directed by Geoffrey Reed

Performances

Thursday 23rd October 1997, 7.45pm
Friday 24th October 1997, 7.45pm
Saturday 25th October 1997, 7.45pm

The Cemetery Club is a tender and poignant
comedy about three widows who meet once a
month to pay tribute to the past.

As the play unfolds, their inner feelings
are revealed and show that whilst life must
move on, true friendship remains constant.

Poster

The Cast
Ida Grace Reed
Doris Dilys Mason
Lucille Patricia Helingoe
Sam Jeff Lomax
Mildred Belinda Coghlan

Backstage
Director Geoffrey Reed
Stage Manager Chris Saunders
Lighting Nick Capey
Sound Gordon Livingston
Properties Lucille Connolly
Stage Assistant Julie Hanson
Wardrobe Grace Reed
Prompt Marguerite Alexander
Artwork Margaret Walker
Peter Hammond
Programme Bill Beton

While we are here........

We arrived at Akron-Canton Airport, Ohio, around 11 oclock in the evening, nearly 20 hours after leaving Manchester Airport, to stay a few days with our friends, Liz and Ron, at the beginning of four weeks holiday in North America and Canada.

"Is there anywhere you would like to go?", our friends asked politely.

"Can we manage a Jewish Cemetery?", we replied casually. Through their good friends, and now ours, Terry and Ed, we were introduced to Evelyn Adelman who was kind enough to take us to the cemetery where her husband was buried.

As our cars drove in, the Perpetual Care workers seemed to move around a little more obviously, tending the planted graves, most of which had low evergreen plants in the centre of the box surround; the words in the script came alive to us. The similarity in the wording on the stones and the number of husband and wife graves, some still waiting for the second partner, had a moving effect.

Evelyn chatted to us and answered our questions and said just before leaving she would visit her husband to place a stone. She explained that the stones were removed regularly so that they did not pile up, usually on an anniversary date. "I put a stone to show I have been", she said. "He knows, but why not show others." But we suspected that, like the ladies in our play, there was more to it than that; it helped to bridge the gap.

In September, Terry and Ed sent an article from the Canton newspaper on customs concerning Jewish burials there. This contained more helpful information. Flowers are not used at funerals; "If you want to do something, give it to the living". (Ida: "Whens the last time you were given flowers?" Doris: "Abes funeral."). Eleven months after a person is buried, families are permitted to go to the cemetery to put up a monument.

The rest of our holiday was not wasted: the purchase of fabric in a sale in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; a pattern at the Hudson Bay Company store in Calgary, and other items that could be squashed into already overfull suitcases.

Our Thanks To...

Our grateful thanks go to Evelyn Adelman and our very good friends in North Canton, Ohio. We are also indebted to Fillis Rosenberg here in Manchester for further help in Jewish customs; to Caryl Bloch for her help on dialect ("Ive lived in England for 30 years and have lost my accent!" she cried). Also thanks to Lyndon Jones of Radio 3 who sent a very helpful letter in response to an appeal for help, having heard a piece of music that seemed just right by a composer not listed in the popular catalogues. (The piece was "Ragtime and Blues" by the Finnish composer Uuno Klami.)

Grace and Geoffrey Reed