HELLO AMERICA!—The famous Beverly Hills “Theatre 40” is currently highlighting the Terence Rattigan play Flare Path. It is a teaser of a story that keeps one wondering how the main respective characters will survive their personal predicament.
The one-set war time story takes place at the Falcon Hotel on the Lincolnshire coast where there is a RAF base. When the men plan a weekend with their respective spouses which includes London actress Patricia Warren (Christine Joelle) who has something to reveal to her pilot husband Teddy Graham (Christian Pedersen), this is when the plot begins to rumble a bit.
It becomes even more exasperating when the actress’ former Hollywood actor lover Peter Kyle (Shawn Savage) shows up to convince her to return with him to the states and this of course adds a rather humorous twist to the war time human drama.
Teddy’s tail gunner Dusty Miller (Caleb Slavens) is waiting for his wife Maudie (Annalee Scott) who is late. She works at a laundry since the war. Doris (Alison Blanchard) waits for husband Count Skrieczevinsky (Karl Czerwonka), a Polish pilot serving with the RAF. His wife and son were killed by the Nazis. Doris met him while she was a barmaid.
Rounding out the cast are hotel proprietor Mrs. Oakes (Ann Ryerson) and Percy (John Salandria) a waiter who is extremely interested in RAF operations and an airman Corporal Wiggy Jones.
Naturally soon after everyone arrives, Squadron Leader Swanson orders the men back to the base for a surprise night operation, leaving their wives to wait for their return, however Swanson who is affectionately referred to as “Gloria” by Teddy stays behind at the hotel. Dramatic moments become more intense when Patricia and Swanson peer out at the flare path from the hotel window, one plane after takeoff is destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Swanson calls airfield and learns the plane did not belong to any of their husbands.
Finally, Patricia makes up her mind about leaving husband Teddy; her decision has something to do with the war and one can easily guess what she was determined doing. This story would have made a perfect Hollywood film, especially during that period in history.
Director Bruce Gray did a masterful job knitting the very different characters together making their different personalities and objectives something universally understood. It was a time of war, a time of tremendous emotional complexity demanding an utter sense of our world and its reality.
The play is produced by theatre veteran David Hunt Stafford. Much credit must be given to: Don Solosan (Stage Manager) (Stage Manager), Jeff G. Rack (Set Designer), Michele Young (Costume Designer), Ric Zimmerman (Lighting Designer), Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski (Sound Designer), Ernest McDaniel (Prop Master).
“Flare Path” is a fine example of ensemble work. Any actor serious about his or her craft should see this production of Terence Rattigan’s beautiful play.
The performance schedule is as follows: November 20-December 15, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Also on Sundays at 7:00 p.m. on December 7 and 14.