Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
New England
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Richard Nelson


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New England

by Richard Nelson

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Pit, 23 November 1994

The language, the dress and the daily actions of men in democracies are repugnant to conceptions of the ideal.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

On America

If I had to give a definition of capitalism I would say: the process whereby American girls turn into American women.

Christopher Hampton, Savages, scene 16


The American language is in a state of flux based on the survival of the unfittest.

Cyril Connolly, The Sunday Times, 1966


The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.

Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor


To Americans, English manners are far more frightening than none at all.

Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution.


That land is like an eagle whose young gaze
Feeds on the noontide beam, whose golden plume
Floats moveless on the storm, and in the blaze
Of sunrise gleams when earth is wrapped in gloom;
An epitaph of glory for the tomb
Of murdered Europe.

PB Shelley, The Revolt of Islam, xi 1818


... as American as English muffins and French toast.

John Russell Taylor, The Times, 1984


They are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.

James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, 1775

The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success. That — with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success — is our national disease.

William James in a letter to HG Wells, Letters, 1920


You should have as much faith in America as I have.

Margaret Thatcher, Face the Nation (CBS) 1987


The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, in time a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton in Peru. At last some curious traveller from Lima will visit England, and give a description of the ruins of St. Paul's, like the editions of Baalbec and Palmyra.

Horace Walpole, Letter to Horace Mann, 1774


If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I would never lay down my arms — never, never, never!

William Pitt, speech in the House of Commons, 1777


America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.

Arnold J Toynbee

On England

If it is good to have one foot in England, it is still better, or at least as good, to have the other out of it.

Henry James (attributed)


A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

TS Eliot, 'Little Gidding', Four Quartets, 1942


Racial characteristics: cold-blooded queers with nasty complexions and terrible teeth who once conquered half the world but still haven't figured out central heating. They warm their beers and chill their baths and boil all their food including bread.

PJ O'Rourke, 'Foreigners Around the World', National Lampoon, 1976


The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it.

James Agate


I did a picture in England one winter and it was so cold I almost got married.

Shelley Winters


The most dangerous thing in the world is to make a friend of an Englishman, because he'll come and sleep in your closet rather that spend ten shillings on a hotel.

Truman Capote, 1966


Contrary to popular belief, English women do not wear tweed nightgowns.

Hermione Gingold, Saturday Review, 1955


England and America are two countries divided by a common language.

George Bernard Shaw (attributed)


The Englishman foxtrots as he fox-hunts, with all his being, through thickets, through ditches, over hedges, through chiffons, through waiters, over saxophones, to the victorious finish; and who goes home depends on how many the ambulance will accommodate.

Nancy Boyd, (pseudonym of Edna St Vincent Millay)


The sun of her glory is fast descending to the horizon.

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

The play takes place over a weekend in a farmhouse in Western Connecticut, just across the border from New York State.

The performance is approximately 1 hour and 4 minutes in length, without an interval.

The music score incorporates excerpts from Frank Bridge's String Quartet no. 2 in G minor.

Harry Baker David Burke

Theatre: Includes: A Flea in Her Ear (Thorndike, Leatherhead). Work in London: Othello (Young Vic), Baddies, Rocket to the Moon (Hampstead and West End), Slow Dance on the Killing Ground (Greenwich), Hamlet (Riverside Studios). For the RNT: Measure for Measure, The Devil is an Ass (visit from Birmingham Rep), Watch on the Rhine, The Strangeness of Others, Bartholomew Fair, Hamlet, The Voysey Inheritance, The Crucible, Pericles. RSC: Philistines, Melons, Troilus and Cressida. This season: Harry/Alfred Baker in New England. Television: Sherlock Holmes, Crown Court, Holly, Inheritance, Kipling, Two Days in The Life of Michael Reagan, Barlowe at Large, Love School, Fair Training on the Dance Ground, Esther Waters, Pope Pious XII, The Murder Machine, The Winter's Tale, Nanny, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Richard III, Dreams, Secrets, Beautiful Lies, Run For the Lifeboat, Taking Liberties, The Woodlanders, Hotel in Amsterdam, Hine, Crimes of Passion, The Guardian, Villain, Hammer and Sickle, Quiet As A Nun, Casualty, The James Maybrick Case, The House of Eliott, Poirot, An A-Z of Democracy. Film: Includes Mesmer.

