Two feisty and talented women , both in their sixties , not ready to retire, combine their acting and producing skills to create their own show. Deirdre tells their story:
How the The Adventures of Eve, a new two woman show, came about! Two actresses, Leonie Wilde and Deirdre Dee, that’s us or at least those are our professional stage names, first met many years ago, in a summer season show in Devon, and kept in touch via a mutual friend throughout the next 40 years!
Coincidentally, we both ’retired’ to the West Country a couple of years ago, and discovered, that although we had scaled down our theatrical work since leaving London, we had both kept up our additional careers……Leonie as Drama Examiner and Vocal coach, and Deirdre as a Coach and Business Mentor.
This was to be enough work we both said. But somehow, after one of those long lunches so beloved of actors, we found ourselves discussing the idea of a two woman show. Why did we think we could do this? Well we had both worked extensively in the theatre, films and television and both had the additional experience of having been directors and producers.
Famous women in history
Our initial idea was to put together a kind of “Seven Ages of Woman” programme, using speeches, poems and anecdotes, but as we researched and discussed the project further, we decided it would be more fun if we made it into a kind of romp through famous women in history, starting with a bored Eve in The Garden of Eden, going full circle and finishing with a latter day Eve who’s a wife, mother and career woman and has to juggle all those roles, multi-tasking to the point where she’s so exhausted she’s asking God if he/she can put it back as it was before!
Among the famous women featured in the production are;
Eve, Cleopatra, Godiva, Queen Elizabeth 1st, Aphra Behn, Mrs Malaprop, Mary Shelley, Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale, Marie Lloyd, Sarah Bernhardt, Agatha Christie, Barbara Cartland, Fanny Craddock,, Germaine Greer, Maggie Thatcher, Nigella Lawson, Delia Smith, Anita Roddick and Joan Rivers.
What led us to believe that we could pull this off? Our backgrounds were fairly impressive. Leonie’s work ranges from Shakespeare to stand-up comedy. She toured with musical shows such as ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, and Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ She worked with Sir Alan Ayckbourn and Sam Mendez appearing in many West End Theatres, the National and the Old Vic while her television credits included a 10 year period performing comedy sketches in ‘The Two Ronnies’.
First Night Nerves
Deirdre worked in West End Musicals such as the Gershwin revival “Oh Kay”, and “The Rocky Horror Show, whilst in pantomimes she was in great demand as principal girl to Barbara Windsor and Anita Harris. She has presented her one woman show about Marie Lloyd, The Music Hall Star, at The National Theatre, and The Royal Theatre of Copenhagen. She was then Managing Director of a corporate events company, whose clients included PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hitachi, Dell and the London Business School.
The first night of “The Adventures of Eve” earlier this year was a little nerve wracking, we had set ourselves the task of learning the whole show, but decided that we would use binders with sparkly covers so that in the event of either one of us ‘drying’ we would have the words near at hand! I’m pleased to say that that first night back in February this year went really well, the audience gave us a round of applause as we walked on to the stage and they started laughing almost immediately! That was a relief, because our show is a mixture of serious moments, factual material and plenty of laughs (we hoped!)
‘The Adventures of Eve’ has now received bookings through the summer and autumn and we are booking into next year. We are touring the show mainly around the West Country and seem to be proving popular at Probus Clubs, WI and Rotary clubs as well as being booked as novelty after dinner speakers at fund-raising dinners. We have split the production into several time formats, so we are able to suit most clients’ requirements. It was a challenge and a lot of work writing, learning and now promoting “The Adventures of Eve” but we feel a tremendous sense of achievement that we can still “do it” and have something relevant to say.
“Fab after Fifty?” we’re “Super after Sixty!”
See our website for further details. http://www.deirdredeeproductions.co.uk