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STAG Presents: Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter”


STAG presents their next production for 2010: Present Laughter, by Noel Coward. Present Laughter will be directed by Jonne Finnemore and play at the Strathmore Community Hall from August 19 to 28. In Present Laughter we are given a glimpse into the private life of the lovable Garry Essendine, an enduring star of the stage. He has captivated audiences for two decades, and in the following ten days he is preparing to go to Africa, touring with a repertoire of six plays. He has reached a delicate age when his confidence is being shaken a little by advancing years but his ego is maintaining its grip on his colleagues and friends. How Garry manages to balance his life with his amours, his colleagues, his estranged wife, his household and a dizzy young playwright will fill your evening with great enjoyment. Noel Coward wrote Present Laughter in 1939 but the beginning of WW2 delayed its production for a number of years. Coward played the part of Garry in the first production and it is said that Present Laughter was a semi-autobiographical account of his life at that time, and as one critic put it, “comic self-caricature”. Coward’s prolific output includes more than 50 plays, more than a dozen musicals, operetta, poetry, hundreds of songs, sketches, comic reviews, several volumes of short stories, film scripts and three volumes of autobiography. The Times of London ranked his plays in “the classical tradition of Congreve, Sheridan, Wilde and Shaw”, and the previously named New Theatre in London is now the Noel Coward Theatre. He was knighted in 1969 and elected to the Royal Society of Literature. He also received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. Born in 1899 he died in 1973 with his epitaph reading “A talent to amuse”. STAG is pleased to welcome back Jonne Finnemore to helm this wonderful play. She has previously directed successful productions of Romeo and Juliet and Lady Windemere’s Fan for STAG in recent years.

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