Alice Berry, his girlfriend Angela Thorne

Trained: Guildhall School. Theatre: Work at Theatre Royal, York; Playhouse, Sheffield; Greenwich; Nuffield Theatre, Southampton; Theatre Royal, Windsor; Chichester Festival Theatre; Yvonne Arnaud, Theatre, Guildford; Theatre Clwyd, Mold: Mrs Alving in Ghosts, Ginny in Relatively Speaking, Smilya Darde in Captain Cavallo, Virginia in The Golden Age, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Gwen in This Space is Mine, Gloria Clandon in You Never Can Tell. Work in West End: Io in Prometheus Bound, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Julia in The Rivals, Mrs Van Omrigh in Yahoo, Susan in Happy Family, Mrs Thatcher in Anyone for Denis, Glynis in Body and Soul, Virginia in The Weekend, Lady Gay Spanker in London Assurance . RSC: Alice Berry in New England. Television: That Was The Week That Was, Elizabeth R, Demon Lover, Bagthorpe Saga, The Rocking Horse, Winner, To The Manor Born, Three Up Two Down, Farringdon of the FO, Paying Guests, Anyone For Denis. Film: Oh What A Lovely War.

Tom Berry, her ex-brother-in-law Mick Ford

Theatre: Seasons at Nottingham Playhouse, Manchester Royal Exchange. Willy Mossop in Hobson's Choice, Trofimov in The Cherry Orchard, Feste in Twelfth Night, Jonny in Touched, While the Sun Shines, Huck Finn in White Suite Blades, Ken Deed in Deeds, Wilson in Teeth 'n' Smiles, Lawrence in The Fool (Royal Court), Shannon in Winter Darkness (New End, Hampstead), Irwin in The Secret Rapture (NT), Danny in The Pool of Bethesda (Orange Tree). RSC: Edward Stern in Penny For a Song, Gunner in Misalliance. Co-composed music for Savage Amusement with Robert Hickson; co-wrote Awful Knawful with Peter Flannery, Stefan in Singer, Antonio in The Duchess of Malfi, Cherkoon in Barbarians. This season; Tom Berry in New England. Television: Love Match, Naming the Names, The Ascent of M. Blanc, The Daughter-in-Law, Desert of Lies, Jenny's War, The Knowledge, Caleb Williams, The Racing Game, The Adventures of Frank, The Promise, Hitting Town, A Woman of Substance, Goodbye Cruel World. Film: Sailor's Return, Scum, Light Years Away, Bad Hats. Radio: Ascent of F6, Pity, Dan Dare and numerous others. Writing: Bad Hats (co-written with Robert Hickson). One Way Out (Best Film Monte Carlo Festival 1990), Harry (BBC). Music: Tom Paine, Arturo Ui (Contact Theatre, Manchester), Last Resort (Manchester Royal Exchange), Henry IV (Oxford Playhouse, co-composed with Robert Hickson).

Elizabeth Baker, Harry's daughter Selina Cadell

Theatre: Includes: Move Over Mrs Markham, A Flea in Her Ear, As You Like It, Uncle Vanya (Birmingham Rep), Mrs Warren's Profession (Watford Palace), The Glass Menagerie, See How They Run, Kennedy's Children (Watermill Newbury), A Midsummer Night's Dream (ACTER). In London: A Night in Old Peking (Lyric Hammersmith), Not Quite Jerusalem, Top Girls (Royal Court, the latter also in New York), The Mad Woman of Chaillot (Lilian Baylis), The Fruits of Enlightenment, As You Like It, Sisterly Feelings, Galileo, The Shoemaker's Holiday, Othello, The Duchess of Malfi, The Real Inspector Hound/The Critic, The Cherry Orchard, The Voysey Inheritance, The Madness of George III (RNT). RSC: This season: Elizabeth Baker in New England. Television: Includes: Miss Marple: A Pocketful of Rye, The Victoria Wood Show, Life Without George, South of the Border, A Little Fry and Laurie, A Small Dance, Thacker, Full Stretch, You, Me and It, A Class Act, Jeeves and Wooster, Pie In The Sky. Film: Not Quite Jerusalem, Prick Up Your Ears, The Madness of George III.

