I was delighted recently to learn that the Drama Club had agreed that Lindsay Kennedy and I could co-direct Neil Simon’s comedy, California Suite, for the Spring production. Co-direct, you ask? How has that come about? Well some time ago I received the following email from Lindsay:
I have just read a very amusing play by Neil Simon. It is called California Suite. I don’t know if you know it. Cleverly, it follows a year in the life of a hotel suite and the different guests that occupy the room. Each has their own problems and story. It made me laugh! It also is full of pathos, so, a bit of everything for all tastes!
In fact, although trembling a little, I was wondering whether to put it forward to the committee as a possible Spring production for next year.
I would love to direct it but, having only directed one adult play before, plus loads of Reception class Nativities of course(!), I was wondering if you would like to join me on this one as Co-director?? I know we would all benefit from your experience and it would be fun to give it a go!!! What do you say??
Looking forward to hearing from you.
What a fine idea, I thought. As well as being flattered that Lindsay felt she could benefit from my experience with directing (all you actually have to do is direct from time to time and get old and hey presto – a wealth of experience!) the play is both amusing and thoughtful and sometimes pure slapstick. It was made into a film starring Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. And Neil Simon has a wonderful way with words and with comedy.
So, we decided to go ahead. I told Lindsay to heed the advice given in The Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy and stop trembling. We recently had our first meeting and are enthusiastically planning auditions in early January. Lindsay mentioned again that she has little experience with directing, except for countless children’s nativity plays, and was afraid she would treat the cast like the little school-kids. I suggested that might not be a bad thing! Jokingly, of course!
It’s a great play for the club to do, as there are juicy parts for actors of all genders and ages. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Lindsay and I will be meeting up again next week for more pre-planning and I’ll keep you up to date on progress.
Guest Blogger: Valerie Gerrard (Co-Director)