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Auditions for Whose Life is it Anyway?

Auditions for Whose Life is it Anyway? will take place on Tuesday July 3, 2018 at 7.30pm at Lagoa Bombeiros.

There are a number of roles for females and males with a mixture of age ranges.

The auditions will be followed by a read through, for the cast, on Thursday July 5, 2018. Chris Winstanley is the director.

We hope you will come along to the audition whether it’s to read for a part or if you would like to be involved with the play in an offstage role.

Further information you may find helpful for the auditions
Chris will welcome everyone and introduce the evening and take any questions you may have prior to the audition taking place.

As part of this briefing pack you will find a list of the characters and a small overview of what we will be looking for in their portrayal.

On arrival, each person who is auditioning will be asked to complete a simple form to indicate the parts they would like to audition for and confirm their contact phone number and email address. Chris may ask you to read other parts, above and beyond those you have indicated, to get a feel for how the cast may fit together

The audition will be very informal and everybody who wishes to audition will sit in a circle and Chris will ask people to stand up and read a short pre-selected part of the play with other auditionees. The audition pieces will not be circulated in advance however, if people want to read the play to familiarise themselves, Chris will have copies of the script with him at rehearsals for Vicar of Dibley so please feel free to ask him for a copy. These must be returned to him prior to or at the audition.

If Chris does not ask you to read for a part that you would like to read for don’t worry. He will ask who has not read for the parts they would like to so please raise your hand. Equally, if after you have read for a part and would like to read again please let Chris know and he will do all he can to enable you read again on the night.

If you cannot make the audition date this does not mean you cannot audition. Simply contact Chris (Tel: 919 198 840 or email in advance and he will arrange to meet you prior to the auditions and hear you read for a part. 

Chris will contact, by phone, people cast either straight after the audition or the following day offering them a part and confirming their attendance at the initial read through.

People who we cannot offer a part for this production will be contacted by phone or via email by the end of July 4, 2018. We hope that people who are not cast will be able to support the production in another role.

The first read through, with the cast, will take place on Thursday July 5, 2018 starting at 7.30pm, at Lagoa Bombeiros. Scripts will be distributed and rehearsal dates and times will be discussed, together with key dates for the production. If you have been cast but cannot make the read through please do not worry, we will find an opportunity to pass a script to you.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? is a play by Brian Clark adapted from his 1972 television play of the same title in which Ian Mcshane starred. The stage version premiered in 1978 at the Mermaid Theatre in London and subsequently opened on Broadway suring 1979.  Originally written for a male lead, in 2005 Brian Clark updated and improved the play switching the lead role to a woman; Ken Harrison became Claire Harrison with Kim Cattrall playing the lead in a production directed by Peter Hall at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End.

The play won the Olivier Award for best new play in 1978 and The Tony Award on Broadway the following year.

Set in a hospital room the action revolves around Claire Harrison, a sculptor by profession, who was paralysed from the neck down in a car accident and who is determined to be allowed to die. Clark presents arguments both in favour of and opposing euthanasia and to what extent government should be allowed to interfere in the life of a private citizen. In portraying Claire as an intelligent woman with a useless body, she leaves the audience with conflicting feelings about her desire to end her life. 

The play is set in a number of locations within a hospital and is centred on Claire’s room. It moves between the locations at speed and Chris’ intention is to have the locations all represented on stage allowing the characters to walk between them. He also wants to have the representation of a corridor running at the back of the stage with characters and “extras” walking along as the action takes place thus representing the hustle and bustle of a hospital.

Chris is also planning to have Claire on stage in bed before the show starts together with other actors and extras

Claire Harrison aged 35+: the patient, a sculptor
Claire is the tragic heroine of the play. A real tour-de-force role for the actress. She can be any age from 30 to 60. She has a caustic sarcasm which she uses to cover for her vulnerability. Strong willed and accepting of her situation. No make-up!

Sister Anderson 30 to 60: a ward sister
A career nurse who has dedicated her life to patient care. She is very professional and sees both sides of the argument, which is the core of the play, and wants the best for Claire. She runs her acute-care ward with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss.

Nurse Kay Sadler 20 to 30: a student / junior staff nurse
Kay is new to this world and has been training as a nurse for a relatively short period of time. A bubbly personality who feels a real pull to caring for Claire. She can be aged anything from 18 to 30ish. Her life and relationship with John is the life that Claire would like to go back to.

John 20 to 30: a ward orderly
Although referenced as West Indian in the script, we will adjust the script to reflect the ethnicity of the person cast. Confident in his own skin, does not see being a hospital porter as how he will earn his living forever. Claire again is engaged with his free spirit.

Dr David Scott 30 to 50: a registrar
David Scott is a hard-working doctor who is really conflicted by Claire’s situation and can see both sides of the argument but as a doctor he really does have to come down on one side. He is serious and earnest, a serious soul to complement the larger-than-life character of Dr Emerson.

Dr Michael Emerson 40 to 60: a consultant physician
A flamboyant individual who is used to getting his own way and believes his way is best. Not used to people sparring with him he struggles to understand Claire’s mindset. Deep down he has a caring nature and wants the best for the patient.

Miss Helen Hill 30 to 50: a solicitor
This character is Claire’s solicitor. Business like in appearance and wants to do the right thing for her client. We see her both at work and play. Her professional and personal conflicting feelings about Claire’s case are seen in her dealings with third parties, apart from Claire. We see the start of a relationship with David Scott.

Mrs Margaret Boyle, ageless: a social worker
A “nice” lady who has been a social worker for quite some time. In her efforts to be supportive and helpful she misreads Claire and ends up antagonising her to the point of breathlessness. Dressed in bright colours and is somewhat “hippychic” in her appearance

Mrs / Mr Justice Millhouse 40 to 70: a judge
This part can be played by a male or female, Chris has no preference. Needs to be played straight as his / her role is the point of law. Has some wonderful questions to ask and a beautiful speech in the judgement and summing up of the case.

A Judge’s Clerk (non-speaking role)

Various non-speaking hospital staff (can be backstage crew)

Key dates for the show:

  • Backstage crew appointed over the summer (looking for an Assistant Director)
  • First rehearsal September 6, 2018.
  • Books down October 11, 2018.
  • In theatre November 19, 2018.
  • Performances November 22 to 24, 2018