David Copperfield

David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Charles Dickens

Adapted by Gary Andrews

Steve Lewis

3 - 10 December 2022

Performances

Sat 7:45pm, Mon 7:45pm, Tue 7:45pm, Wed 7:45pm, Thu 7:45pm, Fri 7:45pm, Sat 2:45pm, Sat 7:45pm theatre

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Synopsis

Set in the first half of the nineteenth century, David Copperfield is a fictional account of Dickens’s early life. It dramatises his life’s adventures from his unhappy and impoverished childhood and follows the ups and downs of his journey to become a successful novelist.

Audition Info
Audition Thu 15 September 2022 7:30pm Foyer

Performance dates: 3 - 10 December

Rehearsal dates: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 October and every Sunday from 6 November

Set in the first half of the nineteenth century, David Copperfield is a fictional account of Dickens’s early life. It dramatises his life’s adventures from his unhappy and impoverished childhood and follows the ups and downs of his journey to become a successful novelist.

The audition process

Once you have chosen the role/roles for which you would like to audition, you just need to select a page from the script in which the character appears and be prepared to present your interpretation. You can use a friend to read in any other roles from the scene or the audition panel will read in for you.

The script is available to download or print at: David Copperfield - FINAL SCRIPT - 8-8-22.pdf

If you are auditioning for Barkis, Emily or Dora please be prepared to sing eight bars of “Past Three a Clock”. There will be piano accompaniment and the music and words are available at: Past 3 a clock melody.pdf

An audio recording is also available at: Past Three O'Clock.mp3

If you have any questions about the audition process you can email the director, Steve Lewis at: stevelewiswsm@gmail.com

Characters

Davy / 8 – 12
David Copperfield as a young boy. Observant and inquisitive. Attached to his mother and Peggotty, his nurse. He is defiant when his new stepfather arrives, and he must survive being cruelly treated after his mother dies. He plays David up to the point he runs away from London. The actor also plays one of the Micawber children and David’s own son at the end of the play.

Trot / 12 – 18
David Copperfield as a teenager. He gains in confidence and develops a platonic love for Agnes, has a more mature relationship with Steerforth and despises Uriah Heep. He plays David up to the point at which Barkis dies and he is a teenager no more. The actor also plays a schoolboy, a bottle washer and one of the Micawber children.

Young Agnes / 13 – 18
Clever and insightful. In love with David from the moment they first meet but conceals it, choosing to be treated like his sister. She is protective of her father, Wickfield, and fully aware of Uriah Heep’s bad influence over him but powerless to act. She plays Agnes in Act 1. The actor also plays a schoolboy, one of the Micawber children and David’s own daughter, Little Agnes at the end of the play.

Little Emily / 8 – 12
Independent and feisty even as a young girl. Is flirtatious in an innocent way with David. A poor orphan who is loved by her uncle and Ham. She plays Emily in the first two Yarmouth scenes. The actor also plays a bottle washer, one of the Micawber children and David’s own daughter, Young Betsey at the end of the play.

Clara doubling Dora / 20s
David’s young mother (Clara) and his eventual wife (Dora). They are remarkably similar in character, hence the doubling. Clara tries to stand up for herself but is easily bullied. She loves Davy but is prepared to sacrifice that love to be re-married to Murdstone. Dora Spenlow is innocent and giddy. Kept from the ‘real world’ by her protective father, she is scatter-brained and unintentionally funny, but David is absolutely besotted by her. Dora sings “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose” and plays the guitar/mandolin. The actor needs to be able to sing but can mime the guitar if not a player.

Betsey Trotwood / 40s – 70s
David’s aunt who is eccentric, brave and bold but with a heart of gold when it comes to those she loves. Edith Evans played her in one adaptation and there is a no nonsense quality about her. Requires a broad acting style.

Peggotty / 30s – 60s
David’s trusty and devoted nurse, who stays with him for all her adult life. She is from a Yarmouth family so has a Norfolk accent. Warm, down to earth and one of life’s grafters. She often must bite her tongue because of her station in life, even when she knows something is wrong.

Agnes / 20s – 30s
Agnes is devoted to David and, even though her heart aches, she encourages his marriage to Dora. She rises above the indignities she must suffer whilst Heep tortures her father and lusts after her. She is a dutiful and caring daughter who carries herself proudly. She finds her ultimate happiness when David realises that he has loved her all along and they marry. The actor plays Agnes in Act 2, so in Act 1, the actor also plays a Street Seller and a Party Guest.

Emily / 20s
Emily has grown up to be an attractive and passionate young women. She gets engaged to Ham but her world is tuned upside down when Steerforth appears and woos her away. She becomes a “fallen woman” but is saved by her Uncle Dan who emigrates with her to Australia. Emily sings “The Parting Glass” which is the finale to Act 1. Ideally speaks with a Suffolk/Norfolk accent.

