THE ASPERN PAPERS

By Michael Redgrave

Produced by Phyll Bennett

Performed September 1966

This was produced in September 1966 by Phyl Bennett and was the WDG entry in the NSW Arts Council's Country & Metropolitan Drama Festival adjudicated by Mr Reid Douglas.  It is based on the story by Henry James.  The play ran for three performances, Friday 2 September, Friday 9 September and Saturday 10 September 1966, the last one of which was the adjudicated entry in the Drama Festival.

 

The play was adapted by Michael Redgrave in 1962 from the novella written by Henry James, published in 1888.  It has also been made into an opera, a movie (The Lost Moment starring Susan Hayward and Robert Cummings) and was serialised on BBC radio's A Book at Bedtime series.

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Review of the play by Neville Goldsworthy following the adjudicated performance on Saturday 10 September 1966

(Read full article here)

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Article on Wednesday 31 August 1966.

(Read full article here)

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Conclusion of the above article from Page 4.  This will have been published in the Wyong Advocate.

(Read full article here)

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Article which would have appeared roughly the week before opening.  Notice the error in John Worgan's name (appears as Morgan).

(Read full article here)

James was a dominant literary figure at the turn of the century (1899-1900), one of those Americans who, like the central character of the play, looked to Europe for the tradition not yet developed in his own country.  He became more English than the English, a master of the grand manner and grand style.  His influence lasted until Hemingway and other younger rebels swept away the pretentiousness in the 1920s.

In the story, a nameless narrator goes to Venice in order to locate Juliana Bordereau, an old lover of Jeffrey Aspern, a famous and now dead American poet. The narrator insinuates himself into the old woman's house as a lodger and flatters Miss Tita, her niece, a plain, somewhat naive spinster, in hopes of getting a look at some of Aspern's letters.

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The only photo extant of this production, shot from backstage, showing Bonnie Bryant as Asunta the maid.

(View Full-Size Image)

When Juliana falls ill, the narrator sneaks into her room and gets caught by the oldlady as he is about to rifle her desk for the letters.  Juliana calls the narrator a "publishing scoundrel" and collapses.  The narrator flees, and when he returns some days later, he finds that Juliana has died. Miss Tita hints that he can have the Aspern letters if he marries her.

Again, the narrator flees.  For a time he considers Miss Tita's proposal, but when he returns, he finds that she has burned all the letters, one by one.  The narrator never sees the precious papers, but he does send Miss Tita some money for a miniature portrait of Aspern that she gave him.

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Article appearing before 22 August 1966 outlining The Aspern Papers opening, and a farewell to Phil and Rene Levenspiel (then owners of WM-Holden Wyong and long-time drama group members) who are about to depart on a world trip.

(Read full article here)

You can access The Aspern Papers programme below, and also read the novella on which he play was based (The Aspern Papers, by Henry James - first published 1888).

PRODUCED BY:

Phyll Bennett

CAST:

ASSUNTA - Bonnie Bryant
MRS. PREST
 - Gwen Clarke
HENRY JARVIS - John Worgan
MISS TITA - Isobel Unsworth
MISS JULIANNA BORDEREAU- Beth Gingell
PASQUALE - Ian Tasker

 
 

ROOKERY NOOK

By Ben Travers

Produced by Aub Brown

Performed December 1966

This comedy was produced by Aubrey Brown on the 2nd & 3rd of December 1966.  It is one of a number of "Aldwych Farces" which were produced at the Aldwych Theatre in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  A large factor in the success of the Aldwych Farces was their predictability: audiences wanted stock characters and stock situations, and got what they expected.  The BBC made a series of Travers's Aldwych Farces into televison shows in the early 1970s.

Gerald Popkiss has come to stay at "Rookery Nook", a house in Chumpton-on-Sea, Somerset.  Gerald married Clara six weeks before, and has come to visit Clara's sister Gertrude and her husband Harold Twine who live in the area. Visiting with Gerald is his cousin Clive who has a tendency to get into trouble.

