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TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR OUR STAGE, SCREEN & MUSIC QUIZ 

Thursday 21st June at 7.00pm in the Village Hall. £10 members, £11 non-members, including a Ploughman’s Supper. Come as a team of 8 or team up on the night! There will be a licensed bar to fuel your thinking.

 

THE ACCRINGTON PALS AUDITIONS

Auditions will be held at the Village Hall, Ewhurst, on Tuesday 5 June 2018 from 7.30pm and Sunday 10 June at 2.30pm for additional auditions and recalls from 3pm.

Auditions are open to all members and non-members and audition pieces will be available from 21st May from Meg Bray at bray.meg@googlemail.com, on 01483 278014 or from Littlefold, The Street, Ewhurst

This will be a big spectacular production with many sound and special effects. The Battle of the Somme is graphically and realistically depicted by the actors with bold and strong acting and a dynamic, dramatic realisation of the battle.  At various points in the play, a screen at the side of the stage will show archive filming linking actual events to the on-stage play.

Production dates 14, 15, 16 and 17 November 2018 at 7.45pm

 

Synopsis

The Accrington Pals was one of the many Pals Brigades formed by Lord Kitchener to encourage recruitment to fight on the Western Front during the First World War. The 700-strong Accrington Battalion marched jauntily off to war in the summer of 1914.

The play spans the period leading up to the Battle of the Somme in July 2016. It centres on the women the men left behind, and their growing sense of solidarity. The one outsider is May, a tough market stall owner who is unable to express her love for her cousin Tom. Tom, together with all his close friends in the Pals, inevitably perishes in the “ big push” in the first few minutes of the Battle of the Somme.

The women, deprived of news, band together to march on the Town Hall only to hear the fateful news that virtually all the Accrington Pals Battalion has been annihilated.

Despite its main theme of war and death, the play has lighter moments of comedy. It will be a fitting theatrical tribute from Ewhurst Players to commemorate those who died during The First World War.

CAST BREAKDOWN.

As this is amateur theatre, it is unreasaonable to expect that we will be able to cast actors who are exactly the right age for every part. Meg is therefore happy to audition anyone who feels they have the confidence to portray a convincing character, bearing in mind the play is set in 1916 and 1918 when people tended to look a lot older.

All the characters, apart from Rivers, have a working class Lancashire accent. Meg has indicated the playing age of each character.

 

MAY. Lead character. A stall holder. Late 20s or older. In fact, she’s a bit of an “old maid.

May is the lynchpin of the whole play. She is a complex character, strong and independent. She struggles to give spoken and physical expression to her love for her cousin Tom for whom there is a strong sexual attachment. She finds a confidante in her friend Eva. The impact of Tom’s death at the Somme reflects May’s character.

This role requires strong emotional characterisation with supreme control throughout.

 

EVA. 20’s. A cotton mill girl. Supporting role, medium size

Eva is naturally self-possessed and has open qualities envied by May. She is in a relationship with Ralph, which she confidently speaks of as being sexual. She can sing and performs at a fund raising concert. Eva can be sensitive and caring and is probably the most affected by Ralph’s death on the first day of the Somme.

Eva has a solo, therefore you will need to able to sing.

She is a warm friendly character and needs to establish a rapport and good acting relationship with the actress playing May.

 

SARAH. 20s/30s/40s  A married millworker. Small supporting role.

We never see Sarah’s husband, but she often refers to him in unflattering terms. She is earthy and vulgar and isn’t afraid to hide her sexuality. Funny, with a natural Northern wit.

This character requires an easy style of acting demonstrating good physical acting and a flexible vocal delivery. Comic timing will be needed to glean the greatest impact.

 

BERTHA.  A young girl in her mid-teens. A mill girl and later a tram conductress. Small supporting role.

Bertha is rather naïve and gullible in an endearing way. Her friendship with the other three girls helps to demonstrate the differences between them.

Her characterisation needs to be natural and believable. Playing this part will be an excellent opportunity for a young performer to gain experience, get to grips with a character and to be part of team.

 

ANNIE. Mature late 40s early 50s. A housewife. Supporting role, medium size.

Annie is married to Arthur but seemingly cares little for him. She has an illegitimate son to whom she is abusive and rather cruel. She is a harridan, but we get glimpses of the warmer character she would like to be. Life has been very hard and unkind to her. The death of Arthur at the Battle of the Somme has a profound and deeply moving effect on her. The scene in which she breaks down mentally is shocking in its impact.

Strong controlled acting with a good stage presence   Flexible vocal technique.

This is a gem of a role for a mature actress.

 

TOM. Early 20s. Apprentice lithographer. Lead role.

A Socialist with progressive views, Tom is impulsive and in some ways immature. Artistic and sensitive, he believes that being in the army will demonstrate his ideals of a “shared society”. In love with May.

A sensitive controlled all-round performance is required. The actor needs to earn the sympathy of the audience if the final scene is to have its fullest impact.

 

RALPH. 20s/30s. A clerk. Supporting role

Laddish, cheeky and outgoing, Ralph is in strong contrast to his friend Tom. Ralph believes joining the Pals will help him escape his drudgery and he meets his death with a desperate fearful courage. In a relationship with Eva.

An easy relaxed style of acting with an appropriate vocal technique.

 

ARTHUR. Married to Annie.  40s to Mature. Small, supporting role.

A religious man and a devout Primitive Methodist. He did his duty by marrying Annie but they are an ill-matched couple. To escape his unhappy marriage, he devotes his time to rearing pigeons. His religious beliefs are his reasons for joining the “Pals” and meets his death as God’s punishment.

A sensitive portrayal combined with a strong vocal technique.

 

COMPANY SERGEANT MAJOR RIVERS. 40s to 70s. Supporting role, not large.

Major Rivers is a rather shadowy character and an outsider from the rest of the characters. He is an experienced professional soldier and his whole life has been devoted to the army and soldiering. He may only be a symbolic character, but he is a crucial character in the play as he describes the fallen as the “Glorious Dead” and thus the futility of war.

Strong presence and vocal technique is called for in playing this character. This is another role that will give a mature actor an opportunity to give a powerful performance.

 

REGGIE. Annie’s illegitimate son. 8 to 14. Small role

Reggie is a quiet sensitive boy who does not deserve to be constantly bullied and chased by Annie.

Ability to extract maximum sympathy from his portrayal by controlled physical acting.

 

NEWSPAPER BOY AND SOLOIST  Any age, unbroken voice boy soprano.

This is a character I have added to the play. It requires the confidence to move about the auditorium amongst the audience delivering a strong vocal technique. A solo is performed on stage after the Battle of the Somme.

A piece of music will be taught at the audition as well as a scripted audition piece.


 

…….DATES FOR YOUR DIARY…….

Stage, Screen & Music Quiz            :     Thursday 21st June 2018

Where Poppies Grow                          :     8th – 9th November 2018

The Accrington Pals                            :     14th – 17th November 2018