Extracts from Chi and I by acclaimed actor, director and playwright, David Wood : Part 4, A Leading Role, 1980
In 1980, Peter Dews offered me the role of Birdie Bowers in Terra Nova, a play about Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic. This truly epic play was remarkable in that it was written for only seven actors. The playwright was a young Canadian called Ted Tally, who later achieved fame for his screenplay of the film Silence of the Lambs.
My agent, John Miller, told me, with a note of surprise in his voice, that I didn’t have to audition for the role of Birdie – it was an offer. I picked up the script from the Festival Theatre Londonoffice above the Queen’s Theatre and read it with increasing excitement. Birdie was an endearing character, arguably the most good-humoured of the five who reached the South Pole after an arduous journey, only to find that Amundsen had beaten them to it. The journey home proved impossible and all died tragically in their tent, apart from Oates, who had walked out with the immortal lines, ‘I may be some time’. Ted Tally had introduced some brilliant theatrical moments. At the beginning of the second act, we all celebrated our successful venture at a special London hotel dinner party which, of course, turned out to be imaginary. The journey itself was intercut with flashback scenes featuring Scott and his wife. Continue reading “Chi and I… Part 4”→
Over a series of posts, I’ll be exploring the casting of a handful of Hollywood actresses who have performed at Chichester Festival Theatre, including Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Joan Collins and Kim Cattrall. There is something of an air of mystery about a Hollywood star; how watching their screen performance is as close as us mere mortals could ever get. And yet, we must remind ourselves those immortal stars of the silver screen are indeed, real-life actors and actresses, and a thespian’s true calling removes all cameras and puts them onto a stage. A thrust stage, to be precise.
Joan Collins comes to Chichester
Joan Collins starred as Mrs. Cheyney in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, the first production of the 1980 Summer Season, which also included Terra Nova, Much Ado About Nothing, and Old Heads and Young Heart. She was no stranger to the stage, having performed in the West End as a young girl since 1946 before heading to America to make her mark in Hollywood (although, of course, it was the television show Dynastythat she is most remembered for) .
Over the summer Creative Arts student Alice Du Port spent time researching and exploring her interest in Theatre Design by delving into the items in our archives. During this time Alice also had the opportunity to talk with world renowned scenographer Pamela Howard who explained more about her designs for the 1980 production of Terra Nova, staged at Chichester;
In the summer of 1980, Chichester Festival Theatre’s main stage was transformed into a barren ice land, representing the stark and freezing Antarctic, for Ted Tally’s Terra Nova. In the archives is a selection of Pamela Howard’s designs for her Chichester Festival Theatre productions; including this one. Continue reading “Exploring Theatre Design”→