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Article from The Advocate, Wednesday 16 November 1966

(read full article here)

Article from The Advocate, Wednesday 23 November 1966

(Read full article here)

(Click photos to view full-size images)

No sooner has Gerald settled in when a beautiful young lady named Rhoda Marley shows up at the house claiming that her step-father Putz has thrown her out of the house for eating wurtleberries, a "forbidden fruit".  Since she is barefoot and soaked, Gerald lends her a pair of his pyjamas and a dressing gown - Gerald cannot refuse a lady in distress. When Gertrude and Harold show up, Rhoda must hide in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, she is discovered by Harold, who is sworn to silence to avoid having Gertrude telling tales to Gerald's wife Clara.

The following morning, Harold arrives to hear the explanation, but states he has to get to the golf course to meet Admiral Juddy.  Mrs Leverett, the housekeeper, and Gertrude also arrive unbeknownst to the men and see Rhoda coming out of Gerald's bedroom and vow to tell Clara.  Clive and Gerald convince Harold to get some clothes so that Rhoda can leave the house and head to London to stay with friends.  They also pay off Mrs Leverett for the whole week so she will leave them alone.  While Harold is searching for clothes, the outraged Juddy arrives, saying that Harold never showed up for their golf game.  Clive volunteers to drive Rhoda to London as he has developed affection for her.  Harold tries to get Rhoda's clothes from Putz's house, but Putz set the dog on him, so Harold is forced to borrow some of Gertrude's clothes.  Clara arrives after being informed by Gertrude that Gerald is cheating on her with Rhoda. 

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Article by Neville Goldsworthy, The Advocate Wednesday 7 December 1966

(Read full article here)

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Article from the Gosford Star, Wednesday 30 November 1966

(read full article here)

A village girl named Poppy selling lifeboat flags stops by and Rhoda borrows Poppy's clothes and escapes.  Clara confronts Gerald, and he opens up the bedroom to show the sweet little girl he was trying to help, only to find a brazen Poppy with no clothes on.  He tries to explain about Rhoda's crazy stepfather, but when Putz arrives he is calm and courteous, and totally out of character.  Poor Gerald is sunk until Rhoda shows up to thank Gerald for his help and Clive accuses Mrs Leverett of spreading false rumours about Rhoda.  Mrs Leverett says she heard it from Gertrude and Putz, hearing the scandalous accusation, goes into a rage.  In the ensuing melee, Gerald reclaims Clara and Clive gets Rhoda.

PRODUCED BY:

Aub Brown

CAST:

GERTRUDE TWINE - Mildred Ede
MRS. LEVERETT - Lorna Worgan
HAROLD TWINE - David Fryer
CLIVE POPKISS - George Geatches
GERALD POPKISS - Ian Tasker
RHODA MARLEY - Pamela Jones
PUTZ - Bruno Marsonnet
ADMIRAL JUDDY - Fred Chapman
POPPY DICKEY - Pamela Say
CLARA POPKISS - Beverley Say
MRS. POSSETT- Bonnie Bryant

 

LOVE'S A LUXURY (1967)

By Guy Paxton and Edward V Hoile

Produced by Bonnie Bryant

Performed  April 1967

This was Bonnie Bryant's debut as a director (then, of course, known as "producer") for Wyong Drama Group.  Unlike other directors, however, it was certainly not her last effort.  The play opened in April 1967, and is your typical English farce.  This play has been done by WDG three times (so far).  Maxine Morris directed it in 1987, and Bonnie reprised it again (with Howard Oxley as co-director) in 1999.  This production played on two days: Friday 21 April, and Saturday 22 April 1967.

A theatre man, who seeks a refuge in the country away from the women around him, makes his way to Cranberry Cottage with his leading man. They are met by a young girl who is standing in for her mother who is the housekeeper.  Add a crazy camper and allow the wife and girlfriend to arrive with the son and you have the ingredients for a farce.  The Camper, Mr Mole, steals the show with what he does with his shorts.  The focus of the attention, Mr Charles Pentwick, overdoes all the attributes of the theatre man.

