Posts tagged ‘George Rodosthenous’

May 28, 2021

Quinneys – re-booted – we’re making a film!

We are delighted to announce that the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project, ‘Sold! The Year of the Dealer’ has emerged from hibernation and we have started rehearsals again for the restaging of the play ‘Quinneys’ (1915). Thanks to a further extension to the Year of the Dealer project from the AHRC we can now continue the project, which now ends on 31st December 2021. We will update you on the remaining proposed events and the museum trails later in the summer, but for now, we are all really excited to announce that Quinneys is alive and well.

Rehearsals are currently taking place online via TEAMS – which makes it an interesting if somewhat challenging experience, but our actors and George Rodosthenous, our Director, are doing brilliant work in this virtual space. Here’s a screen shot of the most recent rehearsal, with George (top left) directing the actors, and with Samantha Willetts (top middle) our new Theatre Company Manager and Lighting Designer. The actors are – Stephenson Catney (top right) who will be playing the part of the American millionaire collector Cyrus P. Hunsaker; Sebastian du Pury (bottom left) one of our new actors, playing the part of the American millionaire collector Dupont Jordan; India Walton (centre middle) playing the part of Mabel Dredge, Quinneys’ typist and a love interest of James Miggott in the play; Malcolm Webb (right middle) another of our new actors, playing the part of the antique dealer Sam Tomlin; Samuel Parmeter (left) and Fergus Johnston (right) (centre bottom), playing the parts of the antique dealer Joseph Quinney and James Miggott, Quinney’s workshop foreman, respectively; and Hannah Rooney (left bottom), playing the part of Mrs Susan Quinney. We are missing Annabel Marlow is this photograph (who plays Posy Quinney, the daughter of Susan and Joseph Quinney, and the other live interest of James Miggott) – and there’s a tiny image of me (Mark) in the bottom right corner, taking the photograph!

Quinneys rehearsal on TEAMS at the University of Leeds.

The pandemic has of course meant that we have had to rethink our plans to restage a performance of the play in a theatre – but the exciting news on the Quinneys project is that we are making a film of the play instead. We will be filming Quinneys at the University of Leeds in early July and following that we are planning to have a ‘premiere’ of the film at a cinema later in the year – so do look out for updates on the antique dealer project website antiquedealers.leeds.ac.uk and on this Blog of course.

In the meantime, here’s another photograph of the Quinneys rehearsals on TEAMS, with all the actors – and this time including Annabel Marlow (left centre), who pays Posy Quinney in the play/film.

Quinneys rehearsals on TEAMS at the University of Leeds.

We very much look forward to welcoming everyone to the World Premiere of our film of Quinneys later this year.

Mark

March 8, 2020

Quinneys – costumes

Our progress on re-staging our performance of Quinneys is coming along well; yesterday (a Saturday no less!) India Walton and I went to the Leeds Playhouse Costume Hire stores to choose the costumes for all the characters in the play – India is playing the part of ‘Mable Dredge’, Quinney’s typist, who in the play is in the triangle of love between James (Quinney’s foreman – played by Fergus Johnston) and Posy (Quinney’s daugther – played by Annabel Marlow) – here, (below) is India (left), with Annabel (centre) and Fergus (right) in rehearsals earlier in the week.

India, Annabel and Fergus in rehearsals for Quinneys.

India and I spent all day in the costume store – it was exhausting (10.15am til 4.00pm!) but great fun! And we managed to find costumes for every character in the play.  Here’s India, choosing a nightdress for ‘Mable Dredge’, with Steff, from the costume hire, who was such a fantastic help all day! All the costume we needed dates from the Edwardian period (the play is set in 1914), and there are brilliant resources at the Leeds Playhouse Costume Hire.

India and Steff and Leeds Playhouse Costume Hire

India and Steff and Leeds Playhouse Costume Hire

We hope that the actors (and George Rodosthenous, our theater director for the performance of Quinneys) all approve of the costumes that India and I chose.

We’ve made the characters of the American millionaire collectors, ‘Cyrus P. Hunsaker’ and ‘Dupont Jordan’ (played by Stephenson Catney and Jake Pursell, respectively) rather bold, brash and ostentatious……with a brightly coloured jacket in red, yellow and black check pattern, and a similar jacket in brown and yellow checks – they will look out-rage-ous in the play! – especially as ‘Cyrus’ accepts a large ‘cheque’ (a ‘check in American parlance) from Mr Quinney at one point in the play….

