By Terrence Rattigan
Separate Tables is the collective name of two one-act plays by Terence Rattigan, both taking place in the Beauregard Private Hotel, Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. The first play, titled Table by the Window, focuses on the troubled relationship between a disgraced Labour politician and his ex-wife. The second play, Table Number Seven, is set about 18 months after the events of the previous play, and deals with the touching friendship between a repressed spinster and Major Pollock, a kindly but bogus man posing as an upper-class retired army officer. The two main roles in both plays are written to be played by the same performers. The secondary characters – permanent residents, the hotel's manager, and members of the staff – appear in both plays. The plays are about people who are driven by loneliness into a state of desperation.