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It’s A Total Farce! : An Interview with Simon Gleisner

Simon Gleisner talks about directing Ray Cooney’s Two Into One and the challenges staging a farce presents.

What made you decide to direct this particular play?

I chose this play because I love doing comedy, but I think it’s a real challenge to do well. And with farce, there’s no escape – there’s no underlying meaning, no hidden depths, no great social message. It’s about making people laugh. So the pressure is on!

Your last SLT show as director was School for Scandal – are there parallels?

The School for Scandal is a Restoration comedy, so you can see the farce connection there, although it had a whole different range of challenges – but just as with Two into One, making it relevant to a modern audience is one of them.

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The play was first produced in 1981. How do you think it will appeal to a 21st century audience?

When Two for One was first performed, things were different, and in some ways it is very much of its time. Some of the attitudes in the play would be a little less acceptable now, but the fundamental story – of people desperately seeking ‘a bit of the other’ and being thwarted at every turn – is just as relevant as it ever was!

What’s proving to be the most challenging element of directing the play?

The most difficult part of directing the show is about making sure that the audience get on to a roller coaster ride of laughter. Rehearsing for this – particularly on a wet Wednesday evening, after a day at work, going over the same few lines again and again to make sure we get the joke right – is very challenging, so a huge thank you, to my ever-patient and very talented cast.

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Who’s in the cast?

We have a mix of seasoned members and some who are new to SLT:

The Rt Hon Richard Willey MP – Peter Bond
Pamela Willey – Eileen Coan
Receptionist – Kim Goldsmith
The Hotel Manager – Jack King
Lily Chatterton MP – Audrey Lindsay
Maria – Deborah Dubosq
George Pigden – Will Howard
Jennifer Bristow – Stephanie Hayward
Edward Bristow – Tom Watts
Waitress – Christine Theophilus

The show runs in the Main Hall at Stanley Halls, May 10-14 and tickets are on sale and available here.