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Cause Célèbre
Cause Célèbre

by Terence Rattigan
Directed by Lesley Robins

14th to 21st October 2017

Auditions: Sunday 2 July 2017 @13.00hrs

Director: Lesley Robins. LesleyRobins22@gmail.com

0208 857 8664 07956 523216

LOVE.....LUST...MURDER.  In 1935, Alma Rattenbury, together with her teenage lover, George Wood, was put on trial for the vicious murder of her husband, Francis. The trial was a sensation, with the public screaming for vengeance on ‘this scarlet woman.’  This, the very last play that he wrote, shows Rattigan at his best, as he deals with the inequality of passion, the power of youth over age, the corrosive effects of English sexual Puritanism and not least, trenchant class attitudes.

CHARACTERS (Playing ages are provided. Actors can be older or younger depending on appearance and the extent to which they meet the requirements of the character).

ALMA RATTENBURY, late 30s/early 40s. Very attractive, hedonistic, a drinker, a bit of a puzzle. Possibly deceitful but initially genuine in her relationship with George. In her third marriage, fond towards her husband.

FRANCIS RATTENBURY, 60 plus. Deaf, losing money, dispirited in his work, no longer having sex with his wife, given to depressive episodes.

CHISTOPHER RATTENBURY, 13. Has a key scene with his mother during her trial.

GEORGE WOOD, 18. Good looking, bit rough round the edges, out of his depth at first with Alma, but becomes brash and confident. A jealous, fearful and subsequently violent lover.

IRENE RIGGS, 40s/50s. Alma’s companion, recognises Alma for what she is, but protective of her. Can be rather cold and is immediately suspicious of George.

EDITH DAVENPORT 40ish. A juror. Initially very disapproving of Alma. Divorcing her husband, an ‘unwilling’ wife, but devoted to her son...

TONY DAVENPORT 17/18. Takes a teenager’s interest in the lurid details of the murder case, keen to lose his virginity, as is his friend...

RANDOLPHE BROWNE 17/18. Also takes a salacious interest in the murder and its sexual context.

JOHN DAVENPORT. Mid/late 40s. Civil servant, worldly, has been having affairs, but loves his wife.

STELLA MORRISON Edith’s younger sister, rich, sharp witted, takes a much more relaxed attitude to the sexual mores of the time. Somewhat cynical and shows the class snobbery of the time.

IN THE COURT:

THE JUDGE, 40-70. He’s the judge! Passes the death sentence on George.

The lawyers are all shrewd, professional and somewhat cynical:

O’CONNOR, 35-65.  Alma’s defence counsel.

MONTAGUE  O’Connor’s junior. Could be under 30. Deals effectively with Alma, achieving a breakthrough with her.

CASSWELL 35-65. George Wood’s defence counsel.

CROOM-JOHNSON, 35-65 Prosecuting counsel.

JOAN WEBSTER, Wardress, 30s. Gruff-voiced, a rather forbidding woman, who unbends to show compassion for Alma.

SERGEANT BAGWELL, 40S. 20 years’ service as a police officer.  Describes the murder scene, central to the trial.

THREE/FOUR SMALLER PARTS THAT CAN ALL BE PLAYED BY THE SAME ACTOR: Porter, Prison Warder, Coroner and Clerk of the Court. The Coroner has an important speech at the end of the play.

AUDITION PIECES will be taken from the following:

EDITH DAVENPORT AND STELLA MORRISON: From Page 2, “A jury summons” to Page 4, “I really hate him”.

ALMA AND FRANCIS RATTENBURY: From Page 12, “Had a nice walkie?” to Page 13, “No uniform”.

IRENE AND ALMA: From Page 15, “What time, Irene?” to Page 16 “Yes”.

JOHN DAVENPORT: Speech on Pages 61-62 – he reads out his letter to his wife.

And/or JOHN AND TONY DAVENPORT: From Page 4, “Well, Tony” to Page 6 “What?

TONY DAVENPORT AND RANDOLPHE BROWNE: From Page 23, “Have you got to the orgy” to Page 25, “Solo, I should think, or else have cold tubs and brisk walks”.

EDITH DAVENPORT AND TONY DAVENPORT: From Page 39, “Do you remember the evening I was reading about Mrs Rattenbury” to Page 40, “I’ll stay the night”.

ALMA AND MONTAGUE: From Page 34, “Mrs Rattenbury, we’ve come to know each other”.....to Page 35, “Above all, how can you go on loving and shielding the man who did?”

JOAN WEBSTER AND ALMA: From Page 41, “Out of the way, you old bitch” to Page 42, “You’re going to look a picture in court, I know it...”

GEORGE WOOD AND CASSWELL:  From Page 47, “Mr Wood, we have only a few minutes” to Page 49, “Very likely. I’ll see you in court”.

ALMA AND CHRISTOPHER RATTENBURY: From Page 51, “How are you, Chris?’” to Page 52, “Oh damn! I promised I wouldn’t”.

SERGEANT BAGWELL AND O’CONNOR: From Page 68, “Have you never heard of hysteria, Sergeant?”  to Page 70, “That’s all.”

GEORGE AND ALMA: From Page 80, “Why was that door locked?” to Page 82, “Something really bad...”

ALMA AND CROOM-JOHNSON: From Page 92, “When Wood told you..”  to Page 93, “Responsible. Thank you”.

CASSWELL, CROOM-JOHNSON, O’CONNOR AND THE JUDGE: From Page 97, “...when this boy” to page 98, “You will now retire”.

JUDGE: Speech on Page 101 to Page 102, “Percy George Wood” ....to  “Let Alma Victoria Rattenbury be discharged”.

CORONER: Speech on Page 106

Cast 
 
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