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Woman in Mind
Woman in Mind

by Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Scott James

11th to 18th January 2020

Directed by Scott James

Saturday January 11th to Saturday January 18th 2020

Auditions: Sunday 7th July 13.00 to 13.55 

This is an opportunity to be involved in a deeply important play. A play that talks about mental health, sexual repression and the damage that a lack of affection and empathy can cause to a person and their loved ones.

Woman in Mind is a comedy about a woman having a mental breakdown - a black comedy. Susan finds herself middle-aged, in a loveless marriage with a son who doesn’t speak to her anymore and despairs on how she got there. She invents a fantasy family who is everything her real family isn’t – a world she can escape into and live out her dreams. However, as the play unfolds, she loses control of her fantasy leading to increasingly hilarious scenarios until she can no longer tell the difference between her real and imaginary worlds. It’s very funny, undercut with poignant moments about living in a loveless marriage after the love, and the children, have gone. Uniquely this play is written as a first person narrative and is imaginatively plotted. What Susan experiences is what the audience see and hears, whether that be real, fantasy or something in between.

This is a play that will need five men and three women. All roles are of size, however the role of Susan is absolutely huge - she is the eyes and ears of the play and never leaves the stage. I will need a cast and crew that is dedicated, hardworking and willing to work in a piece that will have a real family feel due to the close relationships of the characters. Confidence and bold ideas are heavily encouraged.

This is an exciting show to be a part of technically; the play takes place in Susan’s real garden - a relatively plain and uninteresting place, however when she begins to get lost in her fantasy world we drift over to the garden in her dream home. A garden fit for a queen that is fitting for her fantasy mansion - tennis court and swimming pools and all (off stage of course!). This will be accompanied by clever area lighting and atmospheric sound cues to give us the sense of moving between worlds and leave us questioning; what is real and what is a fantasy?

The Parts

Susan (mid-40s to early 50s)

Wife, mother - in most respects very ordinary. A woman who has doggedly played the role of a vicar’s wife for many years without any reward, playing second fiddle to more determinedly motivated personalities than her own. Sexually repressed, she has lived in a marriage lacking any real passion. A complex character – comforted and enthused in her fantasy, bitter and despairing in the real world - her natural charm and wit occasionally breaks through. Susan is the centre of the play through whose eyes and ears the audience see and hears the action. However, beware, she may not be a reliable witness.

Gerald (mid-40s to mid 60s)

Susan’s husband, the vicar. More interested in writing his history of the parish than his wife. The sort of vicar who doesn’t really inspire anyone to believe in God. Avoids conflict.

Muriel (mid-50s to mid 60s)

Muriel, Gerald’s live-in sister, a widow who has known her share of suffering and is anxious that others know it too. Described as dark, angular, grim looking in a rather firm sort of way. She fiercely stands up for her brother much to the annoyance of Susan. And she can’t cook.

Rick (early 20s)

The son who has escaped to a religious sect who forbid members from talking to their parents. Appears first time just before the interval, contrary to the build-up there is nothing at all extraordinary or alarming in his appearance.

Andy (early 40s to early 50s)

Susan’s fantasy husband. Like Tony and Lucy, appears to come straight out of a 50’s TV ad. Charming, considerate, good looking - however turns out to have a demonic side.

Tony (30s)

Susan’s fantasy younger brother, her antidote to Muriel. A lovable cad, always pulling her leg as younger siblings do. His charming, easy going personality however masks a cruel streak.

Lucy (early 20s)

Susan’s fantasy daughter. Every mother’s dream – high achiever, good looking in a classic way. But still ‘Mummy’s little girl’. Idolises Susan.

Bill (mid-40s to mid 50s)

The local doctor. Eager to reassure, quick to apologise for his shortcomings. Alas not an instinctive healer of the sick. Lacks belief in his self. He has had a ‘thing’ about Susan for many years, not that Susan has ever noticed.

Audition Pieces:

Susan, Andy, Tony & Lucy: Pg 7 (Drink it darling, it’ll buck you up.) to Pg 10 (I love more than words can say..)

Susan & Bill: Pg 11 from (…right, right, splendid. Did the trick did it?) to Pg 13 (Ah yes. Silly Question)

Susan, Gerald & Muriel: Pg 27 from (I didn’t sleep again last night.) to Pg 29 (So you keep saying.)

Susan & Lucy: Pg 34 from (Mummy, Daddy says lunch will be ready in fifteen minutes…) to Pg 35 (Did they darling?)

Susan & Rick: Pg 60 from (I can’t go into it now mum.) to Pg 61 (God help any daughter who had you as a mother).

Sat 11th JanSun 12th JanMon 13th JanTue 14th JanWed 15th JanThu 16th JanFri 17th JanSat 18th Jan
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