We have finally decided on our great season of plays at the Gladstone Theatre for 2018/2019. The auditions for next season’s plays will take place in the Gladstone Theatre on Monday 28th May 7.30pm and Friday 1st June 7.30pm. This is for the first two plays of the season, Snake in the Grass by Alan Ayckbourn and The Lion in Winter by James Goldman. The auditions for the third play Outside Edge by Richard Harris will be on Sunday 10th June, 2.30pm at the Gladstone Theatre.
Snake in the Grass
Alan Ayckbourn’s supernatural thriller, his 61st play.
Directed by David Oliver.
Snake in the Grass
Written in 2002, this is a ghost story/thriller by Alan Ayckbourn and has a cast of 3 women.
Annabel, the older sister, has returned home following the death of her father. She is immediately approached by Alice, who nursed her father, who complains to Annabel that Miriam, her younger sister has sacked her, and to gain revenge she is intent on blackmail. Alice is demanding that Annabel pays Alice £100,000, or she will go to the police as she says she has evidence that Miriam murdered the old man. Miriam and Annabel join forces to dispose of Alice, but that is not the end of the story……
What follows is never what you expect, and it was described by the Sunday Times as “A creepily, scarily, eerily enjoyable evening”.
All the parts in this play are large roles with a lot of dialogue, so an experienced cast will be required in order to hold the audience’s attention for the whole evening.
All the ages shown are playing ages, and are approximate, and we can be flexible with the casting.
Annabel Chester Age 35 -50 : She was a successful married business woman, now divorced, and her business has collapsed. Their father has left the bulk of his estate to her.
Miriam Chester: 35-50 : She is Annabel’s younger sister, eternally house-bound to her late father’s house, and a bit resentful that she was left alone to deal with their father.
Alice Moody: 35-50 : A nurse for Annabel and Miriam’s father shortly before his death. She needs to be reasonable agile as she is put down a well, which will be rostra height.
6th – 9th March 2019
The Lion in Winter by James Goldman
This play about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, was an Oscar winning film starring Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn.
Directed by Caroline Kay.
The Lion in Winter
Set during Christmas 1183 at Henry II of England’s castle in Chinon, France, the play opens with the arrival of Henry’s wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom he has imprisoned since 1173. The story concerns the gamesmanship between Henry, Eleanor and their three surviving sons Richard, Geoffrey and John and their Christmas court guest, King Philip II of France (the son of Eleanor’s ex-husband King Louis VII of France.) Also involved is Philip’s half sister Alais, who has been at the English court since she was betrothed to Richard at the age of 8, but has since become Henry’s mistress. The aim is to sort out a successor to the English throne – Henry favours John, Eleanor favours Richard and Geoffrey will play both sides against each other and come out on top (he hopes). Henry would also like to have another heir by his mistress Alais, but that would only add to the confusion.
A fast paced, witty piece of drama – ‘Dynasty’ for the Middle Ages.
Henry II, King of England – (50+) Though aging, Henry is still very nearly as vital as he ever was. His manipulations of family and others are portrayed as spontaneous and emotional as opposed to the clinical stratagems of Eleanor and the calculating machinations of Geoffrey.
Queen Eleanor – (50+) Eleanor was 11 years older than Henry in reality but that doesn’t really matter here. She is a beautiful woman of hot temperament, great authority and presence. She has been queen for 46 years and is thoroughly capable of holding her own in a man’s world. She schemes against Henry and loves him intensely at the same time. She has contempt for her children but is not willing to see them harmed.
John – the youngest son of Henry and Eleanor. He is sulky and sullen, Henry’s favourite but also the weakest. He vacillates throughout the play and is easily tricked and manipulated by Geoffrey.
Geoffrey – he is the next youngest of their sons and a man of energy and action. He is attractive, charming and has the strongest intellect of the family. He is also a cold and amoral schemer.
Richard (the Lionheart) – he is the third, and eldest, surviving son. Richard is handsome, graceful and impressive and has been a famous soldier since his teens. War is his profession and he’s good at it. He is easily the strongest and toughest of the three brothers.
Alais – she is in love with Henry. Everyone underestimates her intellect and power. Initially portrayed as an innocent, by the end of the play she has acquired a ruthless streak.