Paul Baker, Harry's son Duncan Bell

Theatre: Work at Traverse Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh; York Theatre Royal; Royal Exchange Manchester: Elizabeth Gordon Quinn, Losing Venice, The Rivals, The American Clock, Orlando in As You Like It, Mortimer in Edward II, Harcourt in The Country Wife. Work in London: Clindor in The Illusion (Old Vic), Sergei in Piano, Dorante in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Roderigo in Le Cid (RNT), title role in Hippolytos (Almeida). Tours UK: George Osbourne in Vanity Fair, Cleon/Boult/Cerimon in Pericles, Pyrrhus in Andromache, Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Cheek By Jowl). RSC: Ariel in The Tempest, Malcolm in Macbeth, Bob Hedges in Restoration, Ragnar in The Master Builder. This season: Paul Baker in New England. Television: Blind Justice, Troubles, Taggart, The Strauss Dynasty, The Lawlord, Boon, The Countess Alice, Headhunters, The Bill, Medics, Dr Finlay, Between the Lines, A Touch of Frost, Rik Mayall Presents, The Zebra Man, Bramwell.

Gemma Baker, Harry's eldest child Diana Hardcastle

Trained: Bristol University and Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre: Work at Lyceum Theatre, Crewe; Lancaster; Manchester Contact Theatre; Manchester Royal Exchange; Birmingham; Liverpool Playhouse; Watford: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Regina in Ghosts, Dusa in Dusa Fish Stas and Vi, Lucy Lockit in The Threepenny Opera. Cariola in The Duchess of Malfi, Mabel in An Ideal Husband, Anne in All My Sons, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Louise in Me and Mamie O'Rourke. Work in London: The London Cuckolds (Lyric Hammersmith), Isabel in Secret Rapture, Lady Teazle in School for Scandal (RNT), Milly Crocker Harris in The Browning Version (Greenwich). RSC: Mopsa in The Winter's Tale, Silvia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (tour 1993). This season: Creusa in Ion, Gemma Baker in New England. Television: East Lynne, Reilly Ace of Spies, Love Song, Fortunes of War, That's Love, Punch Drunk, Charlie, Frankie and Johnnie, First Among Equals, Boon, Resnick. Film: The House.

Alfred Baker, Harry's brother David Burke
Sophie Baker, Paul's wife Annie Corbier

Studied: Montpellier and Sorbonne Universities. Theatre: Work in France at theatres in Alès, Nîmes, Montpellier, Avignon, Paris. In England at the Stafford Shakespeare Festival 1992: Margaret d'Anjou in Henry VI Part 3, Queen Margaret in Richard III (The Wars of the Roses). Tours abroad: Solo in Bolero, wrote, choreographed and played the Traveller in Voyages (Théâtre d'Alès). RSC: This season: Sophie Baker in New England. Opera: Manuelita in Carmen, Nurse in Pelleas and Melisande, Die Frau Ohne Schatten, Les Huguenots, Tosca, La Bohème. Television: UK: La Difference. France: Hotel de Police. Film: MOMI the Video (British Film Institute). Radio: Programme Litéraire for French radio. Writing: Plays: Les Miroirs Brisés; L. Avaknatse (screen play); Aperçus (short stories published by Stephen Betrand Editions). Short stories published in several magazines.

