|Original "Charley's Aunt" 1892|
The original play script was written by Brandon Thomas in 1892. "Charley's Aunt" was the most successful of his plays. It opened at the Theatre Royal in England. It concluded its record breaking run of 1,466 performances in 1893 at the Globe Theatre, setting historic records for plays of all kinds. It was also a success on Broadway in 1893. There have been film adaptations through the years. The most notable of the film adaptations, "Where's Charley", was released in 1952. It starred an actor who became famous for his lovable portrayal of a talking scarecrow in the mystical land of OZ and sang, "If I only had a brain." His name was Ray Bolger.
England is the geographic location of "Charley's Aunt". The setting is St. Olde's College, Oxford. The play is about two college chums(Charley and Jack) who are in love with a couple of girls(Amy and Kitty), an uncle of one of the girls, the father of one of the boys, a temporarily absentee rich aunt, and a reluntant fellow grad student the two boys coerse into cooperating in a scheme they concocted so they can spend some amorous time with their love interests. Picture in your mind an odd-looking Victorian old lady in a long black-satin dress with a cigar in her mouth. What starts out as an innocent deception evolves into a menagerie of humorous complications.
With the script already written, the Flowertown Players went to work on the material aspects of the production. Set design needed to be tackled. After designing the various components and calculating the proper dimensions on his computer, Ernie Eliason began work on the circular-rotating stage back in March around the same time as the Flowertown Festival in Summerville. It was then I visited the prop shop located in the back of the theater where the manual task of set construction begins. Ernie was marking and cutting the various top sections of the stage out of plywood according to a pre-cut pattern determined from his designs.
|Ernie Eliason working on stage construction|
|Rotating-circular stage and set construction|
|Yours truly working with Sean Lakey on the stage scenes|
Lord Fancourt Babberley - Matthias Burrell
Ela Delahay - Erin Gentry
Jack Chesney - John Black
Kitty Verdun - Alexa-Marie Acura
Charles Wykeham - David Whittington
Amy Spettigue - Lindsay Shattuck
Colonel Sir Francis Chesney - Barry Gordon
Donna Lucia d'Alvadorez - Lindsey Marie
Stephen Spettigue - Ken Malcolm
Brassett - Jerry Squires