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The Theatre is currently Closed
The Theatre is currently Closed

18th March until to be advised 2021

 

MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION – by George Bernard Shaw – directed in episodes by Pauline Armour

Pauline writes;

Shaw completed this play in 1894 but because of the subject matter of prostitution it was banned in England and first staged privately in London in 1902, but not publicly performed until 1925 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Birmingham.  Shaw wrote it to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together.

The play is written in four acts and will easily split into four radio play episodes of around 20/25 minutes each. I will time each act and cut the script accordingly ensuring that it continues to make sense.

Characters  (In order of appearance and as decribed by GBS)

All are substantial roles particularly Vivie and Mrs Warren. The ages are simply to give an idea about the maturity level required of voices.

Praed: He is hardly past middle age, with something of the artist about him, unconventionally but carefully dressed, with an eager susceptible face and very amiable and considerate manners.

Vivie Warren: Age 22. She is an attractive specimen of the sensible, able, highly-educated young middle-class Englishwoman. Prompt, strong,  confident, self-possessed.  Plain business-like dress, but not dowdy. She wears a chatelaine at her belt, with a fountain pen and a paper knife among its pendants.

Mrs Kitty Warren: Between 40 and 50, formerly pretty, showily dressed in a brilliant hat and a gay blouse fitting tightly over her bust and flanked by fashionable sleeves. Rather spoilt and domineering, and decidedly vulgar, but, on the whole, a genial and fairly presentable old blackguard of a woman.

(A note on accent: She has learnt to disguise her natural Cockney accent, but when excited or emotional this accent comes through her more neutral one)

Sir George Crofts: About 50. Crofts is a tall, powerfully-built man, fashionably dressed in the style of a young man. Nasal voice, reedier than might be expected from his strong frame. Clean-shaven bulldog jaws, large flat ears, and thick neck: gentlemanly combination of the most brutal types of city man, sporting man, and man about town.

Frank Gardner: Just 20. He is pleasant, pretty, smartly dressed, cleverly good-for-nothing, with a charming voice and agreeably disrespectful manners. He carries a light sporting magazine rifle.

The Rev. Samuel Gardner: Over 50. A beneficed clergyman of the Established Church. Externally he is pretentious, booming, noisy, important. Really he is that obsolescent phenomenon the fool of the family dumped on the Church by his father the patron, clamorously asserting himself as father and clergyman without being able to command respect in either capacity.

 

 

 

The script:

The complete script is available in a free electronic version at the Ganymede Press. I have attached the full uncut version. I shall be adapting it to ensure that it fits the time restraints of our project and will ensure that interested parties are sent the cut version from which we shall be working.

Approach to direction and acting:

Just before the first lockdown I attended the first session of a Stanislavski Course run by Paul Doust who was in our production of ‘Privates on Parade’. Unfortunately the rest of the course was postponed but I have continued to work with Paul over ZOOM and for a couple of months before our most recent ‘lockdown’ on a project to which we applied the Stanislavski approach to some short one act plays. I am keen to use this approach when working on ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’  so it will involve quite a lot of analysis and homework which I think will benefit the motivation behind the text and add differentiation in the tone and emotional quality of voices.

Process and time line:

Please contact me by Monday 7th December to express your interest in being involved with the project, let me know what character/s you are interested in playing, and to let me know what your availability is for ZOOM rehearsals during the rest of December and the first three weeks in January.  Depending on how many people express interest in each character I might ask you to do a voice tape of around a minute from any section of the play so that I can evaluate what voices work well together.

Once cast we will have a ZOOM read through and we will work out a timetable for rehearsals – the play splits up well so not everyone will be needed for every rehearsal.

The aim is to have the recording completed and edited by W/C 25 January.

If guidance allowed us to meet at GWT to record on the stage – socially distanced – that would be ideal but if that is not possible - we will continue, with the help of sound editor James McLeod, to record over ZOOM.

I very much look forward to working on this project with colleagues at GWT.  If you are interested call me for a chat on 07984722308 or email me.

armourgg19@gmail.com

 

MIXED DOUBLES – Three duologues, directed by Mike Higginson.

Mike writes;

I’m directing three duologues from the Mixed Doubles anthology, each of which takes a humorous swipe at the different stages of marriage.

These will be recorded as audio performances.

I’m looking for 3 men and 3 women with respective playing ages of 20-30, 40-50 and 65-75. The plays are:

A Man’s Best Friend, by James Saunders, which finds a newly-wed couple (and a guitar) travelling by train to their honeymoon destination.  We realise quickly that this couple do not know each other very well and, in their relative innocence and inexperience, they are going to become quickly irritated by each other.

Permanence, by Fay Weldon, which features a sophisticated, middle-aged couple on their annual camping holiday, stuck in their tent in the rain. All Peter wants to do is read his book, while Helen wants to talk endlessly about “life”. There is tension in the tent!

Resting Place, by David Campton, where we discover an elderly couple on a bench in a cemetery. It is late afternoon in autumn and they are resting on their way home, whilst reflecting on life and death. For them it is a treat to be able to afford kippers for tea, so when they see expensive flowers on the grave of a recently deceased bookie, the old woman starts to reflect on what it would have been like if her husband had been a millionaire.

These scripts are very well crafted, with no “awkward” lines, and provide an excellent opportunity for each pair of actors to develop their own inner characters and inter-relationship. There is plenty of gentle humour to be extracted which will leave the audiences nodding in recognition.

Each play will run for 15-20 minutes maximum.

Rehearsals will be on Zoom (using a desktop, laptop or tablet) and the commitment will be to no more than 2 one hour (evening) rehearsals per week.

I aim to start in December and have the plays recorded remotely by the end of January so that they can then be edited for “broadcast” at the end of February.

There will be no requirement to learn lines but, because this will be audio only, a lot of effort will need to be put into developing clear definition of character and particularly the tension in each relationship.

If you’re interested in taking part please contact me at mhigginson2015@hotmail.com by Monday 7th December.

Cast 
 
Crew 
 
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