It’s 1919, and the Conways, a prosperous Yorkshire family, are having a party to celebrate Kay’s twenty first birthday. Kay hopes to be a novelist. Hazel, the beauty, anticipates a romantic marriage. Madge wants to reform the world and marry the dashing young family lawyer. Carol, the baby of the family, spreads good cheer while Robin, back from war, is certain to have a good career. Alan is content to be an armchair philosopher. Their mother has high hopes for them all. But all will not turn out as planned…
The Conways, first seen in happy birthday party mood in 1919, play charades and get nowhere dramatically. But in the two succeeding acts we first move on 20 years to a squabbling family in crisis before shifting back to 1919 and the events which foreshadowed their subsequent despair. At the party Kay, with frightening clarity, sees her family twenty years in the future. They are petty, mean, and unfulfilled. Only Kay and her calm brother Alan, realize time is relative and that there is something fine and worthwhile beyond.
Time and the Conways, is one of Priestley’s famous “Time Plays”. It was founded on concepts from J. W. Dunne’s 1927 book An Experiment with Time. Dunne states that all Time is happening simultaneously; that is., that past, present, future are one and that linear Time is the only concept perceived by humans. The play spans a period of nineteen years from 1919 to 1937. Other Priestley “Time Plays” include I Have Been Here Before, Dangerous Corner and An Inspector Calls.
Time and the Conways continues to be performed regularly. It was adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 1994 and more recently in 2007 was revived by the National Theatre in London in an acclaimed production by Rupert Gould. There was also a BBC TV film version in 1985. His play, An Inspector Calls, was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1993 (1992 season) for Best Revival at the National Theatre.
Playwright John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford in 1894. On the outbreak of the First World War Priestley immediately joined the British Army. He was sent to France and in September 1915 took part in the Battle of Loos. After being wounded in 1917, Priestley was sent back to England for six months. Soon after returning to the Western Front he endured a German gas attack. When Priestley left the army he became a student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. At university Priestley he gained valuable experience by writing for the Cambridge Review. After completing a degree in Modern History and Political Science, Priestley found work as theatre reviewer with the Daily News. He also contributed
articles to the Spectator, the Challenge and Nineteenth Century..
Priestley also wrote popular novels such as The Good Companions (1929), Angel Pavement (1930) and over fifty plays; the most notable being Dangerous Corner (1932), Time and the Conways (1937), When We Are Married (1938) and An Inspector Calls (1947). Priestley co-founded the Common Wealth Party, a socialist organization, which lasted until the end of the war. In the fifties, Priestley became a founding member of the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament. In 1977, he was awarded the Order of Merit after, it is said, refusing a knighthood and a peerage. Priestley died in 1984 and was buried in his native Yorkshire.
Time and the Conways, is Brian Morton’s third directorial venture for Dundas Little Theatre, after Fair Liberty’s Call and The Suicide. He was the founder of Theatre Terra Nova, and in 1990 he was a partner in the Evelyn Group, which reopened the historic Tivoli Theatre as a venue for live performance with a production of Douglas Rodger’s play How Could You Mrs. Dick? Morton’s own stage plays include his adaptation of Sylvia Fraser’s My Father’s House, which has had four productions to date and was most recently done as a staged reading at the Grand Theatre in London in 2007. Other works include New Talent making it’s first appearance at the 2008 Hamilton Fringe and again in 2010 for an Ontario tour, The Adele Komorowski Project (McMaster University 2006), and Dreamer Within a Dream. He currently serves as the President of the Hamilton Fringe Festival.
Brian’s cast includes talented actors, Chris Cracknell, Sarah Zuccolo, Deb Dagenais, Alexandra Pope, Michelle LaHaise, Andrea Adcock, Natalie Ruginis, Andrew Southam, Gregory Cruikshank, and Ryan Trepanier. The production will be stage managed by Valerie VanLandschoot and will be designed by Peter Lloyd (set) and Sally Watson (costume).
Fifty years ago in the home of the late Don Garstin a group of local theatre enthusiasts created Dundas Little Theatre. Twenty years later, needing a place to call their own, a team of dedicated supporters and the (now former) Town of Dundas established a permanent site. The Garstin Centre For The Arts (a former swimming pool) was designed by Hamilton Place Architect Trevor Garwood-Jones; the pool was filled in and the auditorium built over it. In 1980 a “creative space” rather than a proscenium stage, with raised seats on moveable risers, was created. Highly adaptable, this unique space is transformed as the vision of each director is realized.
Performances of Time and the Conways are at the Garstin Centre for the Arts, 37 Market Street in Dundas. The schedule is:
Friday Oct. 21 @ 8:00p.m., **Saturday Oct. 22 @ 8:00p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 27 @ 8:00p.m., Friday Oct. 28 @ 8:00p.m., Saturday Oct. 29 @ 8:00p.m.
Thursday Nov. 3 @ 8:00p.m., Friday Nov. 4 @ 8:00p.m., Saturday Nov. 5 @ 8:00p.m.
Tickets for the show are $18.00 (with $13.00 Students/Seniors (65+) discounts for Thursday performances only). For ticket information or to make a reservation, please call 905-627-5266 or visit our website at www.dundaslittletheatre.com
** Dundas Little Theatre is offering a special meal and show package for our Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 show. Buy early and secure a spot at the Winchester Arms Restaurant. Just add $25 to our already low price of $18 a ticket. Simply arrive at The Winchester Arms Restaurant at 6:00pm, and you’ll enjoy a salad, entrée (one of three choices), dessert & coffee.
For more information: (905) 627-1620
The Dundas Little Theatre website at www.dundaslittletheatre.com, contains a wealth of information about the company’s past work, as well as plans and announcements for the 2011-2012 season.