Transit of Venus (1984)
by Ken Lucas
Directed by Ken Lucas
The second half of a double bill with Ritual for Dolls (1984).
"The Transit of Venus" is a story about a man and a woman of the mid eighteenth century attempting to survive the viscious abuse of ordinary people for the scientific ends of the Age of Reason. This is not teh world of Restoration Comedy but the one it depended on and never mentioned.
- Action of the play flows between a Deptford slum, Greenwich Park and The Royal Observatory in 1777.
- Dealer - Paul Valleau
- Landlord - Geoff Munday
- Clarissa Price - Julia Thompson
- Mistress Calthop - Frances Walker
- Will Price - Quinton Cobby
- Neville Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal - Jonathan Lewis
- Chairman - Geoff Munday
- Mathew - Paul Valleau
- Stage Manager - Iris Lenny
- Lighting Design & Operator - Richard Wood
- Sound Operator - Ray Ellison
- Wardrobe & Costumes - Elaine Valleau
- Set Construction - Nigel Howcutt, Ken Lucas, John Woodrooffe
Ken Lucas had previously presented his "Transit of Venus" in the Prompt Corner as a rehearsed reading. Now we saw it enacted in full production under the author's direction. The mannner of the play was stylish and elegant, but I found the point of the play elusive.
It is 1977, when the Astronomer Royal, Neville Makelyne, was recording celestial observations with his assistant Will Price. The plot deals with the relationship between Will and Clarissa, widow of his brother who was drowned at sea. I was puzzled that Maskelyne should have so elequently urged his assistant to marry his deceased brother's wife, surely an illegal act in those days.
But the play was delivered with great panache, with scenes of low life convincingly played by Geoff Munday and Paul Valleau and the events at the observatory tensely performed by Julia Thompson as Clarissa, Maskelyne and his assistant by Jonathan Lewis and Quentin Cobby, utterly transformed from the first play and giving full value.
Donald Madgwick, the Croydon Advertiser - reprinted in SCENE with permission.
Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Members are encouraged to write about their experiences of working on or seeing this production. Please leave your name. Anonymous entries may be deleted.
Have there been other SLT productions of this play? Link to them here.
Or add anything that is related within this site. The author's page for instance or other plays with a similar theme.