What inspired you to direct this play?
I co-directed it (for Group Theatre Company) in 1985 and it is a play that has always stuck in my mind. Then I was (nagged) encouraged to submit it by my brother, Sean, (who learned his craft on the 118 lighting cues!) so when SLT was looking for one act/small cast plays that could be performed with social distancing it seemed a perfect fit and I decided to have my first go at directing for SLT!
Why do you think this play works well being performed in an online capacity?
The whole play takes place over the telephone with this group of women trying to arrange to meet for lunch. As they are each in their own home on landlines it immediately occurred to me that, being so static and involving no physical interaction it would probably work well online and I (hopefully) think it does! The cast have worked very hard, despite being physically distanced and never having met, to make an intimate, ensemble piece work in a completely different medium to the one intended!
Tell us a bit about the characters we’ll meet?
It’s the mid 1980s and we meet four friends, Jay, Bee, Dee and Vee. They have given up work to be full time wives and (for some) mothers and they are all dealing with this in their own way. Although they meet up at occasional local events they don’t really socialise so have decided they must have lunch together but life keeps getting in the way! We hear about husbands, children, orthodontists, schools, assessment centres, ponies, music lessons…then there is also the problem of what they are going to do about Kay!
What’s been the biggest challenge directing a play for an online performance?
For this play the biggest challenge has definitely been that we cannot use lighting effects to signify changes in the conversations! Also due to being isolated and having a cast spread over a wide geographical area (distance no object to casting on Zoom!) they have each had to take responsibility for their own set, costume and props. However, thanks to great telephone/magazine logistics by Kay George, we were able to help out a bit with props! The other technical issues we’ve had to overcome have been brilliantly handled by David Blatcher with great support from more experienced SLT-ers!
What do you hope the audience will take away from this play?
I really hope the audience will enjoy eavesdropping on the lives of the ‘Lunch Girls’!!! Perhaps they will also reflect that, as this wry observation of the way that conversation doesn’t always equate to communication also highlights, for some, the isolation that we are currently experiencing isn’t something new or unusual.
Lunch Girls runs March 25-27 via Zoom