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Two-for-one deal looks a theatrical bargain
‘TWO for the price of one’ is a phrase that generally summons up the thought of cut-price supermarkets and bargains that suddenly seem less so when the second of the two goes past its best before you get through the first.
But actors Mark Frost and Ruth Everett don’t mind it being used to describe their upcoming double bill at Salisbury Playhouse.
In typical Playhouse style, the plays are by well-known authors, but performed less often than many of their other works.
The theatre is producing Elegy for a Lady by Arthur Miller and The Yalta Game by Brian Friel in the Salberg Studio and doubtless many people will be intrigued to see these lesser known works by two of the greats.
And for Frost, 44, and Everett, 33, the opportunity to interpret each of the plays, which share the theme of adulterous, age-gap love but explore it in very different ways, is proving to be a great experience.
“The two sit really well together,”
says Frost. “They are an interesting combination because they are so different in style, and what we have found is that they need really different approaches.”
The plays both weave reality and fiction, memory and imagination.
“They leave you wondering how much to believe what is going on in front of you,”
More than that, adds Frost, they ask a fundamental question of audiences, and perhaps of actors – ‘What is theatre’?
Elegy for a Lady also raises the spectre of mortality and loss and the inevitable end of a love affair. “It is about how you are in a relationship with each other, but you are still on your own with your feelings about that relationship,” says Everett.
This haunting work is set to music by cellist Gregory Hall, who came into rehearsals and composed while he watched the scenes of the play unfold.
The Yalta Game is arguably a lighter piece but one that still demands an emotional investment from the audience.
For Frost in particular the two-man performances in the intimate setting of the Salberg will be a big change.
The actor has just finished two years with a major international tour of the big stadium spectacular Batman Live, in which he played The Joker.
“I couldn’t be doing anything more different to that,” he says.
“ A n d bizarrely, this is more challenging than playing to 10,000 people.
There is nowhere to hide, and it feels so exciting to be doing something like this.”
Everett, however, may be more familiar to Salisbury theatregoers, having been in the cast of JB Priestley’s Dangerous Corner at the Playhouse earlier this year before going on to tour in King Lear. “This year has been a sort of Salisbury sandwich with a King Lear filling,” she laughs.
And this two for the price of one looks set to delight rather than disappoint.
“They are lovely, lovely pieces,” says Frost. “It is rare for an actor to get pieces of this sort of calibre.”
“It is quite raw, and hopefully quite beautiful,” adds Everett.
“We have the right material for it to be beautiful.”
- Elegy for a Lady by Arthur Miller and The Yalta Game by Brian Friel, directed by
Emily Watson Howe, are at The Salberg, Salisbury Playhouse from Wednesday,
October 2 to Saturday, October 19. For tickets call the box office on 01722
320333 or go to salisburyplayhouse.com.