Pattaya Players perform back-to-back nights of comedy shorts

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The Pattaya Players staged a Comedy Showcase on Friday and Saturday 24-25 July at the Eastern Grand Palace Hotel on Soi Khao Talo.

Founded in 2008, the Pattaya Players have now staged over 30 productions and this latest ‘Comedy Showcase’ featured six different acts bringing together a host of classic theatre pieces on one stage.  This was quite an undertaking; six different shows and a variety of directors, actors & costumes, as well as lighting and music cues.  These ‘acts’ were all given a short intro in Thai & English by the two MC’s.

The evening kicked off with a song acting as a nice ice-breaker for the audience followed by a classic short entitled “Dinner for One.”  This featured 2 characters, one of whom is an old lady (Eileen Denning) who is a little dotty and the other her man servant (Bob Smith) who gets increasingly inebriated as the scene unfolds.  Eileen is a veteran of the Pattaya Players and played her part brilliantly with a degree of poise.  Bob was simply hilarious and showed his flexibility as an actor, taking on the part of his employer’s deceased suitors.

Paul Stachan as ‘Earnest’ (centre) poses with Mara Swankey playing Gwendoline and Alan Blackwood as Lady Bracknell, all characters in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of being Earnest’.Paul Stachan as ‘Earnest’ (centre) poses with Mara Swankey playing Gwendoline and Alan Blackwood as Lady Bracknell, all characters in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of being Earnest’.

This was followed by “Blythe Spirit”, a classic tale from Noël Coward which was first performed in 1941.  The relationship of a happily married couple (Eileen Denning & Charles Elwin) is thrown into disarray by a voice from beyond the grave, played by Foo Ukalihms.  This is a charming short along the same lines of “The Monkeys Paw” – the message being: Be careful what you wish for.

“Prisoner of Second Avenue” was written by Neil Simon and is set in a young couple’s New York apartment that has been broken into.  The president of Pattaya Players, Mara Swankey, reveled in this part (well she is American!) and got all the laughs with her witty retorts to her boyfriend’s (played by Chris Harman) various frustrations.

Back to England for play number four which was Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”  Set in the Victorian era, we find Earnest (Paul Strachan) whose real name is actually Jack, trying to win the heart of Gwendoline (Mara Swankey – now with a suitable English accent), a young woman who is determined to marry someone called Earnest.  His proposal is interrupted by Lady Bracknell (played brilliantly and somewhat terrifyingly by Alan Blackwood) and includes the classic line: “A Handbag!”

After a short intermission the stage was reset for “PVT Wars” which portrays two war veterans confined to a military hospital.  Chris Harman played the enthusiastic alpha male who has a plan to deal with his sexual frustrations, whilst Michael Rubin goes along with the charade to humour his old war buddy.

Spooky goings on as Charles Elwin & Eileen Denning, playing married couple Charles & Ruth are visited by the ghostly Elvira (Foo Ukalihms) in ‘Blythe Spirit’.Spooky goings on as Charles Elwin & Eileen Denning, playing married couple Charles & Ruth are visited by the ghostly Elvira (Foo Ukalihms) in ‘Blythe Spirit’.

The final short for the evening was also the longest.  Entitled “Luv”, we saw another Pattaya Players veteran, Duane Hauch, play a man down on his luck, ready to end it all by jumping off a bridge when his old school mate (Bob Smith again – who seemed to have sobered up from act 1) cajole him into taking stock of his life.  The two actors held the attention of the audience throughout.

Director Ray Lightbown.Director Ray Lightbown.

These acts were performed for the public, over two nights.  However, for the dress rehearsals the Pattaya Players invited over twenty disabled students from The Father Ray Foundation, all the students then subsequently wrote a report on what they thought of the Pattaya Players and here is one from a young man called K Ton.

“On Thursday July 23 I went to the Eastern Grand Palace for watching the comedy plays, I got there by songteaw.  The comedy had seven scenes for example: Dinner for one, Prisoner of 2nd Avenue Blythe Spirit & The Importance of being Earnest etc.  I watched every scene but I understood only some scenes because my English isn’t very good.  However I liked it very much because I like comedy.  I also liked the players because they played especially for us.

“Finally I would like to thank our teacher Ray and all the players for my first time seeing a comedy play.  Thank you very much.  I hope to see your comedy plays again before I finish Mahathai school.”

So, yet another successful production for the Pattaya Players.  If you would like to get involved, be it acting, directing, painting sets or coming along as a member of the audience, you can find more information at: www.pattayaplayers.org.