Birmingham Repertory Theatre to Present WOMAN IN MIND, 13-28 June
Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Dundee Rep Ensemble present Woman In Mind by Alan Ayckbourn, and directed by Marilyn Imrie. Performances run Friday 13 to Saturday 28 June. Press Night: Tuesday 17 June, 7pm.
Alan Ayckbourn's devastatingly funny play Woman In Mind opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 13 June. Directed by Marilyn Imrie and co-produced with Dundee Rep Ensemble Woman In Mind tells the story of a woman caught between two worlds.
One afternoon Susan finds herself lying on the lawn of her suburban garden, concussed by a garden rake and with the family doctor tending to her. Soon her adoring, handsome husband and the rest of the family arrive home to spoil her. But when her real husband - a vicar whose main love is writing the 60-page history of the parish - arrives home, we realise that Susan has created an entire fantasy family as an antidote to the real one. As Susan becomes increasingly bewildered, the two worlds start to overlap - and finally collide, leading to situations of hilarious but agonising awkwardness.
Alan Ayckbourn is the most frequently performed English language playwright in the world after Shakespeare. His award-winning plays include Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, The Norman Conquests and A Chorus Of Disapproval. Written in 1985, Woman In Mind is said to be radically different from Ayckbourn's earlier plays and one of his most powerful. As a middle aged woman descends into madness the entire play is seen through her eyes and reflects her perception of the world.
Meg Fraser (Macbeth for the RSC, All My Sons for Royal Lyceum Theatre) plays Susan, a woman with a vivid fantasy life, created as a means to cope with the banalities of her real life. She is joined by Andrew Wincott (Adam Macy in BBC Radio 4's The Archers) and young Scottish actor Scott Hoaston (Rocket in BBC Three's comedy Bluestone 42). The cast also includes Richard Conlon (Garrow's Law, Low Winter Sun), Neil McKinven (Silent Witness, Shetland), Irene MacDougall (Vanity Fair, Rab C. Nesbitt), Ncuti Gatwa (Cars and Boys for Dundee Rep) and Laura Dale (Sherlock).
Directing Woman In Mind is Marilyn Imrie who says of this production:
"I love Alan Ayckbourn's unerring ability, demonstrated perfectly in Woman In Mind, to tell a story that draws us in completely to the central character's predicament, and then asks us, with gentle mocking humour and sometimes broad farce, to consider their darkest sorrows as well as their joys.
Woman In Mind has one of the best parts I've come across for a woman; and that's what's always particularly drawn me to it as a director. It has the haunting mystery of Barrie's Mary Rose, the teasing elegance of Coward's Blithe Spirit, and casts an appraising comedic eye on how religious faith may sometimes blind us to the needs of those close to us, reminding us that many families, and the women central to them, live lives of quiet desperation."
Marilyn Imrie's recent productions include courtroom performances of To Kill a Mockingbird, Rumpole of the Bailey, and Hanged for Love: the Trial of Edith Thompson and Freddie Bywaters, all for the Bath Festival. For the Strabane Festival: a community play about the Irish humourist Flann O'Brien, written by Annie Caulfield, and an Edinburgh Festival Fringe production of biographer Diane Atkinson's Elsie and Mairi Go to War. She has directed eight of Liz Lochhead's plays, and new theatre works by John Byrne, Rona Munro, Colin MacDonald, Bill Paterson and Hattie Naylor. As a radio drama director and producer Marilyn Imrie's current work for BBC Radio 4 includes: the series The Stanley Baxter Playhouse, Rumpole of the Bailey with Benedict Cumberbatch, the Edinburgh set comedy Secrets and Lattes by Hilary Lyon, and a new award-winning play about Dusty Springfield with EastEnders star Charlie Brooks.
Designing Woman In Mind is Ti Green with lighting design by Mark Doubleday who recently designed A Christmas Carol at The REP. Ti Green was nominated for two Tony Awards in 2007 for Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design for Coram Boy for the National Theatre.