With My Aunt
by Graham Greene
Adapted by Giles Havergal
February 18 - March 11, 2000
Directed by Lane
Graham Greene's comic plot revolves around a prematurely retired banker who is
suddenly dragged kicking and screaming into the incredibly picaresque world of
his vivacious and flamboyant Aunt Augusta. Giles Havergal adapted Graham Greene's lighthearted 1969
novel into a playful theatrical journey with four actors playing all twenty-five
characters, including men, women,
children, and a large rambunctious canine.
In the opening tableau, four proper English gentlemen sit in a garden sipping tea. Potted flowers
perfume the air. Birds chirp gaily.
This picture of tranquility is soon
replaced by a hubbub of sin, international intrigue and other covert doings when retired bank manager
Henry Pulling's eccentric Aunt Augusta sweeps into Henry's mother's funeral like Auntie
Mame. There she
informs him that his mother was not truly his mother, then spirits the dazed fellow off for
misadventures in France, Italy, Turkey and South America.
Ultimately, the true journey of the piece is Henry's
transformation from one who retires from life to someone who embraces life.
What makes the staging truly unique for director Lane Fields is that all four actors wear identical crisp
suits throughout, all portray Henry at some point in the action, and all must create a multitude of locales
with a few tables, benches and carefully chosen props. On occasion, the four actors are Henry
simultaneously, studying a letter or photograph with a range of expressions that suggest varying shades of a
Director Fields refers to this as the different "colors"
of Henry and worked with the actors on developing their unique aspect of Henry's responses.
Fields has assembled a talented ensemble made up of Carpenter Square
veterans and newcomers.
Besides the mild-mannered Henry, Don Taylor also plays Aunt Augusta, the
Rob May portrays eleven different characters ranging from a CIA agent to a
virginal Paraguayan maiden.
Scott Meek has no less than nine characters ranging from an aging West
African to a crotchety fortuneteller in Brighton.
New to Carpenter Square is Kirk
Mace who gets to try not only male and female characters, but also an energetic wolfhound.
When talking about his adaptation of Graham Greene's novel, Giles Havergal
says, "The essence of the book is what I tried to capture. It is primarily about Henry and is
told by him. All the characters he meets along the way are extremely colorful and
eye-catching and beguiling, but essentially it is Henry's journey and described through Henry's eyes." The 1995 New York production
garnered both a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award.