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The Audience
The Audience

by Peter Morgan
Directed by Pauline Armour

2nd to 9th May 2020

Playing Dates: 2-9 May 2020

Audition Date and time: Sunday 07 July 2019 3.00pm

Director Pauline Armour (armourgg19@gmail.com  07984722308)

This is a play about real people, some of whom are still very much alive today, particularly the central character of our Queen, Elizabeth II. The ‘audiences’ have of course been imagined by Peter Morgan (The Crown) , the playwright, as no-one really knows what is said between her Majesty and her PMs. There is plenty of leaked anecdotal  evidence however which gives life and brings humour to the series of conversations which have deliberately been scripted in a non-linear style. Most of the scenes take place in the audience room at Buckingham Palace plus scenes at Balmoral, so a creative set design is needed to move swiftly between the two locations.
 
In casting this intriguing and beautifully written play I will not be looking for ‘look a likes’ or caricatured performances, but for actors who can bring honesty to the roles and really understand the situations with which  the politicians and the Queen had to deal. Clearly the ages of the Prime Ministers will be a consideration and basic height and body shape – the physicality for example of Winston Churchill and Sir Anthony Eden are very different – as are Harold Wilson and Tony Blair. Good RP will be necessary for most of the politicians and of course the way in which the Queen’s voice changes over the years will need to be considered.
 
The role of the Queen should be played by one actor (as both Helen Mirren and Kristen Scott Thomas did in London and in Helen Mirren’s case on Broadway) The use of wigs and costume will play a major part in this production. Many costume changes happen on stage so the dressers play a vital role.
 
The Cast:

Queen Elizabeth II – (Playing age from 25 to 86) Huge role hardly, off the stage,  and in many cases is dressed onstage very rapidly to change the year and consequently her age. Actors should be able to deliver the script with the type of RP for which the Queen is instantly recognised with the type of authority which relates to her status.
 
The Queen at 25 with Churchill: From page 25, Churchill: ‘Second drawer on the right’ to page 27, Churchill: ‘Who knows where things might end’
 
The Queen at 86 with Cameron: From page 82, Elizabeth: ‘I seem to have done nothing but welcome you back from European summits’ to page 85, Cameron: ‘Extraordinary’
 
The Queen at 60 with Thatcher: From page 72, Thatcher: ‘Your Majesty’ to page 74, Thatcher: ‘.......to call ‘The Best of British’
 
Young Elizabeth – (Playing age 11 to 13)  Medium role. The Queen as a girl - be good to have a young looking 17 year old to avoid having two actors. This should not deter younger actors who are interested in the role. Excellent RP required – a clear voice with excellent diction is essential.
 
Page 37, Young Elizabeth: ‘ What did mummy mean’ to page 38, Young Elizabeth: ‘That the King and Queen have ....’ AND Page 30, Young Elizabeth: ‘I don’t like this place’ to page 31, Young Elizabeth: ‘This is me ....as me’
 
Winston Churchill  - (Playing age 78) Large role. Highly experienced PM, hero of WW2 and a great traditionalist.  Audience during 1952 when the Queen is 25.
 
From page 25, Churchill ‘Second drawer on the right’ to page 27, Churchill: ‘Who knows where things might end’
 
Anthony Eden – (Playing age 59) Large role. His health is not good and he is agitated about Suez. Audience in 1956 when the Queen is 30.                                                                                                                      From page 63, Elizabeth: ’Prime Minister’ to page 65, Eden: ‘Ma’am...’
 
Harold Wilson – (Playing age 48 and 52) Large role. A subtle Yorkshire accent. Wilson rather unsure during first audience in 1964 but during his time at Balmoral in 1968 much more relaxed with Queen. (She is 38 and 42) And in a later scene in 1975 he is 59 and the Queen is 49.
 
Page 32, Wilson: ‘I suppose I should kick things off with an apology’ to page 34, Wilson: ‘And what a mess those Conservatives left us’ AND page 57, Wilson: ‘Here we go again’ to page 58, Elizabeth: ‘I think you’ve lost them already’
 
Margaret Thatcher – (Playing age 61) Large Role. She is very angry during her audience with the Queen – in relation to what The Palce had leaked to the Press about her. Audition in 1986 when Queen is 60. From page 72, Thatcher: ‘Your Majesty’ to page 74, Thatcher: ‘.......to call ‘The Best of British’
 
John Major – (Playing age 49 and 52)Large role. Rather beleaguered by his own party and feeling despondent in 1995 and during a very difficult audience with the Queen in 1992. (Queen is 69 and 66)      Page 18, Major: ‘ I only ever wanted to be ordinary’ to page 20, Major: ‘I’d be as happy as Bunter in a bakery’
 
Tony Blair – (Playing age 50) Small role – re.Iraq. Audience with Queen in 2003. Queen is 77. Could be doubled with David Cameron.                                                                                                                                Page 42, Elizabeth: ‘Is it even legal’ to page 43, Blair: ‘ And go in hard’
 
Gordon Brown – (Playing age 58) Large role. Cultured Scottish accent -  A Colossus with a bit of OCD. The audience is in 2009. The Queen is 83.                                                                                                                                  Page 39, Brown: ‘So humiliating’ to page 40, Elizabeth; ‘Back to your trip?’
 
David Cameron – (Playing age 48) Large role/ could be doubled with Tony Blair. Audience in 2015. The Queen is 86.
 
From page 82, Elizabeth: ‘I seem to have done nothing but welcome you back from European summits’ to page 85, Cameron: ‘Extraordinary’
 
Equerry – (Playing age flexible - could possibly be a woman) Medium role.  Very proper and great respect for tradition. Appears throughout the play. Page 47, Equerry: ‘If there’s one thing Her Majesty really loathes’ to page 48, Elizabeth: ‘I’m fine! Now scram!’
 
Bobo Macdonald  – (Playing age late 30s) She is young Elizabeth’s nanny. She has a Scottish accent. Small role – could double with private secretary. Page 37, Young Elizabeth: ‘ What did mummy mean’ to page 38, Young Elizabeth: ‘That the King and Queen have ....’
 
Dressers x 2  – Vital roles as responsible for The Queens rapid changes – most of which take place on stage. No lines but need to be very well organised. Could be members of the wardrobe team.
 
Detectives x 2 (Playing age flexible). Very small roles could double with Cecil Beaton/ Archbishop of Canterbury. Lines on pages 86, 87 and 88
Cast 
 
Crew 
 
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