A Hand of Bridge

Waterperry Opera Festival

Composer Samuel Barber
Librettist Gian Carlo Menotti

Director / Designer Crispin Lord

Sally Charlotte Collier
Bill Phil Durrant 
David Louis Wilson 
Geraldine Chloe Jackson 

We have all found ourselves falling into patterns of habitual behaviour, re-performing activities that were once novel, and now are automatic and monotonous. Muscle memory takes over, and we are left with just enough brain power to go round and round in our heads replaying encounters or psychoanalysing ourselves or those we know. Bill, Sally, David and Geraldine are unfortunate victims of the same illness; stuck within the pages of a 10 minute operetta where their run-of-the-mill, upper-middle-class lives will be forever under review by both themselves and their audience.

The characters sit in a dusty, murky room where food lies rotting on the table, presumably there since the first time Barber called them into existence. Now alive in 2018, David and Bill’s concerns have a contemporary edge, probing questions of gender identity and fluid sexuality in way that suits the time, and Geraldine and Sally kick back against their repressive and repressed husbands. But in the end, none of them get out. There is no resolution. They must repeat. 

Photos: Helen Rose Cooper