Directed by Peter Gill

Theatre: Started his career as an actor, then in 1964 became Assistant Director at the Royal Court and then Associate Director in 1970. Founder Director of Riverside Studios 1976. Peter Gill has been an Associate Director of the Royal National Theatre since 1980 and was the Founding Director of the National Theatre Studio in 1984. Plays: The Sleeper's Den (1965), Over Gardens Out (1969), Small Change (1976), Kick For Touch (1983), In The Blue (1985), Mean Tears (1987), Boys Talk (1990), Certain Young Men (1993). Adaptations: A Provincial Life, The Merry-Go-Round, The Cherry Orchard, Touch and Go, As I Lay Dying. Directing includes: For the Royal Court: A Collier's Friday Night, The Local Stigmatic, The Ruffian on the Stair, A Provincial Life, A Soldier's Fortune, The Daughter-in-Law, The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Life Price, Over Gardens Out, The Sleeper's Den, The Duchess of Malfi, Crete and Sergeant Pepper, The Merry-Go-Round, The Fool, Small Change. For Riverside Studios: The Cherry Orchard, The Changeling, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Scrape Off the Black. For the RNT: A Month in the Country, Don Juan, Much Ado About Nothing, Danton's Death, Major Barbara, Tales from Hollywood, Small Change, Kick For Touch, Antigone, Venice Preserv'd, Fool For Love, The Murderers, As I Lay Dying, A Twist of Lemon, In The Blue, Bouncing, Up For None, The Garden of England, Show Songs, Mean Tears, Mrs Klein, Juno and the Paycock. Other credits include Bow Down, Down by the Greenwood Side (QEH), The Marriage of Figaro (Opera North), The Way of the World (Lyric, Hammersmith). RSC: Twelfth Night (1974).

Designed by Hayden Griffin

Trained: Sadler's Wells Design Course (now Motley Design Course). Theatre: Narrow Road to the Deep North, Trixie and Baba, The Enoch Show, Come Together Season, The Runaway, The Farm, Restoration (Royal Court). As Head of Design at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter 1970-72: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Julius Caesar, Galileo, The Tempest, Judge Jeffrey, Bingo, Narrow Road to the Deep North, Measure for Measure, Guys and Dolls. Designs for the Edinburgh Lyceum include The Iceman Cometh, How Mad Tulloch Was Taken Away, Civilians. For Nottingham Playhouse: The Churchill Play, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Henry V. For West Yorkshire Playhouse: The Gulf Between Us. Work in London: Devil's Island, Yesterday's News, A Mad World My Masters (Joint Stock), Total Eclipse, In The Summer House (Lyric Hammersmith), The Invisible Man (Theatre Royal Stratford East/West End and tour), Lennie, All My Sons, The Way of the World, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Admirable Crichton, A Life in the Theatre, Vanilla, A Month in the Country (West End). Productions designed in New York include: Rockerfeller and the Indians, Players, A Map of the World, The Knife, The Day Room. Amongst other work abroad: Cyrano de Bergerac, The Taming of the Shrew (Teatro de gli Incamminati, Italy); Roberto Zucco (Teatro di Geneva), Six Characters in Search of an Author (Ro Theatre, Rotterdam), Money and Friends (The Doolittle Theatre, LA), Mini and Maxi (Interpressario, Netherlands). A Midsummer Night's Dream (Stratford Festival, Ontario and Gate Theatre, Dublin), Maria Stuart, Blood Brothers (Hamburg Schauspielhaus). RSC: Comrades, Duck Song, Cousin Vladimir, Henry VIII. This season: New England. Opera: Cosi Fan Tutte (New York Metropolitan Opera), Orfeo (ENO), Falstaff (Los Angeles/Florence/Covent Garden), Parsifal (Covent Garden/Flemish Opera Co.), Martydom of St Magnus, Jacob Lenz (Italy). Ballet: Still Life at the Penguin Cafe, Hobson's Choice, Cyrano (Royal Ballet), Job (San Francisco Ballet). Film and Television: South Bank Show — Edward Bond, Wetherby, Comrade Lady, Still Life at the Penguin Cafe, Hobson's Choice, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Hope in the Year Two, Syrup.

