When fine doesn't mean fine – new play in Chichester and Arundel

So much lies behind the simple word “fine” as Chichester-based actor and now playwright Lucy Hornak explores in a new play she has co-written.
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F.I.N.E. will be given a rehearsed reading in The Steven Pimlott Education and Rehearsal Building at Chichester Festival Theatre on Tuesday, February 27, with tickets £8 available at www.ticketsource.co.uk/hornak-mcmahon. It will also be at the Vic Arts Institute, Arundel on March 23.

Lucy (Never Say Never Again, BBC Bleak House, Four Weddings and a Funeral) wrote the piece with Deborah McMahon (Three Musketeers, Peter Pan, Blithe Spirit). Both will be acting in it, joined by Nicola Dewdney (Holby City, Judge John Deed, Crazy For You) and Paula Tinker (Crazy For You, 84 Charing Cross Road, Poison Beds).

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As Lucy explains: “We wrote the play a couple years ago. I used to go to endless coffee mornings with young children and we would be sitting around and I was aware that women can get slightly competitive. But there is also a sense of pretending that everything is fine when perhaps it isn't. You are asked how you are and the natural response is to say fine when in fact response is not fine, when in fact the response really ought to be F.I.N.E.” – and Lucy will leave it to you to work out what those four letters mean in this particular context.

Lucy Hornak (contributed pic)Lucy Hornak (contributed pic)
Lucy Hornak (contributed pic)

“The play is about four women who are all best friends and they're very middle class and very rich but they also very bored. They meet for coffee mornings and it's all about their husbands and what their husbands are doing and about their children and what their children are doing but one of the women is training to be a therapist, Bibi. And she is realising that as friends they are really fake.

"She wants to find out what is really going on, and so the women actually start to realise that they are not being truthful, that in fact they are bored, lonely empty-nesters, middle-aged women who have lived their lives through their husbands... And then there is a bombshell.

“I play Sabbie and she is a perfectionist. She has got OCD and she wants everything to be absolutely perfect about the coffee morning but then you realise that she is deeply frustrated about her life. Her husband never looks at her anymore. She is bored and she is rich. She might have a beautiful big house with all the trimmings but there is something definitely missing in her life.”

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Lucy has already put the play on in London and was delighted with the response: “I was really shocked just how much people loved it. It struck a chord. There's a lot of sadness about the women in this. You think that they've got everything in their lives the reality is that they are lonely middle-aged women.”

Lucy would love for the play to be picked up and produced, perhaps by Chichester Festival Theatre: “I wouldn't necessarily want to be in it myself. It would be lovely if it were picked up with some big names.”