Last Sunday I photographed the Sudbury Dramatic Society as they completed a dress rehearsal of their play “Separate Tables” The play will be on at The Quay Theatre in Sudbury between the 1st and 5th March 2011. Director Sue Clark gives a synopsis of the play below together with details of how to obtain tickets.
Separate Tables reveals the personal trials of a group of distinct people, all of whom reside at the Hotel Beauregard in Bournemouth, England. Major Pollock (Carl Duffy) is a garrulous man who speaks of nothing but his stellar war record. Sybil Railton-Bell (Lorna Hollister) the meek, introverted daughter of the high-handed Mrs. Railton-Bell (Lucy Foster), has developed a great affection for him, much to her mother’s displeasure. An article about Pollock surfaces in a newspaper, exposing him as a fraud, recently arrested for lewd behaviour in a movie theatre. Mrs. Railton-Bell holds a residents meeting to try and have him evicted. Though the others don’t approve of Pollock’s behaviour, she is the only one that wants to see him go. But she is a very forceful woman, and tells the hotel owner, Miss Cooper (Sarah Harvey-Wade), that she must ask him to leave. Meanwhile, Sybil becomes hysterical over her disillusionment.
Another tenant is writer John Malcolm (Joseph James). He is engaged to be married to Miss Cooper -until his estranged ex-wife, Ann Shankland (Belinda Hasler), arrives at the Hotel Beauregard. She is a beautiful, but vain and self-centered former fashion model. Ann says the reason she has come is to help John and make amends. Their marriage ended five years ago when her aloofness finally made him fly into a rage and attack her. He still mistrusts her, but she works her charm and soon has him at her feet again. Yet John can’t get over the past and feels Ann hasn’t changed. They have another fight and he runs out into the night.
In another area of the hotel, Sybil informs Pollock that everyone knows the truth about him. He confesses to her that he had indeed committed the “immoral act”, and invented the tales of “Major Pollock, war hero”, because he’s actually an intensely insecure person, like herself, afraid of “life, people and sex”. Sybil and Pollock are two timid people, yet they find comfort in each other’s company. When she’d first read the newspaper article, Sybil was disgusted, but her regard for him helps her overcome these feelings and realize that he is a good man. Meanwhile, Ann is truly sorry for everything that happened between she and John in the past. John returns the next morning, having regained composure since their fight the night before. They quickly realize that they’ll never be able to get over each other, and decide to give love another try. Miss Cooper tells Pollock that he needn’t leave if he does not want to. Sybil musters the courage to stand up to her domineering mother, and stands by Pollock, who realizes he’s found a kindred spirit in Sybil.