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Question About Two-parters (nicholas Nickleby)


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#11 JWC

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 08:24 PM

QUOTE(armadillo @ Aug 24 2007, 03:56 PM) View Post
Just remembered another 2 parter - the Propeller Rose Rage which was, in effect, the Plantagenets cut from 3 to 2 plays.

I wonder how they do box-office wise. Obviously there have been some recent successes like HDM and Coast of Utopia (though I definitely remember complaints because there were no matinees of HDM Part 2 even though it was a children's show) but a recent Ayckbourn one didn't do so well in the WE and perfomances of part 2 were cancelled. It must be a disaster if they don't sell and you have, in effect, two flops instead of one.


I'm guessing the Ayckbourn you're referring to here (given the circumstances mentioned) was actually the trilogy known as Damsels in Distress. All three were connected by being set in the same location with the same group of actors playing different roles in each. All three were meant to play in rep but the London producers promoted one part (RolePlay) at the expense of the other two and then seemed surprised when the the remaining two thirds lost audiences and they ended up cancelling them -Ayckbourn was furious and since then (2002) he has not sanctioned any West End productions of his more recent work.

Another of his which does fit the two part category is The Revengers Comedies

#12 armadillo

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:48 AM

Thanks - you're right, it was a three-parter,not a two-parter.

I do find it hard to believe that a two or three parter could really succeed in the WE nowadays (although Rose Rage played at the Haymarket, it was a limited run and, I think, was only brought in because another  show closed early). It's hard enough to sell tickets for a straight play unless you have a big name star (or the author is Alan Bennett) without expecting people to commit to seeing two plays.  Plus there's the problem that a lot of people won't realise it's a two-parter or read the schedule properly (I remember when the NT did Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship it was quite hard to work out which inidividual plays were on which days and I did overhear a tremendous row at the box office involving someone who had expected all 3 because that was the schedule on some but not all nights)

#13 Ian

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:30 PM

QUOTE(Job @ Aug 23 2007, 09:11 AM) View Post
Ayckbourn's Sisterly Feelings has a pair of alternative central acts framed by two unchanging outer acts. The action is decided (either for real or by pre-designation) on the toss of a coin at the end of Act One.

So that's a one-and-a-half-parter, I suppose.

Job


The outer scenes are very short indeed so it really is a two parter. There are 4 long scenes over the two evenings which are Dorcas's story or Abigail's story. which can be played Dorcas 1 / Dorcas 2; Dorcas 1 / Abigail 2; Abigail 1 / Dorcas 2 or Abigail  1 / Abigail 2.

After the prologue, Act 1 scene 2 is decided by which actress leaves with Simon, chosen as you say by the toss of a coin. At the end of Act 1 scene 2 in each version, the actress is faced by a different choice - what she decides dictates which of the two versions of Act 2 scene 1 is played. Act 2 scene 2 is then a short epilogue which is the same whatever has been played before.


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#14 JWC

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE(armadillo @ Aug 26 2007, 04:48 AM) View Post
I do find it hard to believe that a two or three parter could really succeed in the WE nowadays



Indeed. If the rumour is true The Norman Conquests trilogy due to go on at the Old Vic has been shelved after the theatre wanted to run only one of the three plays which a. kinda defeats the object and b. repeats the shortsighted decision made about Damsels In Distress.

These two/three parters do seem to get touted in the media as endurance events which I'm sure puts people off. The "problem" with Nick Nick is that terms such as "eight hour marathon" are bandied about as though humans are incapable of sitting through this length of time. In practice with intervals every two hours or so each section is no worse that sitting down to watch the average blockbuster movie or a flight to Europe. All I can say is that the original N.N. was, without doubt, the single greatest thing I've seen on stage and length simply didn't enter into it even though I saw it all on the same day. Ditto The Coast of Utopia, House and Garden, His Dark Materials and The Norman Conquests. Longest of all was Ken Campbell's Illuminatus trilogy back in the 70s; now at between 10 and 12 hours running time THAT was long!



#15 if_i_only_had_a_heart

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 03:22 PM

QUOTE(JWC @ Aug 27 2007, 01:22 PM) View Post
Longest of all was Ken Campbell's Illuminatus trilogy back in the 70s; now at between 10 and 12 hours running time THAT was long!


Ken Campbell did a longer show that was revived by his daughter around 10 years ago... the incredible 24 hour play 'The Warp'. I believe it made it into the Guiness Book of Records, and its also listed in Nicholas Wrights book '99 Plays'




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