Lighting designed by Andy Phillips

Theatre: Royal Court Theatre (1965-1972) Resident Lighting Designer where he designed over eighty consecutive productions including Peter Gill's season of D.H. Lawrence plays. 1974 TONY nomination for the Broadway production of Equus. 1989 TONY nomination for the Broadway production of M Butterfly. Most recent designs include for RNT: The Mountain Giants; West End: A Month in the Country; Royal Lyceum Theatre: Armstrong's Last Goodnight; Birmingham Royal Ballet: Handel and Brahms Variations; Southwark Playhouse: Jack Shepherd's Chasing the Moment.

Music by Terry Davies

Bachelor of Music, Surrey University. Spent one year as sound engineer at Chappell's Studios. Freelance arranging, composed music for music libraries, National Film School and Jingle packages. Theatre: Arranging and music directing for theatres includes work for Oxford Playhouse, Leicester Haymarket, Hornchurch, Exeter, Norwich, Scottish Ballet, Nottingham Playhouse, Bromley, Chichester, Swedish National Theatre, Iceland National Theatre, Young Vic, Restoration (Royal Court), Guys and Dolls, The Beggar's Opera, Schweyk in the Second World War, Lorenzaccio, King Lear, Rough Crossing, Dalliance, The Shaughraun, Mrs Klein, White Chameleon, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence of War (NT). Work as composer includes: Tales from Hollywood, Antigone, Festival of New Plays, Neaptide, The Misanthrope, Schism in England, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (RNT), Hamlet (RNT Education Dept.), The Birds (Istanbul City Theatre), Richard III (Iceland National Theatre), Private Times (Library Theatre, Manchester), Whale (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), The Way of the World (Lyric Hammersmith), Blood Wedding, Time and the Conways, Derby Day (Octagon Theatre, Bolton). RSC: Coriolanus (1990). This season: New England. Radio: A Handful of Pleasant Delights. Film: Mystery of The Chateau of Dice.

Sound by Jeremy Dunn
Sue Carter
Stage Manager Jane Pole
Deputy Stage Manager Caroline Beale
Assistant Stage Manager Lynda Snowden
Violin Julia Singleton
Robert Higgs
Viola Daniel Fenton
Cello Joy Hawley
Production acknowledgements Null

Scenery constructed by Robert Knight Ltd. Painting by David Laws and Patsy Large. Many thanks to: Neil Donovan and the Fonda Group for the Chinese containers; The Adirondack Beverage Company for the Seltzer labels; Mostly Music for the musical and orchestral scores; Grove's Dictionaries of Music for the music books; 100 Air Refuelling Wing, RAF Mildenhall; John Amos, vehicle locksmith; South London Crematorium for their assistance; Oxford University Press, publishers of the New Oxford Book of English Verse; Borden's Incorporated for the milk cartons; Threshers for the wine; Glenhurst Interiors for help and advice; Jasper Gilbert; Susan Cumings; Yolanda Jeffrey; Panasonic for the Home Entertainment unit and radio cassette player; S.H. Simms & Sons Ltd, Stratford-upon-Avon for the leaf rake; Louis Vuitton for the travel bag; Thames and Hudson for the art books; International Music Publications for manuscript paper; Cambridge University Press; The Unique Quilt Company 0181 579 6520; Faber Books; Rosemary Philips of Delsey Luggage Ltd; Anne O'Neill of Simon and Shuster UK; Penguin Books. Wardrobe care by Persil, Frend and Robin Starch; tights by Elbeo; shoe colouring by Lady Esquire. Assistant to Wardrobe Supervisor: Lisa Messenger. Company voice work by Lyn Darnley and Andrew Wade. Dialect Coach: Charmian Hoare. Production Photographer: John Haynes.

Programme acknowledgements

Programme edited by Alexandra Bannock; designed by Chris Moody; notes on Richard Nelson by Ben Jancovich; notes On America and On England compiled by Philumena Muinzer; graphic repro by Lithocraft, Coventry; printed by Edward Fox and Son, Stratford-upon-Avon. © Royal Shakespeare Theatre 1994.

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