Dear Brutus (J. M. Barrie)

A dark comic fairy tale, somewhere between the Twilight Zone and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Several people meet at the country house of the mysterious Lob for a summer house party. They are Purdie, charming but pompous, his wife and her best friend, his mistress (unbeknownst to his wife); Will and Alice Dearth, a failed painter and his bitter, wealthy wife; the comic Mr & Mrs Coade and Lady Caroline, an imperious and domineering snob. The household is odd, the host eccentric, the butler menacing and possibly criminal.
There is a special, sinister, magical wood which can only be entered on Midsummer Night. Lob sends them off into it where it is finally revealed that what they all have in common is a desire for a second chance, which they will gain in the wood.

The Machiavellian Lob is the master puppeteer behind all of this and, like The Monkey’s Paw, the second chance they hope for is nothing like what they expect. Lady Caroline lets her hair down and falls in love with the butler who she thinks is a successful financier, Purdie has an affair with his wife while his infuriated mistress follows through the wood. Will Dearth gets the daughter he always longed for, a phantom ideal girl with strange premonitions of her own demise. Alice marries the man she thinks she should have married, who reduces her to rags through his gambling. There is wonderful insight into human behaviour and it is very funny and poignant by turns and tragic when Will Dearth leaves his little daughter “just for a moment” and she fades away, her cries lingering as echoes in the wood. When he “wakes up” inside the house he knows he has lost her. Alice, who now realises he is by far the better man, can do nothing for him. Purdie must realise he is a cad and there is an hilarious scene where he “comes to” and facing the two women who have now banded together, he isn’t sure which is his wife. Lady Caroline stands by her man until he is compulsively drawn to pick up the tea tray and much to her horror she realises she is having an affair with a butler. However, there is a flirtatious twist at the end which leads us to believe she may well pick up from where they left off in the wood.

The title comes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “our fate lies not in the stars but in ourselves”, meaning we are the masters of our own destiny, but as the story reveals, character is destiny.

(Synopsis courtesy of Dragonflyfilms.com.)

 

September 14-15, 2005
LAKtheater

Director: Ruud v/d Bovenkamp
Co-director: Ditmar Bakker

Set: Ruud v/d Bovenkamp, Lara Stanisic
Costumes: Gea Dreschler, Inge ‘t Hart
Make-up: Inge ‘t Hart, Birgit Plomp, Vera Willems, Ditmar Bakker
Lighting/Sound: Lara Stanisic
Runner: Marlous Zwetsloot
Voice coaching: Bert Botma, Robert Lankamp, Egbert Langras
Poster design: Lara Stanisic

CAST

Mr Coade: Matthijs van Zuilen
Mrs Coade: Annelies Driessen
Mr Dearth: Ditmar Bakker
Alice Dearth: Diedeke Smidt
Mr Purdie: Micah Westera
Mabel Purdie: Miranda Beij
Matey: Ruud v/d Bovenkamp
Lob: Egbert Langras
Lady Caroline: Froukje Henstra
Joanna Trout: Natasha Marks
Margaret: Elvira Bastán

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