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Rules for Living
Rules for Living

by Sam Holcroft
Directed by Viv McQuillan

7th to 14th December 2019

Listen to the Director
Auditions:  Sunday 14th July at 1 pm

Director:  Viv McQuillan.  Mobile: 07946 759771.  vivien.cleary@tiscali.co.uk

Rules for Living by Sam Holcroft is a dark comedy which premiered at The National Theatre in 2015. Described as Ayckbourn-esque with cognitive behaviour therapy, the play explores the family dynamics at Christmas and the social norms that limit our behaviours and true feelings. 
 
Synopsis
 
The family are gathering together for the traditional Christmas lunch.   Edith, the mother, has everything planned with military precision.   Her two sons, Matthew and Adam are always in competition with each other.   Matthew, arrives with Carrie, his girlfriend, a larger than life actress but he is secretly in love with his sister in law Sheena.  Adam and Sheena have a troubled marriage.  She drinks a lot, he is angry and cynical with life.   Their daughter, Emma suffers from severe anxiety.  Edith has neglected to tell the family that their father, Francis is in a wheelchair, having suffered a stroke and cannot communicate.
 
Everyone creates their own coping strategies or rules for living.  But what happens when an extended family gather for the traditional Christmas dinner and follow the rules rigidly?   These “rules” are displayed to the audience throughout the play, until all the characters rules are unveiled. 
 
“Matthew must sit to tell a lie”, “Carrie must stand to tell a joke”, Edith must clean to keep calm”.   
 
Time – the present           England                 Characters 3 Men, 4 Women
 
Characters  (all must have comic timing)

Edith – 60’s/70’s (playing age) – married to Francis and mother to Adam and Matthew. She plans everything for the perfect Christmas day (since January ð).  A perfectionist (medium to large role).
 
Matthew – 30’s  (playing age)– son of Edith and Francis, boyfriend of Carrie. A successful lawyer who is in love with his sister-in-law Sheena.  Must be able to hold a tune (large role).
 
Adam – 40’s (playing age)– son of Edith and Francis, married to Sheena.  A lawyer (not as successful as his brother Matthew); failed cricket star.   Required to speak with lots of different accents (actor can pick which accents to audition with) (large role).
 
Carrie – 30’s (playing age)– girlfriend of Matthew.  Needy; larger than life; comic personality; actress  (needs to keep it real though, as it could be easy to go over the top and not believable) (large role)
 
Sheena – 40’s  (playing age) – married to Adam.   Drinks, neurotic and wants to go to couples therapy (large role).
 
Francis – 70’s (playing age) – married to Edith and father to Adam and Matthew.  Has suffered from a stroke and has right-sided partial paralysis.   He can only say simple words, does not complete sentences; struggles to be understood and gets frustrated.   Some very funny moments every time he is on stage (smaller role)!!
 
Emma – 14 (playing age)– daughter of Adam and Sheena.   Spends most of the play in bed due to anxiety and fatigue.  Has a very good speech towards the climax of the play (small role)
 
Rehearsal Commitment:  Starts 28th October  and I will have three Sunday runs (17th, November, 24th November and double run 1st December).
 
Audition pieces
 
Matthew, Carrie and Sheena :  from page 13 Carrie “What about your mum, what does she say about me?” to page 15 Matthew “Lock down the building   Evacuate all non essential personnel”
 
Edith, Adam, Carrie, Matthew:  from page 27 Edith “Right, where’s my list …..” to page 28 Carrie “ …………..it’s awful isn’t it”.
 
Adam and Sheena:  from page 55   Adam “Look ….. I know you so badly ……”
 
To page 56 Sheena “ ……………..one bloody glass of wine”
 
Francis, Edith, Matthew, Adam  from page 67 Edith Adam, your father doesn’t want questions ………………”page 69 Edith “It’s alright darling, I know its confusing”.
 
Emma page 118 “I, I wanted to come down and ………………..end of speech on page 119.
 
Technical Fun:

The set :   Kitchen / Diner set with stairs going up to the bedrooms.
 
Costumes:  Modern day costumes that you would wear to a family Christmas dinner.  Men could be smart and one could wear a Christmas jumper.  Ladies in party dresses.  Mum and Dad very smart.
 
Technical demands:   Complicated projection is needed.   The rest of the lighting and sound is not overly complicated.
 
Backstage:  Stage Manager and ASM (rehearsal).   Two people needed on props.   Lots of food and props needed. 
 
There would be opportunities to shadow, particularly on props as there will be lots of food to prepare, together with setting up the show and re-setting.
 
Fight Choreographer:  One person needed to help choreograph a slick, well timed, fight scene involving most of the characters and the Christmas dinner.
Cast 
 
Crew 
 
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