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|Audition||Sat 29 October 2016||10:30am||Foyer|
In Georgian London no-one is more famous than Samuel Foote. Satirist, impressionist and dangerous comedian, he has become a celebrity at a time when the concept of selling personality was born. He even has the ear of the King. However, Foote soon finds himself at the centre of a media storm and under the surgeon’s knife.
In an age obsessed by fame, Mr Foote’s colleague from the worlds of science and the stage, (including Benjamin Franklin, Dr Johnson, David Garrick and Peg Woffington), begin to wonder; does fame make you mad? A ‘free adaptation’ based on Ian Kelly’s award-winning biography of Samuel Foote, this hilarious play explores our obsession with celebrities through the true story of the ‘Oscar Wilde’ of the eighteenth century. It is an outrageous tale of comedy, tragedy and fame that premiered to critical acclaim in 2015 featuring Simon Russell Beale as Foote.
This is not a play for children due to its themes of sexuality and eighteenth century medicine. Ian Kelly notes in his prologue: “I wanted to express some of the style of the Georgian age – a period I love - but for the modern audience; therefore the scabrous, sexually knowing underbelly of the Augustan age is also represented here in all its four letter, rakehelly, occasionally rancid ridiculousness and lack of political correctness. For this I make no apology”. He also says that, “One vital reason for telling this story was to address the heroism of Foote and of the scientific professions at the time, battling as they did prejudices which would now largely be considered ignorant, but at enormous personal cost”.
I am looking for actors who are able to convey the comedy and poignancy of this piece by portraying strong characterisations. The play’s ‘actors’ and ‘scientists’ have the added dimension of having ‘on’ and ‘off’ stage/lecture hall personas as the play moves between Georgian London theatres and lecture halls. (Audiences will love the theatre related humour). I will also look at how actors interact and work together.
I am very excited about this production. We will need to work hard to achieve the outstanding quality for which I will be aiming. I would ask you not to audition if you know you will not be available during the rehearsal period as rehearsals cannot be truly effective when people are missing. Due to the nature of the piece and the tight rehearsal schedule I need team players who are reliable, positive and enthusiastic, prepared to work hard between rehearsals and committed to the production so that we can all fully enjoy the experience and be pleased with the outcome.
Open auditions: 29th October 2016, 10.30am, Lewes Little Theatre
Audition information Characters (ages are very rough guides) Audition Pieces Samuel Foote, 30-50, comic dramatist, actor, impressionist and theatre manager. Strong comedic role, at times moving and will need to explore deterioration of mental health in second half. Theatrical. Loveable rogue. Plays female roles. Amputation on stage; only one scene with leg strapped up.
Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up” Frank/Foote pg 25 – 27 “Begging your pardon” – “Englishman” (Prince George/Foote/Peg/Hunter pg 42 – 44 ie. entrance and exit of George) (Frank/Foote pg 72-73 “When I first” – “slightly less”) Peg/Foote/Garrick pg 74 – 78 “Here dear fellow” – “I’m stumped” (Foote/Garrick pg 91 “What the hell” – “what theatre means”) Pg 95 – 96 “A lady” – “sodomite” King George/Foote pg 112 – 113 “We thought” – “wasting my time”
Peg Woffington, 30-50, famous Irish actress, large role, lively, funny, naughty, close relationship with Foote and Garrick’s lover (has had many liaisons). Moving final scene as she is dying.
Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up” Peg/Garrick pg 32 – 34 “Do you know” – “don’t do it Davy” (Prince George/Foote/Peg/Hunter pg 42 – 44 ie. entrance and exit of George) Peg/Foote/Garrick pg 74 – 78 “Here dear fellow” – “I’m stumped” Peg/Hunter pg 80 – 81 Start – “for the last scene”
David Garrick, 30-50, English leading actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer, central in reviving Shakespeare’s popularity in the eighteenth century (plenty of references to Shakespeare). Friend and rival to Foote.
Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up” Peg/Garrick pg 32 – 34 “Do you know” – “don’t do it Davy” Peg/Foote/Garrick pg 74 – 78 “Here dear fellow” – “I’m stumped” Foote/Garrick pg 91 “What the hell” – “what theatre means”
John Hunter, 30-50, another strong role, Scottish surgeon, first seen attending Macklin’s interval class to improve delivery of speech; we also see him as Foote’s friend, as a medical scientist giving lectures, as Foote’s surgeon amputating the leg (great scene).Treats Foote and Peg.
Act 1 Sc 1 Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up” Act 1 Sc 7 Hunter/Franklin (Prince George/Foote/Peg/Hunter pg 42 – 44 ie. entrance and exit of George) Peg/Hunter pg 80 – 81 Start – “for the last scene”
Frank Barber, 20-30, lovely role for a black actor; born into slavery on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, comes to London to work for Foote in the theatre. Great relationship with Foote until the ‘assault’ but still comes back to him.
Act 1 Sc 1 Frank/Foote pg 25 – 27 “Begging your pardon” – “Englishman” Frank/Foote pg 72-73 “When I first” – “slightly less”
Mrs Garner, 40-60, great character role; in charge of all things backstage, cockney, rough, speaks her mind, very funny.
Act 1 Sc 1 Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up” Pg 111 “Oh. Is that right” speech Prince George, later King George the Third, can double as Hallam, 25-45 The actor, Hallam, is stabbed through the eye with a walking cane by Macklin onstage (not seen) and brought offstage (seen) for a rather funny, if not disturbing, death scene. Whilst a non-speaking role we will need some ‘dying’ vocalisations! The role itself isn’t funny (rehearsal may change this) but what’s going on around the dying Hallam is very funny. Prince George; stylised Georgian movement, upper class accent, authority that comes with being a Prince/King, friend of Foote, loves the theatre.
Not auditioned; to be selected from auditionees
Prince George/Foote/Peg/Hunter pg 42 – 44 (entrance and exit of George) King George/Foote pg112 – 113 “We thought” – “wasting my time”
Charles Macklin can double as Benjamin Franklin, 50-70
Macklin; leading famous actor of his time, one very funny scene that includes the death mentioned above. He moves between his onstage performance of Shylock and the backstage class that he is giving with great theatrical aplomb. Well spoken, self-important.
Franklin; a polymath but seen here as a scientist and theatre lover. Works with Hunter and friend to Foote
Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up”
Act 1 Sc 7 Hunter/Franklin Pg 57 “We believe” – “already over” (without Foote) Miss Elizabeth Chudleigh, 30-45, non-speaking role, a famed beauty attending Macklin’s backstage class. Stunningly dressed, stylised movement. One scene but I may introduce another appearance. Can double as a stagehand.
Act 1 Sc 2 p7 – 15 ends after Peg says “she’d never shut up” Finally!
If you have any queries about the audition or would like a script please contact me on 01323 733748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to seeing you at the auditions on 29th October 2016.
Sandra Tomlinson Director
Rehearsals We will hold a cast event to get to know each other and discuss characterisations and a cast read through in December. Rehearsals will start on 4th January 2017 running three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings (Break 13th -17th Feb, half term)
NOTE: Members and non-members can audition. Everyone will need to be a fully paid up member to perform in Mr Foote’s Other Leg.