West End Productions Presents Mike Leigh's ABIGAIL'S PARTY at N4th
ABIGAIL'S PARTY was devised and directed in 1977 by English playwright/director, Mike Leigh. Laurence and Beverly are entertaining their new neighbors, Angela and Tony, as well as their divorced neighbor, Susan. Susan's teenage daughter, Abigail, is having a party to which Susan is not invited. Over drinks and snacks, clichés and fatuous small talk abound. It is a suburban situation comedy of manners, and a satire on the aspirations and tastes of the new middle class that emerged in Great Britain in the 1970s.
According to director, Marty Epstein, "it is about relationships, about the British class structure in the late 1970's and the desires of the characters to move up that ladder into that next tier of society. It is about marital stress and financial pressures, trying to achieve that class movement on the backs or at the expense of others. By putting others down and poking, perhaps not so innocent, fun at others we make ourselves appear to be better and at the same time point out our insecurities. It is a fun and challenging piece as it is comedic with a dark side to it. Mike Leigh has fashioned a play about real people and real relationships and sometimes we just want to laugh about how absurd those things sometimes are."
The play opened at The Hampstead Theatre in London in April 1977, enjoying great success, leading to a revival over the summer of that year, which was another sellout. Mike Leigh began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid-1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s his career moved between theatre work and making films for BBC Television, many of which were characterized by a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His well-known films include the comedy-dramas Life is Sweet (1990), Secrets and Lies (1996), Career Girls (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biographical film Topsy-Turvy (1999), Vera Drake (2004), and Mr. Turner (2014).
The five outstanding actors are Tim Crofton, Jessica Osbourne, Colleen McClure, Laira Magnusson and Dean Squibb.
Marty Epstein most recently directed Neil Simon's Come Blow Your Horn at The Adobe Theater. For twenty-five years he has been directing at many venues in Albuquerque including The Nance at The Vortex Theatre last year. He is a CPA teaching full time at CNM Community College.
ABIGAIL'S PARTY is the third production this year from West End Productions as part of its inaugural season. Albuquerque's newest theater company, West End Productions exclusively performs plays, past and present, from the United Kingdom. ABIGAIL'S PARTY opens Friday, September 22nd and plays for four weekends through Sunday, October 15th. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Performances are at VSA North 4th Art Center located at 4904 4th St. NW. General admission tickets are $25 (online early ticket admission is $22 general, $18 seniors and students). Group discounts available. Tickets can be purchased via www.westendproductions.org. For more information visit the website or call 505-410-8524.