HAY FEVER

Audition for HAY FEVER by Noël Coward

Old Mill Theatre, Mends Street, South Perth.
Directed by Barry Park

Rehearsals: (Tuesday & Thursday evenings & Saturday afternoons) commence on 24th July 2021

Performances: 7.30pm: 24, 25, 29 September, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 October. 2.00pm: 26 September, 3 October.

Auditions by appointment: at The Old Mill Theatre on Saturday 5th & Monday 7th June

This is a non-paid community theatre production.

Sign up here, indicating which role you are interested in, and TAKE CAREFUL NOTE OF THE DATE AND TIME OF YOUR AUDITION:  https://www.slottr.com/sheets/18261532

Queries: Tel: (08) 9367 8719 email: enquiries@oldmilltheatre.com.au

General information:

Misjudged meetings, secret seductions and scandalous revelations all run riot at the most outrageous of all house parties in Coward’s well-loved 1920s comic masterpiece.

A retired actress and her quirky family trap four guests in elaborately woven games in this irresistibly heartless comedy full of secret seductions, misjudged meetings and wicked revelations.

HAY FEVER is a funny and biting exploration of the games people play to avoid confronting the realities of life.

Hoping for a quiet weekend in the country with some guests, David Bliss, a novelist, and his wife, Judith, a retired actress, find quiet is an impossible dream when their high-spirited children, Simon and Sorel, appear with guests of their own. A houseful of drama waits to be ignited as misunderstandings and tempers flare. With Judith’s new flame and David’s newest literary “inspiration” keeping company as the children follow suit, the Bliss family lives up to its name as the “quiet weekend” comes to an exhausting and hilarious finale worthy of Feydeau.

HAY FEVER, one of the best-loved of all Coward’s plays, was reckoned by Tyrone Guthrie to have “as good a chance of immortality as any works of an author now living.” This deliciously dark comedy, first performed in June 1925, has survived the years beyond even Guthrie’s glowing prediction.

“Wonderfully witty and deliciously snarky” – Time Out

“An evening of intoxicating escape” – The New York Times

“Light, luminous, and charming, and hilariously funny” – New York Post

“Excruciatingly funny” – Sunday Telegraph

SYNOPSIS

HAY FEVER tells the story of a busy weekend at a country house, where each member of the Bliss family has invited a guest to stay, without informing anyone else. Judith, a recently retired actress contemplating a swift return to the stage, has invited her young admirer Sandy Tyrell, who believes he is in for a romantic tryst with an unattached beauty. Judith’s husband David is working on the last chapter of his novel The Sinful Woman and has invited the sweet ingénue Jackie Coryton to keep him company, and perhaps provide fertile ground for research. Not to be outdone, brother and sister Simon and Sorel have each invited an older lover, Myra Arundel and Richard Greatham respectively, each one anticipating having the house, and their lover, to themselves.

Instead, all four guests are forced into close quarters with the four members of the host family, each one more eccentric than the last. Parlour games turn to rancour; romantic alliances split and reform with flippant ease, recalling at once the dry wit of Wilde and the carnivalesque atmosphere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As Saturday evening climaxes into a clamour of melodrama, each of the invited guests begin to rue ever accepting an invitation from the inimitable Blisses.

Casting 4 males, 5 females (with some experience)

Please deliver a 2-minute prepared monologue and be prepared to read the lines of your preferred character from a scene of your choice. It’ll be better if you know the lines well.

The script can be read at: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.210077/page/n5/mode/2up

Judith Bliss: Lead, Female, 40-60, South East England

David Bliss’s wife and Sorel and Simon’s mother, Judith Bliss is a recently retired actress, although she still loves to act and keeps insisting that she will return to her craft. She invites Sandy Tyrell as a weekend guest.

David Bliss: Lead, Male, 40-60, South East England

Judith Bliss’s husband and Sorel and Simon’s father, David Bliss is a successful novelist who hides away for long periods of time attempting to write his novel. He invites Jackie Coryton as a weekend guest.

Sorel Bliss: Lead, Female 18-25, South East England

Judith and David’s daughter, Sorel Bliss is nineteen years old and bored with most of life. She is educated in the arts and is fresh, vibrant, intelligent, and full of life. She invites Richard Greatham as a weekend guest.

