It’s All So Very… British!

by Abram Yarbro, dramaturg

See How They Run is quintessentially English. One of the reasons the play has been so successful is because of its cheery dialogue on English personalities, manners, and customs. For example, Miss Skillon is conservative and proper and Reverend Toop never intends to offend. The comedy comes when we see the English manner and propriety stretched to the breaking point as problems build and misunderstandings compound. Contrast this with our two American “yanks”, Penelope and Clive, who don’t care much for English propriety and often offend those who do.

Our first cast read through.

Our first cast read through.

Jumping into rehearsals this week, we’ve become quite preoccupied with the accents (and this show has some fun ones!). Visit rehearsals and you “shant” be surprised to hear us all chatting in our British accents, just for the fun of it.

So what accents do we have in the show? The Reverend Lionel Toop, Miss Skillon, and most of the other characters tend to speak “received pronunciation” or what is often referred to as a standard English accent, Ida has a delightful cockney accent, Clive and Penelope have an American accent, and our Russian has, you guessed it, a Russian accent. This all leads to great fun in the rehearsal room and even our director, Barta Heiner occasionally joins in with a cockney accent of her own.

Britain is filled with accents, hear some of the most popular here.

The script has some funny words and learning how to pronounce them in the correct accent can be quite a feat! Can you pronounce these words from the script in the standard “received pronunciation” accent? What about cockney?





YouTube has some great pronunciation guides if you’re having trouble. Listen close, practice a bit, and soon you too will be able to sound very… British!



“See How They Run” is Getting a Cast!

by Abram Yarbro, dramaturg

See How They Run is getting a cast! Only last night, thirty or so uber-talented actors gathered in the depths of Harris Fine Arts Center on BYU campus for the final callbacks. A few hours later, we had nine fabulous actors matched with nine hilarious characters: the cast. These ladies and gents will spend their evenings and weekends rehearsing for the next eight weeks in preparation for our November 7th opening.

While casting may seem like the beginning of a road, for those of us on the production staff, it’s only another step of an almost year long process. I am one member of that staff. In fact, my name is Abram Yarbro and I am the dramaturg for BYU’s production of See How They Run, a smart and hilarious farce directed by the incomparable Barta Heiner.

See How They Run is a three act farce set in a small English village in the 1940s. Miss Skillon, a nosy spinster, visits the vicarage where Reverend Lionel Toop and his actress wife, Penelope, live. Bad timing and all the wrong conclusions lead Miss Skillon to become convinced that the reverend’s wife is having an affair and she attempts to expose her. Add an escaped Russian prisoner, a cockney maid, visiting Bishop, handsome American actor, mistaken identity and lots of general confusion, and hilarity ensues!

As dramaturg it’s my privilege to bring you the backstage scoop as we head from today’s casting to opening day and beyond. Here on the 4th WALL, I’ll be posting a fun look at the inner workings of our show. You’ll get a chance to see some of the work put into a BYU theatre production and learn some fun facts about this absurdly amusing script. Think of this site as the “Extra Features” disc on your favorite movie. Among the snippets will be interviews with our brand new cast, looks at the script, discussions with the designers, glimpses at rehearsals, and the favorite on any “extra features” disc, the blooper reel.

So join us as we bring this rollicking show to the BYU stage. See you next week!