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Talking Heads Comes to St Paul’s Church

Alan Bennett

By Phoebe Greyson

This week’s Playreaders Theater performance brings us two more of what will now be six of Alan Bennett’s much celebrated Talking Heads, a series of dramatic monologues written for BBC television first broadcast in 1988 and 1998. The series has been produced as a play at the West End Theater in London, in Los Angeles, in New York, and, in part, as a Masterpiece Theater production on PBS. It has become part of the standard reading syllabus for A-levels study in English public schools. It features monologues for ten women (eleven, if you count A Woman of No Importance, one of tonight’s plays) and two men.

The first piece, A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, focuses on the subject of aging and the gradual loss of function and status that insidiously eats away at the foundations of our identity. The piece, an adaptation of Bennett’s original version, is set in Maine.

The second work, A Woman of No Importance, offers a poignant illustration of the ways in which, no matter how ordinary our lives, we manage to find consolation in the thought that we are regarded by others as special and necessary.

Bennett is an insightful, poignant writer with the ability to articulate without emphasis or fanfare the tragic, quietly desperate internal dialogue of seemingly ordinary people. His characters are mesmerizing in their refusal to perceive their circumstance as anything but business as usual. Like the three-legged dog, they soldier on, failing to notice that something important is missing.

Talking Heads will be presented in the Parish Hall of St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, February 20, 21, and 22. Lois Reed plays Doris in A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, and Phoebe Greyson plays Peggy in A Woman of No Importance. Greyson directs. Lou Barranti does lights and sound.

Tickets go on sale at 6:45 each evening on a first-come-first-served basis. Doors open at 7pm. Ticket holders must be present at 7pm when the doors open, or their ticket may be resold. The play commences at 7:30pm, or earlier if the house is full before that time. Admission is 20 pesos.



[Bennett’s] ability to get under the skin of such withdrawn people and write about them with such empathy, compassion, and wry (often gallows) humour makes him not just a great writer but the definitive chronicler of a certain kind of English ordinariness, whose outwardly placid surface conceals inner turmoil as intense as anything displayed by the more emotionally articulate.

¾Michael Brooke, Screenonline



Talking Heads

By Alan Bennett

Tue–Thu, Feb 20–22, 7:30pm

St. Paul’s Church

Cardo 6

20 pesos



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