The Day After the Fair is based on Thomas Hardy's short story On the Western Circuit, written in 1891 and collected in his 1894 volume of short stories entitled Life's Little Ironies.
Anna, an illiterate girl fresh from the country, works as maid to Edith Harnham, the bored and unhappy young wife of Arthur Harnham, a wealthy brewer in the cathedral town of Melchester. At the fair that has come to town Anna is picked up by Charles Bradford, a smart London barrister, who is on one of his visits on the western legal circuit, and becomes pregnant by him on the following day. A correspondance between them ensues, but the letters from Anna to Charles are in fact written on her behalf by Edith. She, as a result, becomes sentimentally involved, and Charles is so impressed by the elegance of the letters that he decides to marry Anna, only to discover too late that the style he likes so much is the mistress's, not the maid's.
Like several of Hardy's works of this period, this love-triangle tale illustrates his evident preoccupation with class, respectability and pregnancy outside wedlock. However, although Anna's fate is sad rather than tragic, unlike that of his other heroine Tess, it still reflects Hardy's determination to avoid a regulation happy ending.
Performances Mon 7th - Sat 12th Oct
at the Sherborne Studio Theatre.
Tickets will be available from Sunday 15th September