This weekend the Rotherfield Players will be putting on Neil Simon’s classic Plaza Suite. We spoke to their Chairperson Andy Miller about the production and the secret to the group’s ongoing success.
How long have the Rotherfield Players been around?
Forty years. We performed our first production ‘The Happiest Days of Your Life’ in April 1976. It was directed by Alison Organ, the group’s original founder. Her daughter, Rachel Martin, has a leading role in this year’s Plaza Suite and her grandson, Dan Shaw, also features as the bellboy.
What is your approach to theatre?
We like to enjoy ourselves, whether we’re rehearsing or performing. We try to encourage the development of youngsters in the group and hope we achieve the highest quality performances possible.
How many members do you have?
Just over a hundred but we always welcome new ones, whether they wish to act, direct, produce, construct sets or do costumes. We also welcome any level of experience from none to professional.
Who can join the Rotherfield Players?
Anyone from the age of ten upwards. The age range of our members is from ten to eighty plus.
How often do you put on performances?
We have in the past put on three to four productions each year, giving a mix of panto, serious drama, comedy and musicals.
Where do you perform?
Most of our productions are performed in Rotherfield Village Hall but we have also acted out Shakespearean pieces in the Kings Arms’ garden, Little Voice in the Memorial Institute, and Godspell was put on in St Denys Church in 2007.
Why did you decide to do Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite?
It is a witty and entertaining set of one act plays giving a chance for three different sets of actors to perform a starring role, without the strain of learning the whole of a two hour production.
The action takes place in Suite 719 of the famous Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Play one explores the marriage vow ‘for better or for worse’. Play two is a sleek exercise in calculated seduction and play three is about a volatile man trying to cope with his daughter’s intransigence on her wedding day.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
We’re performing The Hound of the Baskervilles, in association with The Pantiles Players in July and will be putting on Annie get your Gun in October.
Plaza Suite can be seen from May 12 to 14 at 19.30 at Rotherfield Village Hall. Tickets are available from Rotherfield village stores and from the box office.