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by Peter Shaffer

Directed by Duncan Sykes
October 13, 14 & 15, 2016

Lettice Douffet Marian Lally
Lotte Schoen Jo Williams
Mr Bardolph Mark Kimsey
Surly Man Graeme Gibault (Thursday)
Dave Bowers (Friday)
Roy Oldfield (Saturday)
Miss Framer Sue Worker (Thursday)
Estelle Dunham (Friday)
Alison Wyatt (Saturday)
Visitors to Fustian House Dorothy Bentote, Claire Bishop
Dave Bowers, Valerie Clarke
Estelle Dunham, Graeme Gibault
Emma Kimsey, Gwenllian Leach
Diane Maltz, Roy Oldfield
Barbara Plummer, Barbara Williams
Sue Worker, Alison Wyatt

Scene 1: The Grand Hall of Fustian House, Wiltshire. Various times of day.
Scene 2: Miss Schoen's Office at the Preservation Trust,
               Architrave Place, London 3pm the following day.

Miss Douffet's basement flat, Earl's Court, London. Late Afternoon

The same flat. Six months later. Early evening

Programme Notes (extract)       [ Photographs ]

Peter shaffer, who died earlier this year, wrote Lettice and Lovage in 1987. He was already a successful playwright by then and had received critical aclaim, and occasionally alternative opinions, for his work, notably for Amadeus, Equis and The Royal Hunt of the Sun.The last of these was writtenin 1964 and was one of the earliest productions to be staged at the newly-built National Theatre on the South Bank. Black comedy is regarded as one of the classic comedies of post-war theatre.

A constant theme within Shaffer's body of work was the relationship betweenkey characters. In Amadeus, for instance, the play is dominated by the personality clashes and professional rivalry between Mozart and Salieri. In The Royal Hunt of the Sun, he focuses on the relationship between the spanish and the Incas - only the scale marginally different!

Lettice and Lovage very much works through the relationship between the two key characters, Lettice Douffet and Lotte Schoen. The play charts the evolution of this relationship, combustible yet enchanting, and in a style that is lightly comedic but also sympathetic. Arguably it was also a mechanism for Shaffer to explore empathetic issues of his own, such as the impact of town planning, building styles and the treatment of older workers. However, there is no basis for this argument - just the director's instinct!

Shaffer is understood to have written this play with Maggie Smith solely in mind for the part of Lettice. She was a close friend of the playright and performed in the first production in Bath in 1987, with Margaret Tyzack taking the role of Lotte. They both also appeared in the production when it opened for the first time on Broadway in 1990. The character of Lettice is a wonderful, if rather daunting, opportunity for an actress to display and develop a wide range of theatrical emotions, and Mmaggie Smith clearly enjoyed making the most of this, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress on Broadway. Tyzack, not to be over-shadowed, won Best featured Actress in a Play in the same awards.