seriously put out of joint by Nell’s arrival.  Great comic potential, larger than life character. Physically should look as thought he could play Juliet or Desdemona with a wig and a dress. Age: 20s‑40ish

 Auditions for these parts will be held on Wednesday, 14 July 2021 at 8pm in the Kew Scout Hut.

I fully appreciate that this is very short notice, so if you are interested in auditioning and cannot make it on the 14th, please do get in touch and we will sort out a second round of auditions at a date to suit all those who cannot make it on the 14th.

Please get in touch with the me, Polly Beauwin (pbeauwin@hotmail.com; 07773 796609) to let me  know of your interest.”

For copies of the audition speeches, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with Polly at the email/phone number above.

Hughie Kapooey and the Really Orangey Thing

Our upcoming virtual performance will be a new piece of writing called Hughie Kapooey and the Really Orangey Thing, by long-time member Cat Lamin and starring a host of familiar Q2 faces.

As normal, we will be holding a live Zoom performance on the last Saturday of the month at 8pm – please drop us an email to get details and be added to the guest list.

As well as the Zoom performance, we are excited to announce that you can also watch a live-streamed performance directly from YouTube on Sunday 25th April at 8.30pm