The final week of rehearsals for Before the Party and it’s time to reflect

It’s the week of tech and dress rehearsals for Before the Party and JMK Assistant Director Flora Longley-Cook reflects on what the play actually means

Before The Party MASTER FINAL copyFive weeks later and we have a show on our hands. A production up on the stage, living and breathing at Salisbury Playhouse!

Through the blog you’ve heard my ramblings about meeting the company and theatre, about the shifting atmosphere due to the themes of the play, the growing set and the wonderful crew, the role of my job and others; but I haven’t really spoken about what the play is about. What it means, why Salisbury Playhouse has chosen to put it on, and why we have spent five weeks making it.

It’s a thought I’ve been getting my head around.

Social mobility, the want to rise above one’s station, the value of the upper/ middle classes are all mixed around in there.

Then there’s war and violence, and the difficulty and need to move on from it, that raises its dark head.

I ponder over the idea of perspective, how a sister’s, father’s, mother’s, friend’s, child’s mind sees an event from many different often opposing angles.

And family, which when we look deep into this play we see is at the heart of it. It’s something we can all relate too, something that none of us can get out of, even if we want to.

All these ideas swim around in this play and enrich it, but fundamentally there is something much deeper than these. Something which turns a comic family drama into a great story and makes it utterly relevant to our present.

There’s a word that has kept cropping up in our process: masks. The mask you wear. And what’s exciting for us as an audience is what’s underneath that mask. Because in the end, after much deliberation, this play is really about lies, and what they can do.

The play orbits around lies, lies to the world, to loved ones, and to ones-self. It makes it unsettling and absorbing.

What the lies are, I can’t tell you … you’ll have to come watch the show to find out.

Before the Party runs in the Main House from Thursday 4 May to Saturday 27 May. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit



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