Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Few Words about Talking Heads

Talking Heads_left Banner“Some plays seem to start with an itch, an irritation, something one can’t solve or a feeling one can’t locate.” Alan Bennett

Highly regarded as one of the finest playwrights in Britain, Alan Bennett had always assumed he would grow up to be a clergyman, if for no other reason than the fact that he looked like one.

Luckily for audiences, Mr. Bennett has had the opportunity to write and play many vicars, as a playwright, screenwriter, actor and author, without actually being one. He is best known for The Madness of King George III which won a BAFTA in 1996, and The History Boys, for which he was awarded the Tony for Best Play in 2006.

Alan Bennett’s best characters are often downtrodden or unfortunate in life.  Some of his most familiar characters came to life through Talking Heads, a series of monologues written for BBC Television in 1987 which earned him his first Lawrence Olivier Award. These poignantly comic pieces introduced British audiences to six characters, ranging from a reluctant vicar’s wife to a middle-aged man caring for his aging mother.

Talking Heads gives these characters the opportunity to tell the story from their own perspective, without contradiction from other characters, and discovering new things about themselves along the way. At the same time, the characters force audiences to read between the lines. As Alan Bennett said in an interview: “. . . the monologue is all about what’s not there. What they don’t tell you.”

This summer Elements is bringing three of these characters to life. Join us July 31 – August 9 for Bed in the Lentils, A Lady of Letters, and A Chip in the Sugar.