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The Fire, 26
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An English Heaven
& Is There Honey Still?
two one-act dramas
by Claire Jones
directed by John Hesselberg
Saturday & Sunday, September 11-12 & 18 at 2 p.m. & Sunday,
September 19, 2010 at 7 p.m.
Friday & Saturday,
November 12, 13, 19, & 20
at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday,
November 14 & 21, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
We regret that An English Heaven & Is
There Honey Still? has been cancelled because we were unable to cast
During World War I, women vent their
problems and emotions with each other while coping with their
husbands, sons and brothers fighting on foreign soil. Later, while
over there, the Nurses and VADS near the front see the worst of
the war and have to cope with the aftermath with great courage.
Cast: six-to-nine women (ages 15-60), two men, and one boy.
CAST of CHARACTERS
An English Heaven
Mrs. Lovegrove the Postmistress
Molly her niece, the telegraph girl
Marigold Collis a Farm-worker
Daisy Collis her older sister, working in munitions
Vicky Carter housemaid at the Hall
Jean Jackson a gypsy-ish mother of four children
Mrs. Skeet the Churchwarden's mother
Martha Comley manager of the Home Farm
Dorothy Smythe a VAD; guest at the Hall
Voices off the Postman
a small child
young man's "Voice over" [Optional]
The Scene is a General Store and Post Office in a small Surrey
village. It sells everything and is open all hours. It is now 7:25
a.m. on July 1st, 1916 and the store is open for the morning papers.
Is There Honey Still?
Elizabeth Kenyon A newcomer, to France, suffering badly
from travel-sickness. Neat, a little prim, and very professional.
Grace Jennings The night VAD. Has been nursing since the
beginning of the war. She comes from a respectable background, but a
rebellious streak led her into the suffragette movement and she
served time in prison. This, combined with her war experience have
made her very thick-skinned. She resorts to short-time affairs, as a
form of comfort. Though good-hearted, there is something damaged
Eve Hall Seriously ill, with a septic hand. Eve is also a
long-time VAD but her extreme pain has served to regress her into
Marie A French peasant-girl, whose family look after the
VADs. Untidy, a little sluttish, but good-hearted.
Lavinia (Vinnie) Montague Daughter of an aristocrat, Vinnie
began by regarding nursing as a delicate occupation for a wartime
lady, but when her eyes were opened, she often found it hard to
adjust. Members of her family have been killed and she has had
little time to grieve. The result is a restless, fidgety, sometimes
Dorothy (Thea) Smythe Vinnie's friend. Also from the upper
classes, though not as exalted as Vinnie. Thea is less abrasive than
Vinnie, and often a peace-maker, but she lost her fiancι - Vinnie's
brother - on the first day of the Somme offence and it is beginning
to send her off the rails.
Ruth Goldberg Ruth is a loner, rather shy. though very
clever and compassionate. She is Jewish, which causes some prejudice
with the others. [This was far more of a problem at the beginning of
the century]. Ruth says little; she has a strong sense of right and
Clare Lawrence A young war-widow. Clare nursed in France at
the beginning of the war, and married Walter Lawrence, originally a
college teacher, at the end of 1915. He joined up, feeling he must
'do his bit' in time for the beginning of the Somme campaign, and
was killed shortly afterwards. Clare is calm and capable, but you
get the impression that something has gone from within her.
Frances Lawrence Q.A.I.A.N.S. (Sister) A professional Army
Sister, in charge of the VADs, and an inflexible disciplinarian,
realizing that it is necessary to control emotions when there is
hard work to be done. She is Clare's sister-in-law, though this will
not be immediately acknowledged. She is, however, capable of some
sympathy and humour.
Is There Honey Still? is set in the Autumn of 1916, during
the cataclysmic Somme campaign of World War I, which was one of the
most terrible battles in war history. Enormous British losses were
experienced on the first day alone, many of them wiping out whole
generations of young men in areas of Britain. The Army Nurses and
VADS, on the spot throughout the campaign, saw the worst of it and
had to cope with the aftermath, often with great courage. The VADS
were completely voluntary, many were delicately raised and had no
idea of the work they would do. Somehow they coped, but at unknown
cost to themselves.
The Scene is a room in the Nurses' Quarters of a Field Hospital,
near the SOMME BATTLEFIELDS. Autumn 1916.
click on photo to view