A Bunch of Amateurs
A BUNCH OF AMATEURS - Ian HIslop & Nick Newman
Wyllotts Theatre, 11th – 15th June 2019
From Joy Mather - Director
‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ – well, that’s something we all proudly profess to be! And Ian Hislop – with Nick Newman – has written a play that will warm the heart of every amateur actor and will surely result in much laughter from our audiences. The authors note that ‘ A Bunch of Amateurs’ is ‘a love-letter to amateur dramatics’ – a world in which they are both very familiar from school productions to hilarious village hall Victorian melodrama!
The story - a fading Hollywood American actor, Jefferson Steele , who arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find that this is not Shakespeare’s birthplace but a sleepy Suffolk village. No Kenneth Branagh or Judi Dench – just a cast of amateurs trying to save their theatre from developers. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the the enthusiastic am-dram thespians. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself – along with his inner Lear!
The action takes place mainly in the barn which the Stratford Players use for rehearsals and performances of their amateur productions.
‘Deliciously stuffed with Shakespeare – a laugh-a-minute’ **** The Mail on Sunday
‘Terrific comedy packed with killer comic dialogue – plenty of twists and turns’ ***** Whatsonstage
The cast is four women and three men - apart from one teenager, ages can vary from 30s ever upwards!
JEFFERSON STEELE - A fading Hollywood star who is arrogant, insecure, brash, gauche, demanding, vulnerable and ultimately aware of his own absurdity.
DOROTHY NETTLE - Director of the Stratford Players and the moving force behind keeping the theatre alive. Her sweet and accommodating manner conceals her inner steel.
JESSICA STEELE - Jefferson's teenage daughter, who has been neglected by her Hollywood star father and now wants to make him pay for it.
NIGEL DEWBURY - Solicitor and leading light of the Stratford Players. Pompous, stuck-up and self-regarding, he believes he is the star of the show, and should play all the leading roles. He also fancies his romantic chances with Dorothy.
MARY PLUNKETT - Owner of the Rectory bed and breakfast. Jolly, generous and an unashamedly adoring Jefferson Steele fan -- although somewhat confused about which roles he played in his films, and how keen he is on her.
DENIS DOBBINS - Handyman and village Mr. Fixit. Avuncular though slightly dull, Denis is star-struck by Jefferson and fancies heading up his entourage of one.
LAUREN BELL - Thirty-something marketing executive former physiotherapist and the sponsor's wife. Passionate about the arts and smarter than her husband allows her to be, she's treated as a bimbo because of her looks.
JOURNALISTS - We only hear them offstage.
Presentation night – 30th November at which audition pieces will be available – Auditions: 4th December - second auditions 7TH December
These must be signed for and returned before or on 30th November.
AUDITION PIECES FOR ‘A BUNCH OF AMATEURS’ – 4TH DECEMBER 2018
p.21 – from ‘Give me the map there’ to ‘I prefer to start rehearsals …’
pp. – 28/30 – Beginning of Scene 5 to Jefferson’s exit on p. 30
p. 94 – Scene 10 – from beginning to Jefferson/Lear - ‘Cordelia, Cordelia …..’
(Hopefully the piece in Scene 10 can be read with the people auditioning for the other characters – i.e. Dorothy, Denis, Nigel, Jessica, Mary and Lauren so please can everyone look at this as well)
Scene 1 – first speech
Pp 28/30 – Beginning of Scene 5 to Jefferson’s exit
p.14 Scene 4 from beginning of scene to p. 16 ‘Really?’
p. 66 – from ‘I know exactly how they feel’ to ‘ I’m sorry Dorothy ….’
p.39 Scene 6 from the beginning to p.42 ‘Dorothy says I can help backstage’
p.56 Scene 2 from beginning to p.58 ‘So, let’s have your trousers off’
p.34 from ‘Whom I have ever honoured …’ to p.25 ‘I defer to the director’
p. 80 from entrance ‘Fortune good night…’ to p.81 ‘So is that a no then?
Speech on p.90 – Scene 4
Top of p. 45 down to ….’ security cleared’ (Jefferson)
p.77 (bottom of page) ‘No, he didn’t shag me as well’ to p. 78 ..mow you down tabloid scam’
p.94 Scene 10 - ‘It did always seem so to us ….’ to ‘I shall my liege’