New play by Alan Ayckbourn features Martinican characters

“My Wonderful Day,” the new play by prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, has as its protagonists a Martinican mother and daughter whose dream is that of returning to their home island. The title refers to the essay that 8-year-old Winnie (Ayesha Antoine) has been assigned to write for school. This day finds her in the elegant town house where her very pregnant mother, Laverne (Petra Letang), works as the cleaning woman.  Laverne has ordered Winnie to speak only French on this day, to prepare for the day when they will go to Martinique, home of Laverne’s family. Abandoned by her husband, Laverne dreams of such a day. While Winnie sits dutifully writing out her essay, she eavesdrop on the characters who come in and out of the apartment as they speak freely before her, assuming she does not understand English.

The play, a farce than ends with Laverne going into labor, is given serious overtones by Winnie’s presence, which brings an element of innocence and sadness to the otherwise zany proceedings.

The play is being performed through December 13 in New York City at the 59E59 Theater on 59 East 59th Street. The entire company has been brought in from the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, England, where Alan Ayckbourn had been artistic director for 36 years until his retirement from that post this year, and where almost all of his 70 plays have received their initial presentations.
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