show
The Maskers' Studio Theatre
22 - 27 October 2018

Performances at 7:30pm.  

Telephone bookings 0333 666 3366 (booking fee applies to phone bookings)

This play contains strong language. Suitable for ages 14 & over

The amateur production of 'Happy' is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD

Lying to ourselves is just the start

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The Reviews

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22 Ocotber 2018

Alfred is happy and Melinda his wife is happy. Eduardo is happy but Eva his girlfriend is not happy. This is how Robert Caisley’s slick four-hander opens, in the ideal setting of the Maskers’ intimate studio theatre.

The premise is a simple one (we wish!) – Eduardo and Alfred are old friends who go way back. Eduardo has invited Alfred and Melinda to dinner, with the purpose of introducing them to his new (and much younger) girlfriend Eva. Alfred and Melinda, despite having a teenage special needs daughter, are constantly upbeat about everything, always finding the positives in every aspect of their lives. Alfred and Eva meet unexpectedly at the start of the evening, and, in a tense opening exchange, Eva starts to question Alfred about his life, his marriage, his family, his career and his aspirations, but all the while responding with sarcastic quips and more piercing questions. Alfred maintains his positive stance throughout, though the signs, even this early in the play, are that that he might just be somewhat dissatisfied with his lot.

Eduardo finally arrives, keen to show off his new partner to his old friend, but Eva infuriatingly continues her questioning stance to both men – “I don’t trust happy people” she says, “they’re lying to themselves”. And this very much proves to be the case as the evening progresses; copious amounts of gin and wine are drunk, and gradually personalities start to be peeled away and home truths come messily to the surface. Even Melinda, devoted wife, mother to a sick daughter, and hitherto the epitome of happiness, realises that she needs more in her life and has started her own business to give her life more purpose. At the end of the play she is has decided to cut her hair short, as a symbolic rebellion against the style she has had for so many years.

The four actors keep us on the edge of our seats the whole evening. Jonathan Barney-Marmont’s finely-judged Alfred starts out as a seemingly lovable happy-go-lucky chap, rising above the various misfortunes that life has brought. By the end of the evening (and having been beaten up in the street in a somewhat bizarre sub-plot) his drunken, resentful tirade against his old friend Eduardo sees him become a very different character to the one we met at the outset.

As his hitherto happy wife, Maria Head imbued the character of Melinda with great sympathy, and we could see her fighting to stay positive in the face of all the home truths being exchanged.

Ian Wilson’s Eduardo is all smiles and good nature as he introduces his friends to his new partner but ends the evening in sullen silence as the insults fly.

Marilyn White has the best of the evening as the maddeningly irritating Eva, questioning everything and everyone, but giving away very little, maintaining her self-control while all around are losing theirs. But is she happy?

- Ed Howson

Are you really happy?

Alfred and Melinda are a married couple with their fair share of troubles. Despite all they have been through, they remain positive and happy. Whatever life throws at them they can take it and keep the smiles on their faces.

However, when they are invited to a dinner party at the apartment of Eduardo, a long-time artist friend of Alfred’s, they encounter his new girlfriend. Eva, forty years Eduardo’s junior, has a very different outlook. As the drinks and questions start to flow, stories come out and long buried feelings begin to surface in an evening Alfred and Melinda will never forget.

In this sharp and deep comedy, upcoming playwright Robert Caisley invites the audience to consider the true nature of human emotion and whether we really do have to be happy all the time.

Director & Cast

The Director of this production is Robert Osborne
Robert joined Maskers in 2011 and over the last seven years has taken on a variety of roles. He has appeared onstage as a shy art student in Sitting Pretty, a gruff Yorkshireman in Wuthering Heights and a conflicted son in Antigone to name but a few. He also won the Maskers Dave Bartlett award for his performance as the slimy Chief Clerk in Metamorphosis. He has also worked tirelessly backstage as a stage and production manager at venues including the studio, the Nuffield, the Berry, Hangar Farm and in the open air at Hamptworth where he won the Lockett award for best backstage role. He is stepping into the director’s shoes for the first time and has loved the new challenges of bringing this poignant and funny play to the stage.

Alfred - (he is happy) is played by Jonathan Marmont
Jonathan has been a member of Maskers for a few years now and also of other societies. Previously, Jonathan has played Gregor Samsa in Metamorphosis for which he received the Best Actor In A Drama Curtain Call Award for 2016. Following that was a stint at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton in An Inspector Calls. Then an outdoor production playing Professor Higgins in Pygmalion. More recent roles last year include Boby in An Italian Straw Hat at The Nuffield and Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice for RAODS. A recent production saw him back in the open air at Hamptworth Lodge near Romsey playing Phileas Fogg in Around The World In 80 Days. Its been a busy couple of years! Jonathan enjoys playing a wide variety of characters which is just as well as Michal in The Pillowman in his last production could not be more different to any role he has played before

Melinda - (she is happy) is played by Maria Head
Maria has been a member of Maskers for many years and has played a wide variety of roles which include Mistress Page from The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sonya in Afterplay, Marmee in Little Women and the scary Annie Wilkes in Misery.
Although Melinda is not such a scary part, she is as wonderfully eccentric in her own way and Maria is looking forward to the production enormously.

Eduardo - (he is happy) is played by Ian Wilson
Ian has been a member of Maskers for about 11 years and since joining, has played the King of England, a ham actor (really?), a barman in deepest Ireland, a rather tardy shopkeeper and a lepidopterist. In his last production he played the fool in Wyrd Sisters, he was fairly happy at the end, so is looking forward to being happy again albeit without a tricorn hat and bells.

Eva - (she is NOT happy) is played by Marilyn White
As the premiere performance for both the UK and Maskers, Marilyn is thrilled to be a part of the Happy production to take on the role as the antagonist - a first time for her! Previously residing and acting in Singapore, Marilyn has played a variety of roles from Celia in Calendar Girls to Roberta in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea but nobody quite like Eva. Marilyn looks forward to bringing Eva to life as well as the truth of (un)happiness to light.

Front of House Announcer is played by Ashley Stout...

Creative Team

Production Manager
Paul Green
Mentor to the Director
Paul Green
Stage Manager
James Norton
Set Designer
Emma James
Set Construction
Robert Osborne, Paul Green, Adam Taussik, Emma James, David Cowley, Eric Petterson
Set Painting
Robert Osborne, Emma James, Jill Desborough
Set Dressing
Adam Taussik
Lighting Designer
David Cowley
Lighting Operator
David Cowley, Mille Webb & SJ Wareham
Sound Designer
Tom Foyle
Sound Consultant
Jamie McCarthy
Sound Operator
Eric Petterson & Peter Court
Costume Design & Wardrobe
Hazel Slawson & Anna Hussey
Properties & Furniture
Adam Taussik & Jo Fox
FOH Manager
Chris Baker
Rehearsal Prompt
Val Struthers

Ticket Information

Tickets £11

No concessions

Downloads


Programme
Available after the performance

For the Maskers

Technical Manager:- Jamie McCarthy;   Lighting Consultant:- Clive Weeks;   Sound Consultant:- Jamie McCarthy;   Marketing Director:- Sarah Russell;   Marketing Team:- Angela Stansbridge, Kate McCraken, Clive Weeks, Robert Osborne, Meri Mackney, Paul Baker;   Front of House Manager:- Chris Baker;   Box Office Manager:- Chris Baker;   Photography:- Clive Weeks, Stuart Gray, & Ian Wilson;   Bar Manager:- Meri Mackney
 
 
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Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
Shirley
Southampton
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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