Deena Payne (Viv Windsor in Emmerdale, Calendar Girls) and CJ de Mooi (Eggheads, Deathtrap, Geek – The Musical) will star in two short plays: the UK premieres of On Tidy Endings and Safe Sex, from Tony Award-winning Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy).
Harvey Fierstein’s On Tidy Endings and Safe Sex
Whose loss is it anyway? That’s the bone of contention between a gay man and a straight woman who meet to tie up loose ends following the death of the man they both loved. The UK premiere of Fierstein’s vivid one-act, On Tidy Endings, is a fiercely funny and poignant study of how losing a loved one takes on unique new qualities when AIDS is involved. Unusually, it is a play where we never meet any AIDS sufferers; instead, it looks at the consequences and the people this virus leaves behind. On Tidy Endings will be preceded by the title play from Fierstein’s Safe Sex Trilogy, which explores a relationship under strain in the early part of the AIDS crisis and of desire unfulfilled out of fear.
The Safe Sex trilogy was Fierstein’s own response to living in the time of AIDS, dealing with his own confusion, anger and frustration. Yet he still retains his trademark humour in his writing, ‘Look, if I’m gonna bum ya out, I’m gonna make sure ya have a couple a laughs too! Life is funny – and the truer and more painful it is, the funnier it is.’ Lesser-known than some of Fierstein’s other plays, there can be no denying the importance of this trilogy. Here, his poetic writing elucidates how the advent of AIDS forever changed homosexual relationships.
Director, Dan Philips comments, ‘What makes this different from all the other ‘AIDS Plays’ is that it is not in fact about AIDS. Both plays instead look at who it leaves behind and is, at its heart, a play about dealing with loss whether you are gay or straight. Fierstein has become an institution in the world of the Broadway Musical but I am honoured to be able to explore his more intimate and semi-autobiographical work.’
The production will be in support of The Make A Difference Trust. The MAD Trust raises funds from the British Entertainment community and its audiences to support people living with HIV and AIDS and those in the entertainment industry facing hardship as a result of any long-term medical condition.
Mead – Cole Michaels, Arthur/Ghee – CJ de Mooi, Marion – Deena Payne, Jim tbc, June – Emma Blackman
Emma Blackman trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her theatre credits include: Blindness at 503 Theatre, In The Beginning Was The End with dreamthinkspeak, Comedy of Errors and Romeo & Juliet both with The Merely Players, Secret Music presents Laura Marling & Fulfil Me Fully Phil at the New Diorama Theatre.
CJ de Mooi is probably best known from his 10 years on the BBC quiz show Eggheads. Following on from this success, 12Yard Productions has developed a spin off programme called Revenge of the Egghead. Since first appearing in Eggheads, CJ has pursued an acting career performing in Pantomime, stage musicals and short films. 2014 brings CJ’s return to Eggheads after popular demand and also begins his solo quiz show, Revenge of the Egghead. One of his passions is charity work, especially in the HIV sector where he’s worked for over 20 years. Human rights, equality and childcare are other areas of keen interest.
Cole Michaels studied a Postgraduate Diploma in acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and his theatre credits include: The Victim/Chorus Member/Chorus Leader in Sports Play UK and international tour directed by Vanda Butkovic, Father/Son in This Child at the Bridewell Theatre directed by Max Key, Hamlet in Hamlet directed by Irina Brown.
Deena Payne is best known for playing Viv Hope in Emmerdale, a role she played for 18 years making her one of the longest serving female cast members in the shows’ history. She started her career in 1968 as a dancer performing in many television and stage shows, then followed an extensive career starring in theatre and musicals both West End and touring including the hit show Calendar Girls and pantomimes. Her television credits include The Bill, Tales of Sherwood Forest for ITV and Crime Stories. She has also starred in the films Valentino directed by Ken Russell and The Music Machine directed by Ian Sharp.
Director Dan Phillips graduated from Dartington College of Arts in Theatre and Arts Management before starting his own company, directing productions including the welsh premieres John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and The Angry Inch and The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. Since then he has written a number of short plays and educational films about theatre as well as a book My Desperate Cling to Youth.
Producer Jamie Chapman Dixon trained as a performer at Millennium Performing Arts accumulating credits such as Dancer/Understudy Prince, Sleeping Beauty, PHA, (Harlequin Theatre) and Actor, Les Misérables (Film). Since graduating in 2012 Jamie now no longer performs and concentrates solely on producing and directing. Jamie and CJ worked together on Geek – The Musical.
Director Dan Phillips
Producer Jamie Chapman Dixon
Casting Director Ben Newsome
Costume Designer Andrew Cox
Set Designer Joe Oliver Eason
Lighting Designer Matthew Swithinbank
Safe Sex and On Tidy Endings
Performance Dates Tuesday 22nd April to Saturday 17th May
Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm
Sunday matinees, 3.30pm
Running time 1 hour 40 minutes (including interval)
Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9NP
020 7240 6283
Twitter@TristanBates, @cjdemooi, @DirectorDan86, @OnTidyEndings
020 7240 6283, from £10
Suitable for ages 12+
Saturday 8th March 2014