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Cast 9 women
Chris – 50s
You want Chris at you party. She will talk to people she doesn’t know and say things in all the silences and generate laughter. Part of this is because Christ is at home in crowds, holding court, being the center of attention. She’s a true extrovert who recharges her batteries in crowds. Without Chris in her life, Annie would be better behaved and her life less fun. The two of them are like naughty school girls.
Annie – 50s
Annie will join in mischief but is, at heart, more conformist and less confrontational than Chris. Annie calms the waters after Chris has made someone mad. The mischievousness Chris elicits saves Annie from being a saint. She has enough edge to be interesting and enough salt not to be too sweet.
Cora – around 40
Cora’s past is the most eclectic, her horizons broadened by having gone to college. This caused a tectonic shift with her more parochial parents. She came back to them pregnant, tail between her legs. But Cora has too much native resilience to be downtrodden. She is the joker in the pack, but never plays the fool. Her wit is deadpan. It raises laughter in others but rarely in herself. Her relationship with her daughter is more akin to that between Chris and Annie. Cora doesn’t need to sing like a diva, but she does need to sing well enough to start the show with Jerusalem and sing snatches of other songs required. The piano keyboard can be marked up to enable her to play basic chords should she not be a player.
Jessie – late 60s/70s
Get on the right side of Jessie as a teacher and she’ll be the teacher you remember for life. Get on the wrong side and you’ll regret every waking hour. A lover of life, Jessie doesn’t bother with cosmetics—her elixir of life is bravery. Jessie goes on rollercoasters. Her husband has been with her a long time and is rarely surprised by her actions. Jessie bothers about grammar and will correct stallholders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe “s.”
Celia – age anything 35-50
The fact that Celia is in the WI is the greatest justification of its existence. A woman more at home in a department store than a church hall, she may be slightly younger than Chris or the same age, but she always feels like she’s drifted in from another world. Which she has. She is particularly enamored of Jessie, and despite the fact Jessie has little time for most Celias of this world, there is a rebelliousness in Celia to which Jessie responds. It’s what Celia sets apart from the vapid materialism of her peer group and made her defect.
Ruth – 40s
Ruth’s journey is from the false self-confidence of the emotionally abused to the genuine self-confidence of the modern woman happy in her own skin. Ruth is eager to please but not a rag doll, and despite being Marie’s right-hand woman, she is desperate to be the cartilage in the spine of the WI and keep everyone happy. She has spine herself – if she was too wet, no one would want her around. But they do, and feel protective of her because they sense there is something better in Ruth than her life is letting out. They are proved right.
Marie – 50s
Marie has gradually built the current ‘Marie’ around herself over the years as a defense mechanism. She went to her Oz, Cheshire, and found Oz didn’t want her. She came bac scorched. The WI is a trophy to her, which justifies her entire existence. There is a lingering part of Marie that would love to be on that calendar.
Brenda Hulse - 50s
Brenda is a dull speaker who is only seen in the first scene.
John – 50s
John is a human sunflower. Not a saint. Not a hero. Just the kind of man you’d want in your car when crossing America. When he dies, it feels like someone somewhere turn a light off.
Rod – 50s (Chris’s husband)
You have to be a certain kind of guy to stick with Chris and Rod loves it. He can give back what he gets, and has a deadpan humor which is always made Chris laugh. He drinks a lot but never so much as to have a problem. He would work every hour to make his shop a success. And John has his mate, eve though the relationship was originally channeled through their wives.
Lawrence – late 20s
Hesitant without being nerdy, Lawrence is a shy young man with enough wit to make a joke and enough spirit to turn up at the WI hall in the first place. When he arranges the shots, he is close to female nudity but sees only the photo.
Lady Cravenshire – 60s
Lady Cravenshire really doesn’t mean to be so patronizing. But the WI girls seem from another world. The world of her estate workers. Dress: when she makes an entrance, she must make an entrance. Largely white or cream to outplay the others, with a bigger hat than Marie. She is not a tweed-wearer. She must glide like a galleon.
Elaine – 20s
Elaine doesn’t mean to be so patronizing but Jessie seems to be from another world. The world of her gran. Dress: her clinical whites are so starched, you feel as though they might cut you.
Liam – late 20s
Liam would like to be directing other things than a photoshoot for washing powders. He’s not so unsophisticated as to let it show, but we can sense a slight weariness at having to deal with these women. There’s a resigned patience to his actions and each smile he makes we feel is professional. For Liam. This photoshoot is a job. And not the job he wanted.
To receive copies of script sections for auditions, contact
Ane Mulligan at firstname.lastname@example.org