London Assurance

London Assurance

London Assurance

Dion Boucicault

Tony Bannister

8 - 15 July 2023

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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Audition Info
Audition Thu 13 April 2023 7:30pm Foyer

“I consider it a duty which every gentleman owes to society, to render himself as agreeable an object as possible”

Born in Dublin in 1820, Dion Boucicault was one of the most versatile and highly celebrated writers and actor-playwright-managers of the Victorian era, on both sides of the Atlantic. Opening in 1841, when Boucicault was only 21, London Assurance was a major success in both London and New York. In it, Boucicault lampoons stereotypes of mid-Victorian upper-class society, whilst at the same time showing a touching appreciation of the beauty of love and loyalty. The play has been revived many times to great acclaim, notably by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1971, and the Royal National Theatre in 2010. It is joyous and eccentric, energetic and fast moving, and is full of opportunity for actors who enjoy character development and ensemble playing. There will be three evening rehearsals per week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) beginning on Monday 01 May, with two all day rehearsals on Sunday 25 June and Sunday 02 July. The audition will be held in the theatre on Thursday 13 April. Prior to this, on Thursday 06 April, there will be a familiarisation session. This is optional but will be a helpful opportunity for those interested in auditioning to talk about the play, and also to watch the video of the 2010 Royal National Theatre production, to give an idea of the style and atmosphere we aim to achieve. (Please note, we will NOT be working from the script used by the RNT). For copies of the audition pieces, or to talk about the production, please contact Tony Bannister, 07963 941001 (anthonybannister1@sky.com).

Characters

Sir Harcourt Courtly - 50s/60s - One of the great comedy characters of British theatre, Sir Harcourt is a man forty years behind his time. In the world of Dickensian London he lives, in his mind at least, the life of a Regency dandy at the forefront of society and fashion, adopting the attitudes and poses of the day, whilst ignoring the restrictions of his expanding waistline and stiffening joints.

Charles Courtly - 20s/30s - Sir Harcourt’s son, who lives a life of self-indulgence, womanising and mounting debt, carefully hiding the truth from his father, who believes him to be meek and studious. When forced to adopt a false identity and escape to the country, he falls in love with Grace Harkaway, and everything changes.

Richard Dazzle - 20s/30s - A shameless opportunist who lives entirely off his wits. Could well have been the Artful Dodger in an earlier life. Has a razor-sharp intellect, and a heart of gold.

Max Harkaway - 50s - Squire of the manor of Oak Hall, Oxfordshire. His life revolves around his horses, hunting, madeira and Havanas, but particularly his niece Grace, for whom he has cared since her father’s death.

Grace Harkaway - 20s - The squire’s niece, betrothed from childhood to Sir Harcourt by a legacy in her late father’s will. As such, she is resigned to her future, and dismisses all thoughts of love or romance. Until she meets Charles.

Lady Gay Spanker - 40s/50s - Good friend to the Squire. Resolute, forthright, and unashamedly OTT, she pursues life with all the thrill of the chase. The character of Lady Gay offers great opportunities for an actor who wishes to explore high comedy.

Adolphus Spanker - 50s/60s - Lady Gay’s apparently weak and ineffectual buffoon of a husband, who finds from somewhere formidable inner strength when faced with the ultimate challenge. Another opportunity for high comedy.

Mark Meddle - 30s/40s - An itinerant lawyer who, having failed in London, comes to the country to find victims to entrap for personal gain. Makes a number of high-impact appearances.

Cool - 40s/50s - Sir Harcourt’s valet. Has all the suavity of an experienced gentleman’s gentleman, as well as the ability to cope with any situation in which he is placed by his master’s eccentricities. Just.

Martin and James - 20s/40s - Footmen to Sir Harcourt and Squire Harkaway respectively. Roles to be doubled, (i.e., played by one actor). James must have a strong rural Gloucestershire accent. Martin mustn’t.

Pert - 20s - Grace’s maid and confidante. A country girl who knows her place, but also knows her own mind and is a great support to Grace.

Solomon Isaacs - 50s - A money lender. Appropriately smooth but ruthless. A lovely cameo role.