Jane Murdstone doubling Rosa Steerforth / 40s – 50s
Both characters are unlikeable because of their sternness and unforgiving natures. Jane Murdstone is like a shadow to her despicable brother. Aloof and haughty, suffering from a disappointment in life. Rosa is a combination of Steerforth’s mother and her companion: she is obsessed with her son in an unhealthy way. He injured her when he had a tantrum as a child and scarred her lip. She yearns for her son to love her but is incapable of showing him any affection.

Mrs Micawber / 40s – 50s
The put-upon jovial wife of Wilkins to whom she is devoted. The part has been played by Patricia Routledge and by Imelda Staunton who capture the comic side to her character. She copes with 4, or is it 5 children? She has probably married beneath her because she comes from a well-to-do Devon family who would never have taken in lodgers. She has a kind heart and looks after Davy when he is young. Matriarchal but gentle with it.

David Copperfield / 20s – 30s
David is the narrator of the story, and he plays himself for the last third of the play when he falls in love with Dora. He is probably best described as the romantic lead who falls hopelessly in love, oozes goodness and cannot see the reality of situations. As the narrator he is the successful writer, happily married and turning 40. As the David in the narrative, he journeys through his 20s and 30s, reacting emotionally to situations and is not entirely practical. It is a demanding role because the actor is hardly ever offstage.

Dr Chillip doubling Creakle & Mr Spenlow / 40s – 50s
Three contrasting roles for a character actor. The professional doctor who delivers David as a baby. The grizzly, drunk headmaster (Creakle) who is all too handy with a cane. Both Laurence Olivier and Ian McKellan have relished playing Creakle on screen. Business-like Mr Spenlow (Dora’s father), who is a spendthrift and blames the lack of funds on his unseen partner. He enjoys life too much and dies onstage of a heart attack.

Murdstone doubling Wickfield / 30s – 40s
Murdstone is an unfeeling, devious opportunist who woos vulnerable women for their money and drives them to their grave. He is all charm on the surface but underneath there is no compassion. In contrast, Wickfield is a victim, weakened by the sadness brought about by his wife’s early death and dependent upon his young Daughter, Agnes to care for him. He is manipulated and deceived by his apprentice Uriah Heep and drinks to excess to hide his depression.

Ham / 20s
The young, honest and simple boatman who has been brought up by Dan. He loves Emily and is about to marry her when she is stolen from him by Steerforth. Despite the wrong done to him, he bares no malice towards Emily. He is a Yarmouth lad, so speaks in a Norfolk accent. His tragedy is that he is just too good and too nice.

Dan Peggotty / 30s – 50s
A bachelor seaman with a Norfolk accent and brother to Peggotty. He has brought up Ham and Emily as though they are his own children when their parents died or were drowned at sea. He is rough around the edges, but he is a working class gentlemen with a warm heart who treats David as one of his family. It is an emotional role to play.

Barkis doubling Mr Dick / 40s – 50s
Both eccentric characters. Barkis, the carrier, because he can barely put a sentence together. He has a Suffolk/Norfolk accent and can only express his love for Peggotty by telling David that “he is willing”! Mr Dick, because he believes the thoughts of the beheaded King Charles I are in his head. He likes to fly kites and has lucid moments. He is from the middle classes and Betsey has rescued him from his family who wanted to commit him to an asylum.

James Steerforth / 18 – 28
A Byronic and arrogant young man who wastes his privileged and monied background by behaving exactly how he wishes. He sees beauty in the young David and befriends him and protects him at school. He abuses their friendship later in life when he steals Emily away from Ham. He is a tortured soul who needs therapy but instead inflicts his ills on the goodness of others.

Uriah Heep / 20 – 35
Obsequious, oily and ‘umble! Heep worms his way into the Wickfield business and his revenge on being born low is to rob his employer and his clients of their money by devious means. There is something reptilian about his movements and he is tall and thin like a stork. The archetypal Dicken’s villain which should be played with relish.

Wilkins Micawber / 40s – 50s
A larger than life character who is always waiting on expectations but is constantly in debt. He is one of life’s philosophers: good with words but hopeless in his actions. The part has been played by W C Fields, Arthur Lowe and Ralph Richardson, which gives you an idea of the comic potential. He becomes David’s friend, and his honesty shines through when he exposes Heep’s villainy. His verbosity is one of his characteristics.

Ensemble Players
Ideally you will enjoy singing as part of a chorus as you will provide the soundtrack to scene changes. You will also be engaged in the placing of furniture for the different scene changes, so will be on view to the audience in Victorian costume.

Six actors (Ideally three male and three female) / 20s – 60s
School boys sing a chant and taunt David in the playground. Bottle washers sing “Five Green Bottles” whilst washing, throwing and catching bottles! Creditors shout and chase Micawber and David through the streets. There are two party scenes with opportunity to drink champagne and dance. There is a Vicar, Verger and guests at David and Dora’s wedding. Fisherman and Fisherwomen have a vital part to play in the storm scene where they describe what’s going on out at sea and haul in the drowned bodies of Ham and Steerforth.