'Enter a Free Man' , by Tom Stoppard
11-13th November 2004
|George Riley||Doug Hammond|
|Stage Manager||Bob Barnes|
|Technical Manager||Mark Rowlands|
From the Programme
A very warm welcome to our production this evening. This is the third Smart Alex Production in this theatre and I have had the privilege of playing dame in their 2nd Christmas pantomime King Arthur and now their director of Enter A Free Man.
Many people have asked whether Smart Alex is some sort of breakaway group, but in actual fact it is basically a way of drawing members from local groups together to stage productions purely for the benefit of the theatre. In these very depressing times when there are constant rumours about the demise of the theatre, every bit of help is needed.
This play has leading members from numerous local societies including The Bognor Regis Drama Club and BROS Musical Productions.
It was a great blow when BROS had to cancel their November production of The Mikado at this theatre, but at least The Mikado (Clive Curtis), Nanki Poo (Damian MacDonald) and one of the the Three Little Maids (Karen Robinson) can entertain you with this play whilst BROS plan their next production of ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ in the coming year.
As for me, I have a lot to be grateful for after many years treading the boards in this theatre. I first appeared here in May 1981 in ‘The Happiest Days of Your Life’ with the BRATS and in October of that year did ‘Salad Days’ with the Bognor Regis Drama Club.
There are so many to thank in helping to stage this production - a truly wonderful cast and also the tremendous help provided by Ashley House veteran John Hayward and his cousin Bob Barnes (the latter for the amazing grandfather clock and props), Bruce Stewart (the roof for ‘Riley’s Sponge Principle’), Karen Robinson (continuity) Kate Whitmill (continuity and Stoppard research) my wife Elaine Green in so many ways and last but not least the Alexandra Theatre staff including Ray and of course Mark (staging and advice on just about everything) and Natalie (lighting and sound).
It is a timely reminder when putting on a show in this theatre of the enormous amount of tireless voluntary commitment that Mark, Natalie and Ray put into this building.
I just hope that in out tiny way we can remind people that ‘regeneration’ is so much more than building more flats or more shops and things - if future generations are to be able to use proper theatre facilities like all those wonderful youngsters did in West Side Story last week, then we need to act quickly to safeguard and ‘regenerate’ our cultural heritage.
Anyway, the grandfather clock is about to make its patriotic chime and take us into the life of hapless inventor George Riley, his family and his pub friends as he tries to free himself from ‘dead domesticity’ and start a new life on the prospects of his latest invention - the reusable envelope.
The title of the play is drawn from the quotation of French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau - "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains" and in the hands of that remarkable writer Tom Stoppard I hope you will now have a wonderful evening of entertainment and help in some way to save our theatrical facilities.
Peter Green, Director
Some of George Riley's Inventions