Philip II, King of France –he has been King of France for three years. Not as accomplished as Henry in manipulating people but acquires the skill as the play progresses.
John, Geoffrey, Richard, Alais and Philip all have to be of a similar age.
12th – 15th June 2019.
Outside Edge by Richard Harris
This hilarious cricketing comedy needs no introduction, and was first staged by us in 1996.
Directed by Gareth Jones.
Roger is having trouble getting a team together for the afternoon’s fixture against the British Railways Maintenance Division Yeading East but this proves to be the least of anyone’s worries. Bob is having marriage trouble as he is still doing odd jobs for his ex-wife behind his current wife Ginnie’s back. Dennis is also having marital trouble as his wife seems intent on moving house despite the fact they only moved recently. When he finally puts his foot down she sets fire to his new car. Kevin is trying to fight off his over affectionate wife Maggie while at the same time nurse his injured spinning finger and Alex’s new girlfriend ends up shutting herself in the toilets having hysterics. Even Roger’s seemingly perfect marriage to Miriam hits the skids when she discovers he was playing away from home in more ways than one on a trip to Dorking last year. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse for them, it starts to rain.
Characters (All the ages are flexible)
Roger : Roger is the team captain who seems to enjoy being the leader more than actually playing cricket. Likes to think of himself as a great leader of men and organiser but in reality most of the organising is done by his wife. Outwardly he and Miriam have a perfect marriage but there is in fact very little in the way of affection between the two and when he says I Love You it’s usually just to keep her happy and not because he really means it.
Miriam : Miriam has put up with Roger’s cold and almost uncaring attitude for many years and hides all her frustration behind her beaming smile and sunny personality. Miriam is the real organiser of the team but she lets Roger take all the credit for it as she knows it makes him happy. She becomes increasingly frustrated as the play goes on and finds it more and more difficult to keep it in.
Kevin : Kevin is the closest thing Roger has to a real friend on the team and the demon spin bowler. Married to Maggie whom he adores despite their explosive relationship. He often behaves like a petulant child sulking when things don’t go his way and blowing hot and cold with Maggie over her mothering of him.
Maggie : Kevin’s wife who adores him but often behaves more like his mother than his wife. Like a mother she is very good at dealing with Kevin when he gets in a sulk. Maggie is not a stereotypical woman and is more at home doing DIY than domestic chores.
Bob : Bob is married to Ginnie but still spends a lot of time with his ex wife doing odd jobs mainly out of guilt. Bob has a constantly guilty expression and never seems to be able to say not to anyone. Despite his faults Bob is a down to earth sort who has no time for pretentious phonies like Dennis and arrogant show offs like Alex.
Ginnie : Bob’s long suffering second wife. She arrives unannounced at the match when Bob has left to visit his ex-wife leaving Miriam to try to cover for him. Ginnie’s relationship with Roger and Miriam is strained to say the least as Roger was very fond of Bob’s ex-wife and Ginnie views Miriam as an interfering busy body who spends too much time worrying about other people’s marriages and not paying enough attention to her own declining one. It is Ginnie who first hints to Miriam about Roger’s little indiscretion in Dorking.
Dennis : Dennis is a carpet salesman who likes to give the impression he is a well-connected self-made man. Dennis also fancies himself as a ladies man but just comes across as a letch. In an effort to get people to like him he gets equipment for the team which he gives them at a reduced price claiming he gets it wholesale when in fact he has paid full price.
Alex : Alex is a lawyer who, perhaps for this reason alone, is much disliked by Bob – although in truth, if only out of jealousy, there are plenty of reasons to dislike this character; if his abundant snobbery and good looks aren’t enough, he is also by far the best batsman on the team. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Alex is also the only unmarried male in the play – but makes up for this with nothing less than a pole dancer girlfriend who, in one comic moment in the play, feels the need to lock herself in the toilets due to her treatment by Alex.
Sharon : Sharon is Alex’s latest girlfriend who like most of the women he tends to attract isn’t overly furnished in the brain department. She feels very out of place at the cricket club and the fact that Alex ignores her doesn’t make things any better. She ends up locking herself in the toilets and having hysterics.