Widows at the Abbey Theatre Studio, St Albans

A LONG-HELD ambition for director Philip Reardon will be realised when the Company of Ten puts on Ariel Dorfman’s play Widows at the Abbey Theatre Studio, St Albans, from next Wednesday, January 25.

The play by the former Chilean exile draws on Dorfman’s personal political beliefs and reflects his involvement in challenging repressive regimes, notably in his home country where he lived for many years until he was exiled when General Pinochet came to power in 1973.

Philip Reardon saw the first UK production at the Edinburgh Festival in 1995 and said: “That first performance made a huge impact on me which was repeated when I acted the role of the Captain in a production at the University of Hertfordshire. But it is such a powerful and complex play, with so many different strands, that I have always wanted to direct it myself.”

He added: “It is a challenging play to put on, with a cast of no less than 16 people, set in 15 different locations. We have used video footage to present one element in the complex story, which brings a new dimension to the whole play. I think the play will challenge the audience’s views of the human consequences of political and military dictatorships.”

The play is set in a war-torn village in an unnamed country where all the men have disappeared. Their mothers, wives and daughters wait by the river and mourn. It is only when bodies start to be washed up that the women defy the military.

The production runs until February 4 with no performances next Thursday and Friday, January 26 and 27. Tickets can be obtained from the box office on 01727 857861 or online at www.abbeytheatre.org.uk