For ‘Quinney’ himself (played by Samuel Parmenter) we decided he should be very smartly and expensively dressed, but rather more soberly – so we put him in a light grey morning suit – a dapper chap, but with a restrained, serious personality. For Mrs Susan Quinney (played by Hannah Rooney) we went for two Edwardian dresses, both in an elegant green – one with fabulous black embroidery to the sleeves.

And for ‘Posy’ (Quinney’s daugther, played by Annabel Marlow) we found a light and delicate pale blue dress, together with some some Edwardian blouses in white, with small red flowers, and a cream-coloured long flowing Edwardian skirt. We also found suitable dresses for ‘Mable Dredge’ – slightly more plain, given Mable’s status as Quinney’s typist, but still very elegant – (India enjoyed choosing her costume!)…. And finally we found a very swish black jacket with black velvet trousers for ‘Sam Tomlin’ the smart (and smarmy) Bond Street antique dealer, (played by Morgan Buswell), and for ‘James Miggott’ (Quinney’s foreman…played by Fergus Johnston) we found a suitable ‘workman’s’ outfit, but one that still retains a degree of Edwardian elegance….

Here are all the costume’s on the rail at Leeds Playhouse Costume Hire –

Quinneys play costume at Leeds Playhouse Costume Hire.

We still need a few Edwardian hats and accessories, but the costume for the performance is all coming together well – I’m sure that the actors will thoroughly enjoy their rehearsals now that we have costumes – and that their performances will become even more authentic and ’embodied’!

Mark

 

March 4, 2020

More Quinneys Rehearsals

Our rehearsals for the performance of Quinneys are continuing apace – (the play is to be staged at The Witham, Barnard Castle, on Saturday 28th March – to book tickets, click to the weblink to The Witham here).  George Rodosthenous, (Director of the theatre and performance BA/MA programmes at the University of Leeds), and the director of the play, has been ramping up the number of rehearsals over the last two weeks, as the student actors begin to inhabit their characters in ever increasing degrees of authenticity!  Here (below) is one of George’s professional black and white photographs of (almost) the full cast of Quinneys (only Jake, who has recently joined the cast to play the part of Dupont Jordan, is absent…but you can see Jake further in this blog post, below) – in the photo below are, left to right, India (Mable Dredge, Quinney’s typist), Stephenson (Cyrus P. Hunsaker, American millionaire collector), Annabel (Posy, Quinney’s daughter) on Fergus’s (James, Quinney’s foreman) knee; with Samuel (Quinney) and Hannah (Mrs Susan Quinney) behind, and Morgan (Sam Tomlin, fellow antique dealer) to the right.

The cast of Quinneys in rehearsals at the University of Leeds.

And here’s the cast in rehearsals again, this time without Samuel (Quinney) but with Jake Pursell (playing the role of the American millionaire collector, Dupont Jordan) in the centre, on his knees examining a chair – Jake is an MA student, and has immediately immersed himself in the role…being from Texas, USA, himself!

The cast of Quinneys – without Samuel (Quinney), but with Jake (Dupont Jordan).

In the photograph (below) Jake (Dupont) and Stephenson (as Cyrus P. Hunsaker, another American collector in the play), greet Annabel (Posy), with India (Mable) and Fergus (James) to the right – and George, directing the play (but here playing Quinney). In the foreground is an inanimate ‘actor’, (a reproduction ‘Persian’ vase) taking the part of the rare ‘Kang Hsi, mirror-black bottle’ that also stars in the play.

Jake, George, Stephenson, Annabel, Fergus and India in Quinneys rehearsals

Indeed, in this week’s rehearsals we used some stand-in props for the real antiques that we will be using as part of the set for the play. In the 1910 and 1920s, when Quinneys was first performed, several leading antique dealers, such as Moss Harris and Walter Thornton-Smith, provided appropriate antiques for the set – and for our performance at The Witham, we have been lucky that several antique dealers, and also the Bowes Museum itself, have agreed to loan antiques for the play.  For rehearsals of course, we need ‘stand-ins’, and in the photograph (below), Samuel (Quinney) and Stephenson (Hunsaker) discuss a rare Charles II walnut armchair (which will be on loan from the Bowes Museum) using a large blown-up photograph (fixed to the cream seminar room chair, between them) of the very chair that will be in the performance!

Samuel (Quinney) and Stephenson (Hunsaker) discuss an ‘antique’ chair in rehearsals for Quinneys.

