Current CADS production
Strangers on a Film
by Stephen Wyatt
Our next venture includes something of a world exclusive! Local author Roy Maddox recently adapted a short radio play called Strangers on a Film by novelist and script writer Stephen Wyatt, which we were to have entered into several local drama festivals; the process was due to start with the Sawston Festival in March where it would have received its first ever live public performance, but recent circumstances meant that the Festival didn't happen. We were also hoping to perform at the 86th Welwyn Drama Festival in May and the Cambridge Festival of Drama in September but these, too, had to be cancelled; this year's Royston Arts Festival was also a "virtual" event. We continue to plan for performances as soon as these become feasible again, and when we do finally stage it, it'll most likely be in year's a special double bill with the bizarrely titled Six Dead Queens... and an Inflatable Henry, which was originally devised by Foursight Theatre, formerly based in Wolverhampton. Read on!
Strangers on a Film
This play, based on real events, imagines a series of encounters in 1950 between film director Alfred Hitchcock and thriller writer Raymond Chandler. Hitchcock was, at the time, looking for someone to write a screenplay for his next film, which was to be an adaptation of the novel Strangers on a Train, the debut novel by Patricia Highsmith. An admirer of Chandler's work, Hitch approached him to work on the screenplay, though relations between the two men turned out to be far from harmonious - Chandler, being an author, wanted the script to be true to the book, whereas Hitchcock simply wanted to make a visually exciting movie and didn't much care for the niceties of the plot; indeed, he changed much of what was in the original story to suit his vision of what would make a good thriller.
Strangers on a Film somewhat ambitiously charts the increasingly acrimonious relationship between the two men, told through a mixture of individual meetings and direct addresses to the audience, and illustrated with projected film, animation and still images. It's basically a two-hander though it also uses a chorus of non-speaking "extras" to play some minor roles and to act out a couple of scenes from the proposed movie.
Six Dead Queens... and an Inflatable Henry
Six Dead Queens is a tale of three Catherines, two Annes and one Jane – the ill-fated wives of Henry VIII - reunited for a sort of girly (ghostly?) sleepover. It's boisterous, farcical, slightly bawdy and immensely entertaining and weaves together history, comedy, satire, slapstick and song in truly surreal fashion. David Atkins is directing the play, and there are, needless to say, only six parts involved, all female! The play was recently auditioned using the Zoom meeting app and now been cast with the following actors (those not shown in white are all making their CADS debuts): Catherine of Aragon - Rebecca Aloneftis, Anne Boleyn - Tasha Hill, Jane Seymour - Sophie Whitton, Anne of Cleves - Sarah Beadle, Katherine Howard - Becky Seakins, Catherine Parr - Connie Boulis.
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