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Article in an unknown newspaper posted by the group, on the desperate search for a specific prop (date unknown).

(Read full article here)

Article promoting the show in an unknown newspaper, most likely The Advocate (date unknown).

(read full article here)

This play was the last production at the Wyong Youth Hall in Hely Street.  It played for three nights, Thursday 8 April, Friday 9 April and Saturday 10 April 1965.  On Monday 12 April the whole production was taken up to Morisset Psychiatric Hospital for a special performance for the patients only (not open to the public).

Onlookers at the Rehearsal
Onlookers at the Rehearsal

Watching the rehearsal (the last show in the Youth Hall): Mrs Chapman, an unknown young member, Bonnie Bryant and Gwen Clarke

press to zoom
The Action of Bed of Roses - 1
The Action of Bed of Roses - 1

Fred Chapman as Mat and Ian Tasker as Bob

press to zoom
The Action of Bed of Roses - 2
The Action of Bed of Roses - 2

Fred Chapman as Mat, Pam Robinson as Jenny, Don Watson as Basil, Helen Marsonet as May, Ian Tasker as Bob and Jan Bailey as Pam

press to zoom
1/8

Use the arrows to browse through the gallery for Bed of Roses Click the images to view them full-size.

Rose has convinced herself that she is an invalid and spends all her time lying on a couch with her husband Matt at her beck and call.  Matt and the doctor devise a plan.  Matt pretends to have injured his leg and when Rose gets up to tend to him he jumps on to the couch so that she is unable to resume her role as invalid.

PRODUCED BY:

Arthur Gleed

CAST:

JENNY PICKERSGILL - Pam Robinson
PAM PICKERSGILL - Jan Bailey
MRS . BLISDEN - Gladys Goldsworthy
BOB HUGGINS - Ian Tasker
ROSE PICKERSGIILL - Mildred Field
MAT PICKERSGILL - Fred Chapman
BASIL GRAVES - Don Watson
DR. RAHENY - John Worgan
MAY ROSSITER - Helen Marsonet

 

ARMS AND THE MAN

By George Bernard Shaw

Produced by Frank McKone

Performed August 1967

This is a very funny and quirky play by Shaw, outlining the futility of war, and the pragmatism employed by the soldiers fighting it.  It also contains a story of rivalry for a woman's hand in marriage, and in the end, yes, the Man gets the girl.  It was written in about 1890 and first performed in 1894, but it is almost as fresh today as it was when Shaw wrote it.

Captain Bluntschli, a professional soldier, practical and straightforward, with no romantic illusions, brings Raina down to the level of his worldliness and raises her to his level of understanding.  Louka, a servant who aims at climbing the social ladder by her (his) cunning, knocks the romanticism out of Sergius.

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Gwen Clarke playing Catherine Petkoff, talking with Major Paul Petkoff, portrayed by Arthur Gleed.

(View Full-Size Image)

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Mark Levenspiel as Nicola, getting the attention of Louka, played by Mary Smith

(View Full-Size Image)

Shaw could not but help to see the funny side of these clashes of personality, while he seriously believed that the world must rid itself of the romantics - that only logical, scientific thinking can produce a sane and peaceful world.  Therefore in his play, the anti-romantics win the day.

The play was produced by Frank McKone, a regular actor who finally got a gig as a director.  He also produced an even older play She Stoops to Conquer a few years later in 1970.  It played at Wyong on Friday 11 August and Saturday 12 August 1967.

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Article in the Wyong News, 16 August 1967.

