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Plays by Alan Richardson


Platform Party sample

The curtains open on a tableau horribly familiar to devotees of amateur drama festivals - the last night platform party. The adjudicator is waiting to announce the winners. Gleaming trophies await those winners. The chairwoman is ready with speeches in hand, blissfully unaware that things are about to start going slightly wrong and end in total mayhem.

MADGE It would be most remiss of me not to thank those unseen and unsung people without whose hard work our festival would be impossible. Please reserve your applause until I’ve mentioned everybody. Needless to say, Madge has a little list of those to be thanked. The others in the platform party are relieved to see that Madge’s notes are confined to one small folded piece of paper. Their relief turns to horror when that paper unfolds concertina style into a list that falls almost to the floor  First of all, I’d like to thank John Mitchell and his backstage stalwarts who have toiled enormously all week. I’m so glad that a little misunderstanding over expenses didn’t dampen their usual esprit de corps. 

A raspberry is blown offstage

Ahem… yes. But backstage is only the tip of the iceberg. We mustn’t miss all our front of house helpers. Those lovely cups of coffee don’t make themselves, you know. For that, we must extend our hearty thanks to Mrs. Jarvis for her relentless work in the coffee bar. You can take it from me; she has slaved like a darkie…

Immediate reaction of disapproval from the platform party and the “plants” in the audience. Madge anxiously checks her notes

Oh, dear. Made a slight faux pas there. I should have thanked Mrs. King for the coffee bar. Mrs. Jarvis, of course, manned the box office most… manfully. Then there’s Keith Burrrows, our front-of-house manager, always so dapper in tuxedo and red carnation. And as last night’s little emergency proved, a man who can turn his hand to anything. Thank you, Keith. Now I know who to ask next time my loo needs unblocked. Let’s not forget Lavinia Blake who handled the ticket sales and advanced bookings. Our apologies to the club who were inadvertently allocated the wrong night for their block booking. We hope that seeing three plays other than your own didn’t spoil your enjoyment too much. Also, our thanks to Peter Morris for taking on the thankless task of adjudicator’s steward. I do hope, Peter, that nasty-looking black eye clears up before long. Let us also thank those charming ladies who acted as hostesses for visiting teams. Although I would add that because of a complaint by a team who claimed that some of their cast felt unwell after drinking the tea provided in their dressing room, your committee will be reviewing the practice of accepting volunteer hostesses from other competing teams. Planning and running this festival is no easy task and many of you will recall the controversy surrounding last year’s winner. My heartfelt thanks go to my committee for their unwavering support in difficult times, particularly after certain allegations were made against my good self.

“Tut, tuts” and similar shocked reactions from the platform party and the “plants” in the audience   

Yes, totally unfounded allegations by individuals who will remain nameless.

But she fixes her gaze on a particular section of the audience  

WILSON (rising) Madam Chairperson, those responsible are out of order! Name names! (He comes forward and points to the audience) Name the alligators!

MADGE Fear not, Councillor, the “alligators” will be dealt with at our next A.G.M.

Councillor Wilson returns to his chair

Finally, I have one last big vote of thanks, to the man of the moment, our adjudicator, Mister Gilbert Hanwell… (Consults notes) Sorry… Hamnell. Don’t worry; I’ll get it right by tomorrow night.  She laughs at her little joke, but Gilbert is far from amused  

Where would we be without our adjudicator. He has impressed us, I think, with his theatrical know-all and his little anecdotes about his career with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I never realised that being a man-at-arms in Henry the Fifth’s army could be so exciting, did you?