Autumn Song is set in two time periods: 2010 in a small coastal town in Australia and 1944 in war-torn London.
Phoebe is 90 years old, a widow. She lives in Breakers Bay with her carer, Alf, and is watched over by her neighbour, Lynette. Phoebe is grandmother to Jack, a Sydney-based plastic surgeon, and great-grandmother to Freya, Jack’s daughter by his first wife, Laura.
The play opens with a flashback. It is June 1944 and her first husband, Simon, and fellow soldier, Harry, are in northern France working to sabotage the Nazi advance. Simon receives an important letter from Phoebe.
In the present day there is a knock on Phoebe’s door. It is Freya who has run away from home. She is an angry, troubled teen. But a friendship develops between Freya and Phoebe, which is cemented when Freya agrees to use her artistic talents to do a special painting for Phoebe. But Freya’s dad, Jack, and her US-based mother, Laura, arrive to bring her home. Freya is adamant that she will not go. But the pressure is on and Phoebe decides that they need to ‘escape’. With help from Lynette’s son, Kyle, they sail across the bay to an abandoned lighthouse and, while trapped, Phoebe unfolds her tragic story.
Autumn Song is a heart-warming story of love, loss and learning to live again. It is a full-length (approx.110 minute) play with an intermission. It requires a cast of six women and five men ranging in age from late teens through to 80s. When performed, it needed only one set (Phoebe’s sitting room), using mood lighting and the two prosceniums for the 1944 scenes and the lighthouse scenes.
Photos by Tom Caldwell and Jennifer Thompson
When the residents of the Swift Valley Retirement Village win a Facebook competition for a free garden makeover from the popular TV show, ‘Perfect Plots!’, little do they know what the guru-like presenter, Perry Potts, has in store for them. The green-fingered, city-slicker experts from the television show get more than they bargained for when they meet the riotously funny residents of the Swift Valley Retirement Village. There are puns, jokes and mystical clues sown a-plenty throughout the play so audiences will need to keep their wits about them.
I got the idea for writing Companion Planting whilst living in England from 1997-2000. My daughter and I got hooked on a weekly gardening makeover show called ‘Groundforce’ and its three memorable presenters, the gardening guru, Alan Titchmarsh, water-feature designer and pre-Raphaelite beauty, Charlie, and hunky builder/ladies’ favourite, Tommy. That these characters rattled around in my head for over a decade before putting them onto the page says a great deal for their magnetism and craft. All I needed to do was add a little magic and – poof! – the stage was set for what I hope audiences will find an entertaining experience.
Companion Planting is a saucy, romantic, comedy romp with colourful characters that will have you laughing from start to finish. The themes are modern and there is plenty of double-entendre, farce and a smattering of mysterious magic. It is a full-length play of approx.100 minutes with an intermission. It has only two sets – a Community/activities room in the retirement village and the Garden. The cast comprises six women and four men of various ages from 20s to 70s.
Photos by Rory Banwell and Penny Dennis
These plays are available to all community theatre groups for a small fee of AUD$50 per performance. Please contact Penn Adams via: firstname.lastname@example.org for a sample script.