Rehearsals are progressing nicely for the Little Theatre’s February production, If I Were You, a comedy by Alan Ayckbourn. The play is about a couple, Mal and Jill, whose long marriage has hit the rocks. He is stressed out at work, is conducting a clandestine affair, and has fallen out with his teenage son. She suspects her husband’s infidelity, has had enough of his boorish behaviour, and is frustrated with her stay-at-home life.
Just when you think this is tragedy rather than comedy, there is a (heaven-sent?) intervention, and the couple wake up to find they’ve swapped bodies! Mal (in Jill’s body) now has to manage the home, and be a sensitive confidant to their daughter and son, and Jill (in Mal’s body), has to deal with the furniture showroom business, the mistress, and the abusive son-in-law!
This sounds complicated (and it is!), but it makes for a hilarious denouement, with Mal and Jill now getting the chance to see things through the other’s eyes, with life-changing consequences.
Vaughan Leslie, is having a great time directing the play, and really appreciates the brilliant support he’s getting from the cast and crew. The set design has been particularly challenging on the Little Theatre’s small stage, as the action switches back and forth between the Rodales’ family home and the furniture showroom – and has to look convincing for both. Three separate rooms have been squeezed on stage together, and quick set changes are effected by cunning use of lighting and sound.
The actors are learning to negotiate the quick changes, and trying not to lose track of where they are. Like any farce, it can become a bit frantic! But by opening night, it is hoped they’ll know exactly what they’re doing!
The play runs from Monday to Saturday, 18-23 February, at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale now, online at www.hblt.co.uk, or can be purchased in person from Innovation, Hebden Bridge. Hurry while stocks last!
Rehearsal photos by Bruce Cutts.