We did manage to use one real antique in the rehearsals – a 19th century key, one that Posy places in the Kang Hsi ‘mirror black, bottle’ and which opens an antique lacquer cabinet that is one of the stars of the show (in terms of inanimate objects at least) and into which she has placed a love letter to James – and here’s the very key – appropriately, given that it is the key that opens a cabinet into which a love letter rests, shaped like a ‘heart’!

The key to Posy’s Heart – from Quinneys!

One of the aspects of the performance that we will be debating and discussing in the proposed workshop on Sunday 29th March – the day following the re-staging of Quinneys – is the complexity of the idea of ‘authenticity’ in a workshop titled ‘Dealing with Authenticity’ and led by our colleague Professor Jonathan Pitches (Professor of Performance at the University of Leeds) – so having the actors working with ‘fake’ antiques, and then working with the genuine thing, will be something we might ruminate upon; as well, of course, as what it means to embody, to become, a character in a play as part of a performance.

Indeed, what is especially interesting (for me) is that the fictional character of the antique dealer Joseph Quinney is actually based on a real life antique dealer, called Thomas Rohan, who was trading in Bournemouth and Southampton at the time that Horace Vachell composed his play (and associated novel) – and, as if to reinforce the point, here is Samuel, holding a photocopy of a photograph of Thomas Rohan, of about 1920 – Samuel becoming Thomas Rohan, becoming Joseph Quinney!

Samuel, as Quinney, as Rohan.

And here’s a few more photographs of the student actors in rehearsals – they are all fantastic actors and are performing brilliantly – you will miss something special if you don’t get to see the play!….seats are going fast, so do book before they all go!

Hannah (Mrs Susan Quinney) and Samuel (Quinney) in rehearsal.

Annabel (Posy), Hannah (Mrs Quinney) and Fergus (James) in rehearsals for Quinneys.

India (Mable), Annabel (Posy) and Fergus (James) in rehearsals for Quinneys.

And finally, an amusing shot, from an amusing scene in the play, with Annabel (Posy) and Fergus (James) in foreground, with Samuel (Quinney) and Hannah (Mrs Quinney) in the background, sneaking a look at the two young lovers – (in the play, the whiteboard will be an 18th century  Chinese lacquer screen…..we hope!)

Mark

Annabel (Posy) and Fergus (James), with Samuel (Quinney) and Hannah (Mrs Quinney) in the background – rehearsals for Quinneys.

 

February 9, 2020

Quinneys Rehearsals

Our rehearsals for the play Quinneys continue apace – with Dr George Rodosthenous leading the direction of the performances.  This week George assembled the whole team, including Professor Jonathan Pitches, who is taking the lead on the ‘Dealing with Authenticity’ workshop which takes place at The Bowes Museum on the day following the restaging of Quinneys at the Witham in Barnard Castle.  Here’s the whole team at the rehearsals –

The Quinneys team – back (Annabel, Mark, Fergus), middle (Stephenson, Hannah, Samuel), Front (George, Jonathan, India, Morgan).

George (centre) directing India (sitting) and Morgan (back) and Fergus (right) in rehearsals for Quinneys.

George had the cast reading sections of the play, revealing insights into the characterisations, and drawing out some great performances from the actors.

Annabel and Fergus reading for ‘Posy’ and ‘James’.

Here’s (left) Annabel and Fergus taking on the character of ‘Posy’ (Quinneys’ daughter) and ‘James Miggot’ (Quinney’s workshop foreman).  And (right), George, directing India (seated), playing ‘Mable Dredge’ (Quinney’s typist), and Morgan (background) playing ‘Cyrus P. Hunsaker’ the American millionaire collector, with Fergus as ‘James’.

And another few photos of the cast getting into character – with (left to right) India, Samuel (as the eponymous Joseph Quinney), Morgan, Annabel and Fergus, rehearsing a scene set in ‘Quinney’s sanctuary’ – Quinney’s collector’s paradise, full of extraordinary antiques.

Quinneys actors – (left to right) India, Samuel, Morgan, Annabel, Fergus.

