Combine a German Officer and a British Corporal disguised as a village vicar, with the village vicar himself, a Bishop and yet another vicar. Add to that the drama of the antics of the vicar’s wife, a spinster a loud mouthed cockney maid and a suspicious village sergeant on the prowl, and the result can only be
And it is indeed ‘Chaos at the Vicarage’- an apt re-naming of Phillip King’s 1945 comedy ‘See How They Run’- presented by the Creative Arts Foundation, directed by Trudy Herft and produced by Jith Peiris. The play will be staged at the Lionel Wendt on September 23, 24 and 25.
Performed once again in Colombo after over 30 years, the farce still seems to retain its humour, judging by the frequent gales of laughter which erupt during rehearsals as the cast brings what they agree is a very cleverly written, entertaining script to life.
“It is one of those classics,” comments Jith, describing the nostalgia the play carries with its post World War II setting and the humour which- though somewhat dated- still appeals to an audience of which the majority have little idea of life in the 1940’s. “It’s a very British comedy,” he says, “full of all the subtlety and puns that we associate with British humour. While the audience responds very well to
humour which revolves around slapstick comedy and almost excessive use of ‘Singlish’, this play is quite different.
It is humorous in the way Oscar Wilde wrote his comedies: there is farce- and in this case chaos- involved but it is not of the sort so often seen in comedy today.”
“The play promises to be different from what has been presented by the Creative Arts Foundation so far,” continues Jith. “When the foundation was established 25 years ago, it was with the intention of encouraging more young talent in the drama circuit. Accordingly, we picked on Trudy Herft to make this her directional debut.
At 21 years of age, Trudy appears to have taken up the challenges of directing with admirable confidence, poise and attention to detail.
Despite the usual challenges of putting up a reasonably large scale production, the cast agrees that amidst the chaos of the scenes they enact, the experience of the production is comfortable and laid back. “Trudy has a very clear vision of what needs to be done; and that makes things very easy for the rest of us, comments Kanishka Herat who will take on the role of the well meaning Bishop of Lax.
“I feel that I have grown immensely from what I was a few months ago,” reflects Trudy. “I have been used to directing plays on school level and I am a teacher of Speech and Drama, but this is quite different. There is an amazing load of responsibility; and I feel that I have learnt a lot.
The biggest challenge sometimes is to have the production and performance as a whole, look exactly as it does in the vision you have of it before you begin work on directing. Sometimes the actors have a different perception of how things should be and what they are comfortable doing; and its very interesting to see what those perceptions are and put together something which is slick, polished, entertaining and memorable.
Tickets for ‘Its Chaos at the Vicarage-priced at Rs. 1500,1000,750 and 550 are available at the Lionel Wendt.