The long Christmas dinner by Thornton Wilder was written in 1931. It covers a period of nine decades and showcases several generations of the Bayard family at their Christmas dinner table. Thornton Wilder breaks the boundaries of time, as we measure it, inviting us to partake in one long, familiar Christmas dinner, past, present and future. As generations appear, have children, wither and depart, only the audience appreciates what changes and what remains the same. ‘Every last twig is wrapped around with ice. You almost never see see that,’ Genevieve marvels, not realising that her mother has made this observation years earlier, nor that her daughter-in-law will one day do the same. This play is a gently paced reflection on the idea that every present moment comes from the past.
Thornton Wilder wrote of this play: Of all my plays this is the one that has found the widest varieties of receptions. At some performances it has been played to constant laughter; some audiences are deeply moved and shaken by it; some find it cruel and cynical – ‘What? The dead are forgotten so soon?’
Plaza suite is a comedy written by Neil Simon and was first performed on Broadway in 1968. As a whole it consists of three short plays in which the action takes place in room 719 of the Plaza Hotel. The English theatre Company is proud to present the third of these plays.
Norma and Roy Hubley are ready to celebrate their only daughter’s wedding day. But there is a major problem. In a rush of nervousness the panicked bride has locked herself in the suite’s bathroom and is refusing to leave her porcelain sanctuary. Her frantic parents are fighting about the best way to lure their daughter out, increasingly aware that the bridegroom and gathered guests are awaiting her arrival downstairs. As the pressure mounts they unwittingly lay bare the reality of their own marriage.
This play has been described as a ‘slapstick love letter to marriage written with a poison pen.’ It certainly lives up to that description!