Simon Bliss: Lead, Male 18-30, South East England

Judith and David’s son, Simon Bliss is an aspiring artist who is in constant competition with Sorel for Judith’s attention. He invites Myra Arundel as a weekend guest.

Myra Arundel: Supporting, Female, 25-45, South East England

Well-dressed, confident, and sophisticated; invited to the Bliss house by her admirer, Simon.

Richard Greatham: Male, Supporting, 30-40, South East England

Sorel’s invited house guest, a proper English diplomat; somewhat stiff, but likeable and intelligent.

Jackie Coryton: Female, Supporting, 20-30, South East England

David’s invited houseguest, “a perfectly sweet flapper.” Very sweet, but not very bright.

Sandy Tyrell: Supporting, Male, 20-30, South East England

Judith’s invited house guest; amateur boxer with a youthful energy and adoring fascination for Judith.

Clara: Supporting, Female, 40-60, South East England

Judith’s former dresser and now her housekeeper; overworked and under-appreciated.

The playwright: Sir Noël Coward was born on December 16, 1899, in Teddingham, Middlesex, and studied intermittently at the Royal Chapel School in London. His first play, Rat Trap, was written in 1917 but not published until 1926. He played the leading role in his next play, The Last Track (1918). His first drama to be noted by the critics was The Vortex (1924). In 1929 he starred in the Broadway production of his Bitter Sweet, a romantic musical. His important plays include Private Lives (1930), Cavalcade (1931), Design for Living (1937), Blithe Spirit (1941) and Present Laughter (1943). During World War II he entertained troops on the major battlefronts. In 1942 he wrote, co-directed with David Lean, and acted in the film In Which We Serve.  He continued his collaboration with Lean on the filming of Blithe Spirit (1945) and on the scenario for Brief Encounter (1946). His dramas of succeeding years include Peace in Our Time (1947), Quadrille (1952), Nude with Violin (1956), and Sail Away (1961). Coward embarked on a career as an entertainer and raconteur and in 1960 he performed in the film, Our Man in Havana. Coward was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1970 and died on March 26, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica.

The director: Barry Park is an experienced actor and director whose productions have achieved considerable success. He is currently directing Arcadia for Harbour Theatre. He recently directed The Boys in the Band (Dolphin and State Theatre Centre of WA.) He won the Finley’s Director Award for his Playlover’s production of August: Osage County, which also won Robert Finley Best Play Award and several others. His production of Present Laughter was also ranked in the Top Ten Plays at the Awards, won the Best Costumes Award and was nominated for several others. The production was awarded the Old Mill Theatre’s Best Production, Best Set and several other awards. Barry’s production of A View from the Bridge for GRADS, also nominated for four Finley Awards, was Runner-up Best Play. His production of Other Desert Cities for Playlovers, nominated for six Finley Awards, won the Technical Achievement Award. His production of Design for Living for The Old Mill Theatre won the Finley Best Set in a Play Award. His GRADS production of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly won the Finley Director Award, Best Play Award and several other awards. His GRADS productions of The Real Thing, Broken Glass and All My Sons were all nominated for several Finley awards and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won several Finley awards. Overseas, his productions of Death of a Salesman, The Golden Masque of Agamemnon and The Life and Death of Almost Everybody won several National Theatre awards. Among other shows Barry has directed are: Agnes of God, Songs from the Shows, Snoopy! The Musical, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds, Blythe Spirit, On Monday Next, The Fantastiks and Lord of the Flies. Barry is also an accomplished actor who recently played Antonio in The Merchant of Venice. His other performances in Perth include: Scrooge in Scrooge, Carpenter in The Habit of Art, Dame Twitchett in Babes in The Wood, Polonius in Hamlet, Sir Nathaniel in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Dame Dyspepsia in Cinderella, Bertie in With Friends Like These, Mr Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer, Gorringe in Black Comedy, Chubokov in The Proposal, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and Dr. Johnson in A Laughing Matter. Barry has acted in many other plays, musicals, films, radio plays and commercials, and in television productions and commercials. He has performed at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Grahamstown Festival, and in London, Cape Town, East London, Salisbury and Bulawayo.