NIGHT MUST FALL (1968)

By Emlyn Williams

Produced by Bonnie Bryant

Performed August 1968

Gallery of the cast and action from Night Must Fall. Click the images to view them full-size.

With thanks to Les Turton for the photography.

This is a Bonnie Bryant production, opening in August 1968.  It was the Wyong Drama Group entry into the Arts Council's Drama Festival sponsored by the Bank of New South Wales.  It was adjudicated by Mr Reid Douglas with the adjudicated entry being Sunday 26 August 1968.  The play was later reprised by Bonnie in 1991.

 

The play is a top-notch thriller from the 1930s.  Danny is a wickedly charming Irish bellhop who wins the confidence of an elderly invalid.  The old woman's niece is not so easily swayed by Danny's blarney, but she finds him strangely attractive, especially when he exhibits a streak of viciousness.  Even when the possibility arises that Danny is a wanted murderer, Rosalind is hesitant to call the police.  The final scene, in which Danny ambles around the house carrying a hatbox that may or may not contain Ms Whitty's head, is unforgettable.

You can access show programme below, and also read the script for Night Must Fall, courtesy of The Gutenberg Project.

PRODUCED BY:

Bonnie Bryant

CAST:

MRS BRAMSON - Pamela Jones
OLIVIA GRAYNNE - Mary Skidmore
HUBERT LAWRIE - Howard Woodward
NURSE LIBBY - Pamela Say
MRS. TERRENCE - Meg McKone
LAURA PARKOE - Beverley Say
INSPECTOR BELSIZE - Aubrey Brown
DAN - Howard Cassidy

 
 

THE GLASS MANAGERIE

By Tennessee Williams

Directed by John Werleman

Performed December 1968

The play was performed on Saturday 14 December & Sunday 15 December 1968. It was the first mention of that word "director" with the director for this play being John Werleman, who also played Tom.

The play is introduced to the audience by Tom as a memory play, based on his recollection of his mother Amanda and his sister Laura.

Amanda's husband abandoned the family long ago. Although a survivor and a pragmatist, Amanda yearns for the illusions and comforts she remembers from her days as a fêted Southern belle. She yearns especially for these things for her daughter Laura, a young adult with a crippled foot and tremulous insecurity about the outside world.

Tom works in a warehouse, doing his best to support them. He chafes under the banality and boredom of everyday life and spends much of his spare time watching movies in cheap cinemas at all hours of the night. Amanda is obsessed with finding a suitor for Laura, who spends most of her time with her collection of little glass animals. Tom eventually brings a nice boy named Jim home for dinner at the insistence of his mother, who hopes Jim will be the long-awaited suitor for Laura. Laura realises that Jim is the man she loved in high school and has thought of ever since.

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Photograph taken by Les Turton and appearing in the Wyong Advocate

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After a long evening in which Jim and Laura are left alone by candlelight in the living room, waiting for electricity to be restored, Jim reveals that he is already engaged to be married, and he leaves. During their long scene together, Jim and Laura have shared a quiet dance, and he accidentally brushes against the glass menagerie, knocking the glass unicorn to the floor and breaking its horn off. "Now it's just like the other horses," Laura says. When Amanda learns that Jim was engaged she assumes Tom knew and lashes out at him: "That's right, now that you've had us make such fools of ourselves. The effort, the preparations, all the expense! The new floor lamp, the rug, the clothes for Laura! all for what? To entertain some other girl's fiancé! Go to the movies, go! Don't think about us, a mother deserted, an unmarried sister who's crippled and has no job! Don't let anything interfere with your selfish pleasure. Just go, go, go - to the movies !"

At play's end, as Tom speaks, it becomes clear that Tom left home soon afterward and never returned. In Tom's final speech, as he watches his mother comforting Laura long ago, he bids farewell: "Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger - anything that can blow your candles out! [LAURA bends over the candles] - for nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura - and so good-bye." Laura blows the candles out as the play ends.

DIRECTED BY:

John Werleman

CAST:

AMANDA WIGNFIELD - Margaret McKone
LAURA - Carlotta Payne
TOM - John Werleman
THE GENTLMAN CALLER - Mike Store

 
 

CENTRAL 2000

A Revue

Produced by Barry Payne

Performed  April 1969

Gallery of stunts and acts from Central 200. Click on the images to view them full-size. 

This was a "a revue for eight players with a view to the CENTRAL COAST in the year 2000 a.d."  It's interesting to note that the term "Central Coast" existed in 1969, and we can see how accurate they were with sketches like "Hospital Call" calling for a hospital at Wyong, which finally opened in 1980, not beyond 2000 as implied by the call.  The revue was produced by Barry Payne.

The writing credits go to Frank McKone (for "Concrete", "Races" and "Prawner") Howard Cassidy (for "Hound" and "Milking") and Barry Payne himself (the rest - ie MOST of the revue).

