Audition Notice for Taking Steps
By Alan Ayckbourn
Auditions: 11 January 2020 @ 9:00 at the Limelight Theatre
28th May to 6th June
The play is a physical comedy that will require rigourous physical action from experienced actors. Auditions are by appointment. Please prepare a brief amusing monologue in a British access, for no longer than two minutes. Submit a good headshot and a brief acting resume when you arrive at the audtion and fill in an audition application form.
The British comic master Alan Ayckbourn shakes up a delicious cocktail of mismatched lovers, dirty dancing, bad hair and real estate, in this ingenious play, a hilarious farce that entertains on so many levels. Roland, a hard drinking tycoon, is considering buying a dilapidated three storey Victorian house, reputedly a former bordello and said to be haunted by a deceased prostitute. His solicitor, Tristam and the vendor, Leslie, a builder, arrive to complete the deal. Also in the house are Roland’s wife, Elizabeth, a frustrated dancer who is always considering leaving him, her brother Mark, and later, the brother’s reluctant fiancee Kitty, who is uncertain whether or not to run away. In the course of one hectic night and morning, with continual running up and down stairs and in and out of rooms, these characters, each immersed in a personal problem, try to sort themselves out. The first act curtain finds the solicitor in bed with the wife thinking her to be a ghost and the fiancee inadvertently shut in the attic cupboard by the distraught tycoon who has taken refuge in the spare bed. All this takes place in a highly ingenious and original setting in which all the rooms, passages and stairs are on a single level.
About the roles:
Ages are stage ages, so actors could be older or younger.
|Elizabeth||early 30’s||An attractive, very liberated, extremely neurotic woman, an aspiring dancer, whose perception of her own abilities is inflated. Retired as a result of her marriage, she is now in perpetual indecision about whether to leave her husband and her efforts to do so set off much of the action in the play. The actor must physically look like a professional dancer.|
|Mark||mid 30’s||Elizabeth’s brother, who attempts to save his one-sided relationship to Kitty and fulfil his dream of opening a fishing tackle shop.|
|Tristram||25||The central character, Roland’s solicitor, is inarticulate, shy of women and unassertive; over-eager and pleasant; and unwittingly causes absolute havoc. Though intelligent, perhaps he is not in a suitable profession.|
|Roland||40’s||Elizabeth’s unappreciative, hard drinking husband is an arch chauvinist; a wealthy businessman who is a major presence in the bucket industry; in the process of buying the Victorian home that he and Elizabeth currently rent/lease. He is used to getting his own way.|
(he could be older)
|A dodgy developer/builder, on the brink financially, is desperate to sell the house (currently rented) to Roland. Dressed in full motorcycle gear, he is surveying the Victorian home for renovations. He is jovial, gallant and patronising.|
|Kitty||late 20’s||She has been arm twisted into engagement with Mark. Having left him at the altar once, she has been persuaded to come back to him after her arrest for suspected solicitation. Rather cumbersome, she feels trapped into always being part of other people’s dreams (including Mark’s fishing tackle shop). She gets trapped in an attic closet.|
About the Playwright
Alan Ayckbourn has spent his life in theatre, rarely if ever tempted by television or film, which perhaps explains why he continues to be so profilic. To date he has written 77 plays, and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the work, and has won countless awards. Major successes include: Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, Taking Steps, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. The National Theatre recently revived his 1980 play Season’s Greetings to great acclaim and the past year alone has seen West End productions of Absent Friends and A Chorus of Disapproval. In 2009, he retired as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph, where almost all his plays have been and continue to be first staged. Holding the post for 37 years, he still feels that perhaps his greatest achievement was the establishment of this company’s first permanent home when the two auditoria complex fashioned from a former Odeon Cinema opened in 1997. In recent years, he has been inducted in to American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre.
About the Director
Barry’s most recent productions are the highly acclaimed Present Laughter (Old Mill Theatre) and August: Osage County (Playlovers). His production of A View From the Bridge for GRADS, nominated for four Finley Awards, was the runner-up Best Play, and 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 Best Set in a Play Award. His GRADS production of Henry Hwang’s M.Butterfly won the Finley Director Award, Best Play Award and several others. His producitions 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 for GRADS. Overseas, his productions of Death of a Salesman, The Golden Mosque of Agamemnon and The Life and Death of Almost Everybody won several National Theatre awards. Other productions he has directed include: Agnes of God, Songs from the Shows, Snoopy! The Musical, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds, Blithe Spirit, On Monday Next, The Fantastiks and Lord of the Flies.