Time And The Conways

published: Sun, 1-Oct-2006   |   updated: Wed, 4-Jan-2017

Robin in Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley for the Dulwich Players at St. Barnabas Hall, Dulwich Village. Directed by Lorraine Greenslade. April 1985.

A rather stilted play, if interesting, very 30s in outlook. In essence, it's the story of a family and how their dreams and goals are created and destroyed by time, and how the people change through the years. It bears careful listening, since Priestley throws in all kinds of little sentences that come true, or have major significance later on. Cause is followed by effect. It's structured in three acts, the first and third at a party in 1919, just after the Great War, when all is hope again, and the middle act 19 years later when it's all falling apart again. So by the last act, you know how these people turn out and it gets creepy.

I actually got to wear an authentic Royal Air Corps uniform as Robin in the first and third acts. The boots were the devil to put on, and as the guy at the rental place said: in those days calves were thinner, "they didn't play as much football." Yeah, like I was George Best.

And there was the performance where I jumped a good two pages in the script. It was all expository stuff, talking to my mother about the rest of the family, and as soon as I did it, I realized what I'd done and saw the look in Willowdean's eyes. There was nothing for it, but to weave back in what I'd chopped out and hope that she would play along. Even though I say it myself, we did a great job: we got it all in and the audience didn't realize anything was up.


The Conways:
  Mrs. ConwayWillowdean Routledge
  AlanPatrick Spencer
  MadgeAlison Bremner
  RobinJulian Bucknall
  KayDianne Stadhams
  HazelDominique Bucknall
  CarolJane Scott
The Others:
  Joan HelfordCaroline Stewart
  Ernest BeaversPaul Sykes
  Gerald ThorntonJohn Horsler