House & Garden: Synopsis

Cast: 6 male / 8 female (+ various non-speaking dancers, bandsmen & children)
Running time (approximate): 2 hours 5 minutes - not including the interval
Availability: House & Garden is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French

House & Garden consists of two plays intended to be performed simultaneously in two spaces sharing the same cast.

Characters

Teddy Platt (A businessman, 40s)
Trish Platt (His wife, a designer, 40s)
Sally Platt (Their daughter, a schoolgirl, 17)
Giles Mace (A doctor, late 30s)
Joanna Mace (His wife, a teacher, late 30s)
Jake Mace (Their son, a student reporter, 19 - 20)
Gavin Ryng-Mayne (A novelist, late 40s)
Barry Love (A shopkeeper, 30s)
Lindy Love (His wife, a shopkeeper, 30s)
Lucille Cadeau (An actress, of a certain age)
Fran Briggs (Her driver)
Warn Coucher (A gardener, late 50s - early 60s)
Izzie Truce (A housekeeper, late 50s)
Pearl Truce (An occasional cleaner, late 20s)

Multiple dancers and bandsman, several children of about seven or eight years old.
The events of House & Garden are centred around a village fête taking place in the grounds of the Platt house.

House Synopsis

Teddy Platt is a well-known local businessman whose forefathers were eminent local politicians. His wife Trish is vehemently ignoring him, so he takes the dog out for a walk. His daughter Sally is also ignoring him, whom Trish asks to stop taking advantage of the lovestruck Jake, son of the local doctor Giles, and to attend the lunch for a visiting French film-star, Lucille Cadeau, and the novelist Gavin Ryng-Mayne. Sally meets Jake, who reveals Trish and Teddy are not speaking as Teddy is having an affair with his mother, Joanna, unknown to his father.

Teddy promptly asks Giles if he understands why Trish is not talking to him, who suggests it may be lack of sex. Teddy is desperate to clear this up as Gavin is actually coming to ask Teddy to run for MP. Giles reveals Joanna is acting strangely, has never enjoyed sex and he’s afraid he is losing her. Teddy hypocritically reassures Giles. Trish enters, ignoring Teddy, and sends Giles to see Joanna in the garden. From outside, we hear an enraged Giles shouting Teddy’s name.

A stricken Giles now ignores Teddy and Trish is immune to Teddy’s plea for a united front. Gavin arrives just after Teddy has sat on a plate of canapés left by Izzie, the housekeeper. Gavin asks Teddy to be the new candidate, which he accepts despite Gavin’s insistence the candidate must be above moral reproach. Everyone goes to meet Lucille, leaving Teddy alone and the first to meet Lucille as she steps through the French windows. He is smitten, but discovers when everyone else returns and starts speaking French, he is unable to communicate with her.

Teddy and Lucille bond, despite their lack of communication, over whisky and go to open the garden fête. Sally, besotted with Gavin, heavily flirts with him, who brutally manipulates her affections. Jake confronts him over this and is punched by Gavin. More chaos erupts as Izzie’s daughter Pearl shuts herself in the dining room to escape her knife-wielding mother. The gardener, Warn, appears and calms things down by promising to be a real father to Pearl. Trish and Jake have a heart-to-heat and Lucille appears with a trouser-less Teddy.

Later in the afternoon, Gavin decides to leave having confirmed his party won’t actually be requiring Teddy’s services. Trish finally speaks to Teddy to tell him she is leaving. Lucille heads off to the rehabilitation clinic she was actually destined for. Jakes finally gains the confidence to express his feelings for Sally, who promptly runs away, leaving the poor boy confused as Trish leaves the house, noting “That’s life, I suppose.”

Garden Synopsis

In the garden, Joanna hides in a bush when Warn enters, followed by Izzie whose lengthy gossip is met only by Warn’s grunts. Teddy meets Joanna about their affair, which he says must stop. Joanna breaks down and is found by Pearl, who suggests she should stick with Giles. He appears, but is only interested in his morris dancing at the afternoon fête. Pearl also talks to Warn - hinting something happened between him and her in the past. Jake tells Sally he hopes his father doesn’t discover his mother’s affair. Joanna has decided to confess though, but Trish bluntly tells her to end the affair, tell Giles and not to dare ruin the lunch party. Joanna, alone, rehearses her confession, alongside increasingly improbably suicide methods only for Warn to run her over with a lawn mower. Giles comes to help and Joanna reveals the truth. An enraged Giles shouts Teddy’s name.

Barry and Lindy Love are responsible for the fête and she is very much belittled by him. Gavin arrives lost as Warn has removed all the sign posts for the fête. Jake and Giles have a heart-to-heart, but Giles breaks down when discussing Joanna and Jake gets into an argument with Sally over a poem. Lucille arrives, not unnoticed by Barry while Lindy runs off upset, just as a storm threatens to break.

Joanna is having a break-down and believes Giles, Jake and Teddy have been replaced by aliens with improbable names, such as Harold. Giles has been abandoned by his morris dancing troupe and Lucille is interviewed by Jake, revealing she is an alcoholic on her way to rehab. The storm starts just as the fête opens leaving a drunk Teddy and Lucille to paddle in the long-broken fountain and pour out their woes to each other in different languages. Lucille drags Teddy into the fortune-teller’s tent and the fountain unexpectedly erupts into life. Izzie hears noises from the tent and believing it to be Warn and Pearl, cuts the tent ropes. Pearl appears and flees to the house, chased by a knife-wielding Izzie. Barry puts the blame of the tent on Lindy and Joanna gets into a fight with Lucille over Teddy, who has to concoct a lame excuse for why he is trouserless. As Gavin judges the fancy-dress, Lindy asks if she can get a lift with him to London.

Jake and Giles discuss their problems with women and Pearl persuades Giles to do a morris dance with her. Gavin leaves with Lindy in tow. Teddy and Lucille say farewell and he finds a note from Trish saying goodbye. Giles goes off with Pearl, leaving Teddy to note, as he fruitlessly calls for his dog and the fountain fails. “That’s life, I suppose.”

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.

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