(View Full-Size Article)

The show programme, and full script for Arms And The Man, can be accessed below:

PRODUCED BY:

Frank McKone

CAST:

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RAINA PETKOFF - Anna Butchart

CAPTAIN BLUNTSCHLI - Howard Cassidy

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RUSSIAN OFFICER - Alan Hicks

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SERGIUS SARANOFF
- David Still

CATHERINE PETKOFF - Gwen Clarke
LOUKA - Mary Smith
NICOLA - Mark Levenspiel
PAUL PETKOFF - Arthur Gleed

 

SAILOR BEWARE

By Phillip King and Falkland L Cary

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed November 1967

Rene Levenspiel was back after a hiatus and produced this classic English farce for us which played on Thursday 23 November and Friday 24 November 1967.

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Newspaper article, probably in the Tuggerah Lakes News, possibly by Neville Goldsworthy, on or about 29 Nov 1967

(View full article)

Scroll through the gallery of production shots from Sailor Beware. Click on each image to expand them.

 

Note:  Thank you to Les Turton for this photography. Apologies for any incorrect captions; identities were determined to the best of our abilities. Please use the 'Contact Us' button to help us correct any incorrect captions on this gallery, or any other images in our archives.

Sailor Beware was first produced on stage in 1955 and later made into a movie with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  It is, naturally, set in the navy and as a movie it was converted into a musical comedy.  Because of a mix-up, Melvin Jones (in the movie, Jerry Lewis) is inducted into the Navy, despite his numerous allergies.  When appearing on a TV show sponsored by a lipstick manufacturer, a series of bizarre circumstances cause him to be perceived as an irresistibly good kisser, and he is undeservedly hyped by the media as 'Mr ... Temptation'.  His shipmates bet their pay that he can get sexy French chanteuse Corinne Calvet (appearing in the film as herself) to kiss him.  Despite his allergy to kissing girls, he tries not to let them down - even though it threatens his relationship with his erstwhile girlfriend Hilda (who was played by Marion Marshall in the movie).

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

EDIE - Beth Gingell
EMMA - Bonnie Bryant
MRS. LACK - Mildred Field
HENRY HORNETT - Ted Bryant
ALBERT TUFNELL - George Geatches
CARNOUSTIE BLIGH - Alan Hicks
DAPHNE PINK - Roslyn Lewis

SHIRLEY HORNETT - Mary Skidmore
REVEREND OLIVER PUREFOY - Bruno Marsonnet

 
 

LOVE'S A LUXURY (1967)

By Guy Paxton and Edward V Hoile

Produced by Bonnie Bryant

Performed  April 1967

loves_a_luxury_article_03.jpg

Article in an unknown newspaper posted by the group, on the desperate search for a specific prop (date unknown).

(Read full article here)

Article promoting the show in an unknown newspaper, most likely The Advocate (date unknown).

(read full article here)

This play was the last production at the Wyong Youth Hall in Hely Street.  It played for three nights, Thursday 8 April, Friday 9 April and Saturday 10 April 1965.  On Monday 12 April the whole production was taken up to Morisset Psychiatric Hospital for a special performance for the patients only (not open to the public).

Onlookers at the Rehearsal
Onlookers at the Rehearsal

Watching the rehearsal (the last show in the Youth Hall): Mrs Chapman, an unknown young member, Bonnie Bryant and Gwen Clarke

press to zoom
The Action of Bed of Roses - 1
The Action of Bed of Roses - 1

Fred Chapman as Mat and Ian Tasker as Bob

press to zoom
The Action of Bed of Roses - 2
The Action of Bed of Roses - 2

Fred Chapman as Mat, Pam Robinson as Jenny, Don Watson as Basil, Helen Marsonet as May, Ian Tasker as Bob and Jan Bailey as Pam

press to zoom
1/8

Use the arrows to browse through the gallery for Bed of Roses Click the images to view them full-size.

PRODUCED BY:

CAST:

JENNY PICKERSGILL - Pam Robinson
PAM PICKERSGILL - Jan Bailey
MRS . BLISDEN - Gladys Goldsworthy
BOB HUGGINS - Ian Tasker
ROSE PICKERSGIILL - Mildred Field
MAT PICKERSGILL - Fred Chapman
BASIL GRAVES - Don Watson
DR. RAHENY - John Worgan
MAY ROSSITER - Helen Marsonet

LOVE'S A LUXURY (1967)

By Guy Paxton and Edward V Hoile

Produced by Bonnie Bryant

Performed  April 1967

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Colour photo of rehearsal action from Love's A Luxury.

