Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Oliver Samuels, Basil Dawkins serve up 'Divorce Papers'

Published:Tuesday | December 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Oliver Samuels (left) and Maylynne Lowe in a scene from Basil Dawkins' 'Divorce Papers'.
Oliver Samuels (left) as Augustus Geoff, the bewildered husband to wife Grace, played by Barbara McCalla (right) in 'Divorce Papers'.
Oliver Samuels (left) and Basil Dawkins.-Contributed photos

Come December 27, when the proverbial curtains open at the Little Little Theatre, theatre goers will be treated to a joining of two powerhouses when Oliver Samuels, takes on Divorce Papers, his first Basil Dawkins script.

In the 40 years that Dawkins and Samuels have been friends, there has always been the intention to and recommendations that they work together. The closest they came was more than 20 years ago when Samuels took on Dawkins' two-hander Champagne and Sky Juice in London, one of the many episodes Samuels believes played a part in getting them to Divorce Papers. "It's God who decided that now is a good time to collaborate. The amount of incidents that have taken place to take us here. I am currently deciding where I want to take my career; Basil is looking towards new markets. I need to be challenged by the material I am working with without losing the integrity of who Oliver as a performer is. Basil Dawkins, through his excellent writing, is offering me this with Divorce Papers, so it is the right time to collaborate," said Samuels.

'for the sake of the children'

Divorce Papers, a funny, if not cheeky, but definitely not trite comedy drama, looks into the marriage of a mature couple. Married for 30-plus years, for 20 of those years the wife keeps insisting on wanting a divorce. Distraught, the husband finally, but reluctantly, relents and agrees - "If only for the sake of the children and grandchildren" - to find that it is when the divorce papers are served that the "real hell and fury" break lose.

Samuels heads the cast as Augustus Geoff, the bewildered husband to wife Grace, played by multiaward-winning actress and drama school batchmate, Barbara McCalla. The cast is rounded out by Maylynne Lowe as Stacey, a paralegal; and Dennis Titus as the sexy "body builder" Wayne.

So what can audiences expect from this collaboration? According to playwright- producer Dawkins, they can expect all the elements of what theatre goers have come to associate with his work: a solid script that is dramatic, but with a healthy regard for the power of comedy; believable characters grappling with relatable issues; and excellent acting and production qualities.

"People are interested in seeing Oliver's perspective on my work," Dawkins said. "I have every confidence that he and the rest of the cast, under the direction of Douglas Prout, will not disappoint."

Samuels, who has been producing, writing, and directing his own productions for the last three years, is happy to be concentrating on the aspect of theatre he loves best: the business of performing. "Yes, man! Competition tun up for the 2014 theatre season. Audiences will be in for a treat as I and my fellow actors are guaranteeing a most fulsome performance every night," Samuels declared.

Teaming up with Dawkins has taken Samuels full circle. In 1970, he left his little community of Tremolesworth, St Mary, in search of a larger stage. His earliest opportunity came through his training at the Cultural Training Centre, on the grounds of the Little Theatre, now home to the Little Little Theatre. Forty-four years later, Samuels has truly returned home with Divorce Papers.

Divorce Papers will also feature an alternate cast of veteran actors and alumni of the CTC, Teddy Price and Ruth Ho-Shing.

Divorce Papers opens at the Little Little Theatre, 4 Tom Redcam Avenue, Kingston, on Saturday, December 27, at 5 p.m., and will run Tuesdays to Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 5 and 8:30 p.m.