PRODUCED BY:

Barry Payne

PERFOMANCES:

1. Opening Chorus
2. Equality in All Things
3. Mining Boom

4. I Came Back
5. History Is Junk
6. North Entrance Farewell
7. Water Test Part 1
8. Big Daddy Meets The Press
9. Olympic Pool Test
10. Water Test Part 2
11. Stranded
12. Water Test Part 3
13. The Millennium
14. Confidentiality
15. Mumbo - Jumbo
16. Water Test Part 4
17. Mafia Funerals
18. We Shall Not Be Moved


- INTERVAL -

19. Legal Eagles
20. I Keep Coming Back
21. Hound Bound

22. Super Teacher Part 1
23. Malarkey's Elections
24. Super Teacher Part 2
25. Knocking Around
26. Super Teacher Part 3
27. Water Test - The Last
28. Concrete Facts
29. Hospital Call
30. Wyong Races
31. The Lone Prawner
32. Milking Exhibition
33. Wyong Show
34. Charity Begins At Home
35. Prawn Lake Ballet
36. FINALE

CAST:

STRANDED LADY - Beth Gingell
HOSPITAL CALL - Gwen Clarke
JUNK LADY - Ann Cassidy
TREE LADY - Heather Brown
WATER TESTER - George Geatches
SUPER TEACHER - Frank McKone
SHIRE PRESIDENT - Jim Saunders

 

PIANIST:

John Hill

I REMEMBER MAMA

By John Van Druten

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed August 1969

This was the entry for the 1969 NSW Arts Council's Drama Festival and opened in August 1969.  The producer was Rene Levenspiel.  (The adjudicator for 1969 was Robert Levis).  This is a play in two acts based on the novel by Katherine Forbes Mama's Bank Account.  It had 22 roles, and only one of these was doubled, so with 21 actors on stage it attracted new people to Wyong Drama Group as well as the usual stalwarts.

The play opens with Katrin Hanson, a young Norwegian girl living in San Francisco, reading from the manuscript of her autobiography. Then follow scenes from an important period of her life giving us glimpses of the career of this delightful, affectionate, impecunious family of Hansons.  Mama, the real heroine, is responsible ultimately for Katrin's literary career, in which I Remember Mama is her first success.  Period 1910.

Gallery of production and cast photos from I Remmber Mama. Click on each image to expand them.

Thanks to Marion Romig (nee Gingell) for these recollections about the play emailed to me in mid-2010:

"The play was quite successful, and was awarded "Best Play" in the Arts Council Festival for 1969.  Ten-year-old Stephen Clarke won the Best Young Actor in the Arts Council Awards and went to Sydney for a drama workshop.  He played the character Arne and he had to scream and moan in pain because he had a leg infection.  Uncle Chris carried him (the imposing Aubrey Brown) and it was very convincing.  The adjudicator said the next time he returned to see a play at Wyong a year or so later, that he hadn't gone to the professional production of  I Remember Mama in Sydney because he had already seen such a wonderful production from Wyong Drama Group.

 

 

"I was Dagmar in the play.  I was 9 years old.  My mother (Beth Gingell) was in it too.  I remember it very clearly.  Actually I remember everything that Bonnie Bryant acted in as she was truly moving - she could have been a professional if she had gone to Sydney. Gwen Clarke was also very talented..."

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Article about the success of the play, in an unknown newspaper (date unknown)

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Another article in an unknown newspaper (date unknown)

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The adjudication and photo of the award acceptance can be accessed below:

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Article from an unknown newspaper (date unknown).

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Article in the Wyong Advocate, 13 August 1969

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Article in late November in the Tuggerah Lakes News following release of the written adjudication by Mr Robert Levis.

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Article in theTuggerah Lakes News, 13 August 1969. Note: the article's title has been cropped on the original image, but it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to fill in the blanks.

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Article from an unknown newspaper (date unknown).

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Article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 21 November 1969

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The show programme is also available below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

KATRIN - Carlotta Payne
MAMA - Gwen Clarke
PAPA- John Werleman
DAGMAR - Marion Gingell
CHRISTINE - Mary Smith
MR. HYDE - Arthur Gleed
NELS - Victor Bryant
AUNT TRINA - Beth Gingell
AUNT JENNY - Bonnie Bryant
AUNT SIGRID - Mary Skidmore
UNCLE CHRIS - Aubrey Brown
DR. JOHNSON - Jim Ryan
MR. THORKLESON - Ted Bryant
FIRST NURSE - Pam Jones
CHARWOMAN
& SECOND NURSE - Mareka Scheple
ARNE - Stephen Clarke
SODA CLERK - Michael Wood
THE WOMAN - Dot Izzard
BELLBOY - Dean Gingell
MISS MOREHEAD - Marjorie Gleed
UNCLE ELIZABETH'S CUSTODIAN - Lorraine Hodinott

POST HORN GALLOP

By Derek Benfield

Produced by Bonnie Bryant

Performed November 1969

This was a rollicking farce to end the year presented over two nights, November 28 & 29, 1969.  It was produced by Bonnie Bryant.  We produced another Derek Benfield play in August 2000 (Running Riot), which again was a farce.

In his ancestral home Chester is once again menaced by his old enemies Capone and Wedgewood.  Lord Elrood lurks in the flowerbeds with his shotgun ready to defend himself from the butcher boy, the postman and any other suspicious characters.  Maggie and Bert turn up for a nose around the ancestral living room and find more than they bargained for!

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Alan Hicks and (we think) Jenny Bevan in a newspaper publicity shot, appearing in an unknown newspaper. Photo by Les Turton.

(View full-size image)

PRODUCED BY:

Bonnie Bryant

CAST:

ADA - Heather Brown
LORD ELROOD - Jim Saunders

LADY ELROOD - Mary Skidmore
PATRICIA - Pam Jones
MISS PARTRIDGE - Rene Levenspiel
CHESTER - Barry Payne
BERT - Frank McKone
MAGGIE - Jennifer Bevan
CAPONE - Bruno Marsonnet
WEDGEWOOD - John Werdmuller
GEORGE WILLIS - 
Alan Hicks

 
 
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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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