Marina Evans-Tinkler’s debut stage play is inspired by the perennial problem for amateur theatre companies.
Co-directed by Marina and by Emma Millard, Not Enough Men will be performed by Stage-Door Theatre Company from Wednesday to Saturday, July 18-21 at the Windmill Theatre, Littlehampton. Performances are at 7.30pm. Tickets are on 01903 856801.
“I have been a member of Stage-Door for a couple of years now. My partner has been a member since it founded, and I have done one show.
“I have mostly written short stories before. This is my first attempt into play-writing. Initially it all stemmed from a conversation about two years ago with my partner and his best friend saying that generally amateur theatre everywhere suffers from the same selection of problems: there are personality clashes and everybody has their own ideas how to do something and so on. And the conversation carried on that the problems come down in the end to a lack of men, that there just are not enough men. And that idea set off something in my mind. I was in amateur theatre quite a lot when I was a teenager, and I added together all that happened and mixed it around a little bit.
“When two of the regular cast members wanted to direct something and the play turned out to be not that good, I said that I had an idea. I had most of it in my mind, and so I wrote it for this instance. I was writing it in December and I said I might have something if they can wait.
“It is set in Barnstead Village Amateur Dramatic Society who are just about to put on a Noel Coward play called I’ll Leave It To You. They are auditioning and they don’t have an ideal selection of people for the cast. We follow their rehearsal process from the initial read-through to the opening night, with all the different problems that come up.”
Marina was hoping to be able to write the play and then simply hand it over, but in keeping with the subject of the play, one of the directors pulled out and Marina found herself stepping in. And then the “irony fairy” struck again when Marina found herself having to step into the play itself in a bit part.
“But the cast have been brilliant. It has been really heartening to see them taking the material and making it so much funnier than I ever expected and to see them enjoying rehearsals.”
Marina, who lives in Worthing, says she found the writing process fun – and the rehearsal process both fun and rather strange:“It really is quite strange to have people walking around in front of you saying words that were in your own head! But it is great. The cast are doing brilliantly at bringing it all to life, and Emma is a fantastic director to work with.”
By day, Marina is a teacher, teaching English and maths functional skills at Asphaleia training centre in Worthing.