The Concord Journal

Concord Players re-enact wartime England

Louise and David Hannegan are starring in the Concord Players production of C.P. Taylor's funny and poignant play, "And a Nightingale Sang." which opens at 51 Walden on Friday, Feb. 6.

But the Carlisle couple's on-stage releationship is very different from those of past productions. They are father and daughter!

"It's an arrangement Dave doesn't enjoy as much as I do," says Louise, with obvious tongue-in-cheek.

However, though Dave claims "the stage isn't big enough for the two of us," it's the talented pair feels fortunate to be working together on such a challenging play. They agree that the stimulating direction of Michael Allosso, who is also currently directing Harvard's 139th Hasty Pudding Club Show, makes the experience even more worthwhile.

Dave plays the dotty grandfather, Granda, "The Old Soldier" who lives alternately with his two married daughters, toting his cat for which he secures a child's gas mask on the black market. Louise plays his favorite daughter, Peggy Stott, whose passion for the Church equals her husband's passion for the popular songs he continually plunks out on the old upright.

Two daughters, distinctly different in personality, round out this zany family to which Granda periodically returns ahead of time, whenever he can get away with it. Together they struggle to get throught World War II as best they can.


A special challenge to the Hannegans, as well as to the rest of the cast, is the Northern England dialect, an intgral part of the script. Director Allosso is striving for consistency of accent throughtout, rather than a "pure" rendition. The actors have been greatly helped by the coaching of Joan Garnett of Concord, who is from Newcastle-on-Tyne, the play's setting and dramatist Taylor's home base before his untimely death in 1981. In addition, the cast has spent many hour listening to tapes.

Careful attention to detail is what gives the Hannegans the mark of "pros." Whenever time could be snatched from Dave's work in advertising and Louise's family commitments, they have acted in community theatre.

Dave has also worked for professional companies, such as the New Rep Company, where in 1985 he played the lead in Shaw's "Misalliance." In addition, he appeared in "Three Sovereigns for Sarah," a recent PBS drama about the Salem Withch Trials, starring Vanessa Redgrave. Who knows, perhaps in their golden retirement years the Hannegans will have time to "go pro" more often.

Since 1971 and "The Hostage," their first Concord Players' show, the Hannegans have acted both separately and together in many productions at 51 Walden. They have also worked in several backstage and administrative capacities.

Whether acting or sweeping, the Hannegans obviously enjoy their work with the Players, especially in a production like "And a Nightingale Sang."

Show dates are Feb. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 at 8pm and Feb. 15 at 2:30 pm. Tickets are available at Richardson Drug, in Concord Center.