A Dinner Party was written and performed by Tom Miller and Daniel Souter in the first term of the third year of drama school. The inspiration for the piece came from the Rodgers and Hart songs taught to them in singing lessons by their tutor Christopher Littlewood (who composed the original music for Valentine: the song used in this play written in the style of Rodgers and Hart). Tom and Dan were struck by the complexity and wit of Hart’s lyrics and upon further investigation and research they found hints of the man behind the myth. A Dinner Party is not inspired by his genius with words, but his depression and his struggle with his homosexuality. Through a process of painstaking research, rehearsal and improvisation workshops, a script was created. Then the actors worked through scenes from Still Life (Coward), Ivanov (Chekhov), The Bacchae (Euripides) and many of Shakespeare’s sonnets in a workshop environment to explore themes relevant to the play they had written. 'A Dinner Party' was performed at the Camden Peoples Theatre, between August 25th 2009 and August 30th 2009.
A Dinner Party
By Tom Miller, Daniel Souter and Robert Laycock
Directed by Robert Laycock
A Dinner Party is set in 1943; the year Hart died. England still has two more years before it is V.E. day, Rogers and Hammerstein open their new musical Oklahoma! and it is twenty four years before homosexuality will become legal in the United Kingdom. It is hard to imagine a time when it was prohibited for people to publicly show their love for one another. Neither the actor/writers, nor the director had lived through these times and it was a challenge to bring this era to life.
Daniel Souter as Michael and Tom Miller as Laurence Hart.
Technical Manager Matthew Tarbuck, Stage Manager Caroline Steiner and Lighting Paul Beer.