Spanish play at Arundel Festival

The Coasters Theatre group.
The Coasters Theatre group.

A new theatre company springs to life at this year’s Arundel Festival when Coasters Theatre present A Spanish Play at The Victoria Institute from Friday-Sunday, August 17-19 at 7.45pm, directed by Caroline Woodley

Yasmina Reza’s play features a group of five actors who are rehearsing a play-within-a-play.

Graham Till, one of the actors, said: “It’s a little group of us that have done bits and pieces together before, mostly for Drip Action (theatre company in Arundel). We have individually and collectively done things for (Drip Action artistic director) Bill Brennan there.

“We’ve done it on a semi-private basis, sometimes with public performance, and we decided that it was time to do something a bit more substantial. We decided to look around for something suitable for us to do and came up with this Reza play.

“We applied to the agents in the States. They were a little bit surprised to be approached and didn’t quite know how to handle it. We ended up with a professional contract. In the States they don’t talk about professional and amateur; they talk about first class and second class. On the contract it says that we are doing a first-class performance. We wrote back and said we are amateurs, but they said that’s fine, it’s just the wording on the contract!”

Next a company name was needed. Originally they had adopted the name Wayfarers, a title suggested by a name in a Pinter play: “But Bill said ‘That’s a pretty weedy name!’ He doesn’t mince his words. One of our number has a cottage called Coasters Cottage, and so we called ourselves Coasters.”

In the play, five actors are rehearsing a play. In between a sequence of scenes in the play, the actors offer monologues about themselves and their view of their life in acting.

“And gradually over the life of the whole play, you get a sense that the separation between the actors and the parts they are playing gradually disappears. By the end of the piece, the characters are the actors are the characters who are the actors.

“By the end, the whole thing ends on a note of uncertainty. For me it has echoes of Pinter, even though the writing style here is diametrically the opposite to Pinter…”

Cast (in order of appearance): Actor (Fernan) - Graham Till; Actor (Pilar) - Marlene Tincknell; Actor (Mariano) - Paul Jones; Actor (Aurelia) - Lauretta Tomlinson; and Actor (Nuria) - Pam Luxton.

Tickets are £10 (£9 Victoria Institute Members and £6 students) and are available in advance from The Book Ferret, 35 High Street Arundel. Telephone 01903 885727. Tickets may also be bought on the door (space permitting).

Graham added: “Coasters Theatre would be happy to hear from actors of all ages interested in joining our loose, informal group to put on mostly modern plays that are a little out of the ordinary, are transportable ie require little in the way of sets, and suit intimate, atmospheric venues.”

Contact Caroline Woodley on 07595 024517 or Graham Till on 07866 370263.