(View full-size image here)

This was Bonnie Bryant's debut as a director (then, of course, known as "producer") for Wyong Drama Group.  Unlike some other directors, however, it was certainly not her last effort.  The play opened in April 1967, and is your typical English farce.  This play has been done by WDG three times (so far).  Maxine Morris directed it in 1987, and Bonnie reprised it again (with Howard Oxley as co-director) in 1999.  This production played on two days: Friday 21 April, and Saturday 22 April 1967.

A theatre man, who seeks a refuge in the country away from the women around him, makes his way to Cranberry Cottage with his leading man. They are met by a young girl who is standing in for her mother who is the housekeeper.  Add a crazy camper and allow the wife and girlfriend to arrive with the son and you have the ingredients for a farce.  The Camper, Mr Mole, steals the show with what he does with his shorts.  The focus of the attention, Mr Charles Pentwick, overdoes all the attributes of the theatre man.

loves_a_luxury_article_03.jpg
loves_a_luxury_article_02.jpg

Article in an unknown newspaper posted by the group, on the desperate search for a specific prop (date unknown).

(Read full article here)

Article promoting the show in an unknown newspaper, most likely The Advocate (date unknown).

(read full article here)

loves_a_luxury_article_01.jpg

Article in an unknown newspaper promoting the show, in the week prior to opening (around 17-20 April, 1967).

(Read full article here)

loves_a_luxury_article_05.jpg

Article from an unknown newspaper, published at a similar time to the article to the left.

(Read full article here)

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Review by Neville Goldsworthy, from the Wyong & Tuggerah Lakes News,  26 April 1967. 

(Read full article here)

Action from Love's A Luxury. Click the images in the gallery to view them full-size

PRODUCED BY:

Bonnie Bryant

CAST:

(Click photos to view full-size images)

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ROLLIE - Goldie Geatches

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MR. MOLE - Frank McKone

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CHARLES PENTWICK - Aub Brown

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FRITZY VILLERS - 
Roslyn Lewis

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MRS. HARRIS - Mildred Ede

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DICK PENTWICK - Howard Cassidy

MOLLIE - Beverley Say

BOBBIE BENTLEY - George Geatches

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MARGARET PENTWICK - Beth Gingell

DESERTED NIGHT

By T B Morris

Produced by Gwen Clarke

Performed April 1968

This play is a comedy-thriller for eight ladies and was produced in April 1968 by Gwen Clarke. It was presented on Friday 5 April and Saturday 6 April 1968.  The action of the play takes place within the ruined walls of an ancient building in the Arabian desert.

Photos of the action in Deserted Night. Click the images to view them full-size.

Thank you to Les Turton for this photography.

Comments from Marion Romig (nee Gingell):

I think my mother's character died out in that desert (I am pretty sure it must have been that play - right era and right scenery) and she was a bit put off when from the stage, she heard my sobs in the front row... She felt like raising her head from the death bed on the sand and saying "I told you I have to die in this one! Just acting."

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Autographed card as presented to the Director, Gwen Clarke, from the cast.

(View full-size image)

PRODUCED BY:

Gwen Clarke

CAST:

ALICE KAYNE - Marjorie Gleed
LESLEY CLAVELL - Berverley Say

EMILY ROBERTS - Mildred Fields
ASTRA BRANTSON-BROWN - Beth Gingell
KATHERIN CLAVELL - Rene Levenspiel
JAN WEST - Bonnie Bryant
MERIEL THORPE - Pamela Say
SABAH - Roslyn Lewis

 
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With thanks to Peter Deane and other long-time members of the Wyong Drama Group for the collation of this history.

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