Undressing Friar John

About Friar John

Boiled down to pure plot function in the play, Friar John has one role: to deliver a vital letter from Friar Lawrence to Romeo, telling him of his intricate plan. To avoid marrying Paris, Juliet will drink a potion that will put her into a deep coma for twenty-four hours, ‘like death when he shuts up the day of life”. When she awakes, Romeo will be there to whisk her off to Mantua, a new life and a happy ending. Only, Friar John never makes it to Mantua; an outbreak of the plague creates a lockdown, and Friar Lawrence’s vital letter is effectively “returned to sender”. Friar John has only a few lines to explain his failed mission before the play accelerates to its bloody conclusion. But is he telling the whole story? Tom Lynas has unearthed and articulated a subplot with a very different twist… 

About the writer

I’m a writer from Newbury now living in London.  I write TV scripts, short stories and radio plays. I fell in love with audio drama while hosting on student and community stations and am currently developing a play for BBC Radio Four. In my spare time I perform in an improv comedy trio and occasionally sing sea shanties with a small acapella group. While re-reading Romeo & JulietI was amazed by the number of minor characters who barely get more than one line. I’m pleased to be able to tell Friar John’s side of the story.

Tom Lynas 

Company

Friar John
Friar Laurence
Arnold
Acacia

Director
Sound Design

Chris Hollis
Simon Mackarness
Ed Taylor-Gooby
Katie Solly

Becky Hope-Palmer
William Glancy

Biographies

Chris Hollis

Chris is an actor, writer, trainer and director who studied at Webber Douglas after reading English at St. Andrews. Theatre: MAMMA MIA!, RSC: Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Twelfth Night. What the Butler Saw, Ivanov, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Murder in the Cathedral, The Nightingales, My Cousin Rachel. Chichester Festival Theatre: Translations, The Tempest, The Relapse, The Royal Baccarat Scandal. PSF: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew. Directing: West Side Story, Oh What a Lovely War!, Grease, Honk, Just So, Guys & Dolls. TV: Das Boot (Series 2), A Touch of Frost, EastEnders, The Bill, Life Begins, Brookside, A Serpent in Eden, Take A Girl Like You.

Simon Mackarness

Before he retired, Simon was a solicitor in private practice in Petersfield for 40 years and, as a member of the Lion & Unicorn Players in the town, was involved in many productions over a period of 50 years.
More recently he has had parts in four productions in the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival since 2012, including Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Duncan in Macbeth, Adam in As You Like It and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Sir Thomas Erpingham in Henry V.
As an amateur he has enjoyed immensely working with professional actors and being directed by professional directors at PSF.

Ed Taylor-Gooby

Ed trained at East 15 Acting School and since then he has worked extensively in theatre. Credits include; Macbeth in Macbeth, Trigorin in The Seagull, Mr Toad in Toad of Toad Hall, Hastings in Richard III, Rob in Contentment, Michael in Dancing with Angels, John in the Coventry Mysteries, Albert in Ostrich Feathers, as well as numerous commercials. For the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival; Macbeth in Macbeth, Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Benvolio in RomeoJuliet. Ed is currently Head of Drama at The Royal School in Haslemere. 

Katie Solly

Katie trained at Guildford School of Acting after gaining a degree in French & Drama from Queen Mary and Westfield College, London University. She went on to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe, Brighton Festival, Canterbury Festival amongst others and various short films before taking a break to have her family. She moved into youth theatre, working with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre touring schools before opening her own theatre group, ACTion Drama, which ran for 15 years. She also runs Schools’ Shakespeare workshops for PSF. She teaches LAMDA speech and drama and RADA Shakespeare awards at St Catherine’s, Bramley. Katie first joined Petersfield Shakespeare Festival in 2014 and has played Mistress Quickly, Lady MacDuff, Gonzala, Audrey, Alice and Solinus in last year’s production of The Comedy of Errors.

Becky Hope-Palmer

Becky directed PSF’s summer production of The Comedy of Errors last year. She is based in Scotland and has worked with the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre as a workshop leader and director.
She previously spent two years on attachment with the Royal Shakespeare Company, working on the 2018/19 production of Romeo & Juliet and previously on Richard Bean’s The Hypocrite for Hull City of Culture 2017.
In Yorkshire, Becky is an Associate Artist of East Riding Theatre’s resident company, She Productions, having made the new musical, It’s Different For Girls, which played to great acclaim in 2017/18 and Bombshells in January this year.
Becky was a finalist for the prestigious JMK Directing Award in 2019.

William Glancy

Will qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1979 and immediately formed a rock band. Two Two released three singles and an album, Bikini Atoll, with Chiswick Records. In 1985, Will was building his recording studio and working at Chichester Festival Theatre designing sound for shows including Jane Eyre, Born Again, The Wizard of Oz, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Silver King, My Mother Said and the Royal Baccarat Scandal. West End credits include 70 Girls 70 and A Man for All Seasons with Charlton Heston. Touring credits include The Sound of Music and the English Shakespeare Company. Will has also toured the world as a sound designer for comapanies such as Shell, Nissan and Vodaphone.