APRIL 2018 PRODUCTION - Audition Notice
'PRIVATE LIVES - an intimate comedy'
Written by Noël Coward
Directed by Sarah Lovesy
READING: 1st November 2017 @ 7.30pm
AUDITION: 8th November 2017 @ 7.30pm
VENUE:Elanora Community Centre, 49A Kalang Road, Elanora Heights
CONTACT: Sarah Lovesy
Private Lives is a comedy about something profound - it is about LOVE, about being alive, about trying to be happy and how hard that is as being in love can make you bonkers!! Crazy love is therefore the undeniably scrumptious theme of the play. This theme interrogates the idea that “do you opt for love that is safe and comfortable or do you opt for something that is incredibly destructive but burns fiercely and brightly?” This is a very contemporary question.
The plot outline is intimate, funny, sensuous and full of coincidences. Elyot and Sibyl are newlyweds and are on their honeymoon. Coincidently, Amanda and Victor are honeymooning right next door to their suite with an adjoining patio. Nothing too strange about this except that Amanda and Elyot used to be married to each other a few years back. Now they find the moonlight and their nearness irresistible and all their romantic feelings for each other coming flooding back, causing them to abandon their new spouses. The poor, bereft and much saner spouses, Sibyl and Victor, are left to ponder how it all could have gone so terribly wrong so horribly fast. Into this mix comes Louise, the French Maid, whose inability to speak English and her incomprehension of the bizarre occurrences in the Paris apartment provide great comedy.
My interpretation of Private Lives will be to set it in France in 2018 and for it to be free of Coward camp and plummy accents. There will be no cigarettes instead chocolates; no telephone instead smartphone; no grand piano instead Ipod; no gramophone instead record player.
If you would like to be considered for a part but are unable to attend the reading and/or audition please contact me and alternative arrangements can be made.
CHARACTERS (in order of appearance):
Sibyl Chaseis Elyot’s second wife. She is ten to fifteen years younger than her husband. She is as much in love with the idea of being a bride as she is with her husband. Although she is the newly wed Mrs. Chase she is quickly thrown together with Victor Prynne by their shared fate. From the end of the first Act, she and Victor become a kind of “couple”, traveling together as they seek justice from their wandering spouses. Sibyl is inexperienced and unreflective, dutifully acting out her perceived social roles with a false, exaggerated femininity; she needs to be taken care of by her man! She is innocent, insufferable, hysterical, conventional, a cry-baby, easily outraged, wide eyed and tries to be a sweetie like sex kitten. Sibyl is between 23 and 33 years old.
Elyot Chase is witty and cynical whose love/hate relationship with Amanda forms the centrepiece of Private Lives. He is fashionable, accustomed to luxury, and self- indulgent. In conversation, his habit is to be flippant and mock conservative social conventions; if he has a philosophy it lies in his refusal to ever be serious. For all his eloquent rebellion, however, Elyot has hidden insecurities, and is not unaffected by social expectations. He is ironic, cosmopolitan, sauvé, moneyed, irreverent and loves to manipulate words. While on the surface he and Amanda claim to be mismatched, they are in fact kindred spirits; feisty, brutal and cunning creatures who relish in a verbal stoush and an all-out row even more. His relationship with Amanda must sizzle with sensuality! The actor must be prepared to learn to ballroom dance and experiment with how to play an air guitar and drums. Elyot is between 33 and 45 years old.
Victor Prynne is steadfastly conventional and self-consciously masculine. Victor is the conservative counterpart to Elyot’s rebellious flippancy. He is habitually serious, proper and moderate in all things; he is paternally protective of Amanda. Like Sibyl, Victor is shocked by the elopement of Elyot and Amanda; when he and Sibyl catch up with the other couple he chivalrously offers to divorce Amanda even though he deeply loves her. In defence of Amanda’s honour Victor presents a caricature of manly chivalry, which evaporates completely when he is confronted and questioned by Elyot. Sibyl is his true soul mate and their sparring at the close of the play reflects this fact. Victor is like a spaniel, he is dependable, dowdy, overly sincere, stodgy and just a little bit loveable. He is a decent chap that a cad needs in order to function! Victor is between 35 and 50 years old.
Amanda Prynne is Elyot’s first wife and is newly married to Victor Prynne. She is the most vivacious character. She is relatively young, moneyed and carefree. She lives in a wealthy liberated world. Her life is one of indulgence, fantasy and decadence. Her relationships are modern and psychosocially sleek. Amanda takes great pleasure in having a skewed perception of morals but she also understands when to behave exquisitely. While on the surface she and Elyot claim to be mismatched, they are in fact kindred spirits; feisty, brutal and cunning creatures who relish in a verbal stoush and an all-out row even more. Her relationship with Elyot must sizzle with sensuality! Amanda is articulate, bolshie, charming, egotistical, glamorous and headstrong and oozes new world sass; her eyes flash with desire and laughter. The actor must be prepared to learn to ballroom dance and experiment with air singing and dancing. Amanda is between 30 and 40 years old.
Louise the French Maid is a walking contradiction; she has the characteristics of a French bulldog whilst trying to be a floating dove. She is low status but thinks she is high status. She makes an appearance between Act 1 and Act 11 acting and reacting to her love of jazzy French Café music and in Act 111 she pops up randomly like a bit of performance art! Her inability to speak English and her incomprehension of the bizarre occurrence in the Paris apartment provide great comedy. She is cantankerous, cheeky, grumpy, overly expressive, phlegmatic, prickly and intolerant of the English. Louise’s age is anywhere between 20 and 80 years.
Please note that Louise can be a discreet cameo role or someone may like to take it on whilst Stage Managing. I have had Louise’s dialogue translated so the actor can understand intent but they will speak French in performance. A French audio recording will also be available.