We are working with The Bowes Museum and local antique dealers in Barnard Castle to source the antiques for the stage set.  In 1915, when the play was first performed, several well-known London antique dealers loaned antiques for the set, including Walter and Ernest Thornton-Smith, who, co-incidently (or maybe not) traded in Soho Square, London, which was also the fictional location of Quinney’s  antique  shop in the novel ‘Quinneys’ (1915).  Indeed, one of the aspects we are thinking through in the restaging of Quinneys is the notion of authenticity – Jonathan Pitches will be working with the actors, reflecting on authenticity of performance and authenticity of character in acting, alongside me (Mark) working on authenticity of objects (antiques) and authenticity of identity (of antique dealers), in the ‘Dealing with Authenticity’ workshop on the day following the performance at The Bowes Museum.

To that end, George got me to work with an imaginary ‘antique chair’, examining it as if I were an antique dealer, for the student actors – (that’s as much acting as I am going to do!) –

Mark, explaining how an antique dealer examines an ‘antique’ chair……

Hannah, another of the student actors, also joined in the rehearsals, playing the part of Susan Quinney, Quinney’s wife – here’s Annabel (left) as ‘Posy’, with Hannah (right) as ‘Susan’, reading from a scene in Act 1.

Annabel (left) and Hannah (right) rehearsing for Quinneys.

George and the actors are certainly creating a fantastic atmosphere, and I am sure that when Quinneys is eventually performed on Saturday 28th March at The Witham, is will be a brilliant production!  Here’s a final few photos of George and the team.

George (centre) with the student actors at the rehearsals for Quinneys.

And a final, much more professional photograph, of Stephenson, India and Samuel (back row), with Annabel and Fergus (front).

part of the cast for Quinneys – Stephenson, India, Samuel (back) with Annabel and Fergus (front)

Don’t forget to book your tickets for Quinneys – you can book your seat HERE

Mark

January 30, 2020

Quinneys Auditions

Preparations for the re-staging of the play Quinneys (first performed on 20th April 1915 at The Haymarket Theatre in London) at the Witham Theatre in Barnard Castle on Saturday 28th March are coming along well – we had some good publicity from The Antiques Trade Gazette (thank you to Frances Allitt) and the bookings are coming in well – don’t forget to book your ticket – you can book via The Witham  HERE or the link via the Year of the Dealer Project website HERE

Poster for Quinneys, Birmingham performance, 1920.

Over the past few weeks George Rodosthenous (who is directing our re-staging of the play Quinneys)  and I have been auditioning some of the students from George’s BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds for the acting parts in Quinneys. We think we have just about finished casting the play now, and have some wonderful student actors – all brilliant in fact!  Yesterday we auditioned Annabel Marlow, India Walton, Samuel Parmenter and Fergus Johnston – in the weeks before we’d seen Stephenson Catney, Morgan Buswell and Hannah Rooney (I did a few tweets on the research project Twitter feed, if you want to see them!)

Here’s Fergus, Annabel, India and Samuel, from yesterday, chatting about the play in one of the audition rooms at the University, and with George, ‘directing’ Annabel and India…!

Fergus, Annabel, India and Sammy in the auditions for Quinneys

 

Fergus and Annabel have been cast to play the parts of James (Quinney’s workshop foreman) and Posy (Quinney’s daughter) and did some brilliant improvisation (directed by George!) at the auditions. India and Samuel took the parts of ‘Mable Dredge’ (Quinney’s typist) and Joseph Quinney himself. Here’s Fergus and Annabel and India and Sammy reading for the parts!

Fergus and Annabel, reading for ‘James’ and ‘Posy’.

 

India (Mable) and Samuel (Quinney) in the auditions.

The part of Susan (Quinneys wife) has been won by Hannah, with Morgan playing ‘Sam Tomlin’ (Quinney’s brother-in-law, and also an antique dealer, like Quinney), with Stephenson playing ‘Cyrus P. Hunsaker’ (an American millionaire collector and rival to James for Posy’s affections) – we’re still looking for an actor to play ‘Dupont Jordan’ an American millionaire, but will find someone soon….

George introduced some music into the auditions (he played the piano) and we had Annabel singing ‘I love James’ to the tune of the popular 19th century lullaby, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’… (great performance!); and India, Fergus and Sammy all made the parts of ‘Mable’, ‘James’ and Quinney’ their own!

We’ve now got to sort out the stage set (using genuine antiques, thanks to The Bowes Museum!), and work up a theatre programme for the performance, and what seems like a million other things to sort out before the performance on 28th March – but George has already started the rehearsals for the play, and we’re very much looking forward to working with everyone on this one – Quinneys is, after all, the centrepiece for the Year of the Dealer project!

Mark

 

 

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