By Jane Austen
Adapted by the
Directed by Syd Mannion
Sunday 27th August 2017
12 Spring Street
1:30pm - 4:30pm
Lady Susan is Jane Austen’s most salacious and provocative heroine ever. In the 18th Century it was illegal for women to own property and nor could they inherit wealth except under rare circumstances. So when Lady Susan’s extremely wealthy husband, Frederick Vernon dies, her inheritance goes to his nearest living male relative; his younger brother Charles Vernon.
Thus, Lady Susan finds herself without money, without a home and dependant on the generosity of friends and family. Fortunately, however, our titular heroine is extremely persuasive; she also possesses remarkable beauty and men are unable to resist her.
Jane Austen’s satire on this inequitable situation is one of her earliest novels where the heroine is both victim and predator.
Lady Susan Vernon
Described as “the most accomplished coquette in all England” Lady Susan is Austen’s most salacious heroine. Suddenly finding herself impoverished Lady Susan must rely on her wits, beauty and cunning to manipulate others – particularly, but not exclusively, men – out of pleasure and pure necessity. Her age is mid thirties, but is said to look younger. Lady Susan is callous, cruel, selfish, hedonistic and thoroughly plausible, not to mention likeable. Major role that requires an experienced actress.
Lady Susan’s 16 year old daughter, Frederica is a typical sullen, ungrateful and rebellious teenager who does not understand the ways of the world. Nor does she understand the machinations (both commendable and deplorable) of her mother. A major role requiring a wide expressive range.
Handsome, distinguished, and wealthy Manwaring is one of Lady Susan’s sexual conquests. He is married, has a large estate and is frustrated and distressed that his wife is reciprocally distressed about his affair with our heroine. He is genuinely infatuated with Lady Susan and believes they have a future together. Age is 35 plus to mid 40’s Large role.
Maria is Manwaring’s sister who very much resents the destruction of her family life in the wake of a visit by Lady Susan. While Mrs Manwaring refuses to even talk to Lady Susan, Maria cannot wait to speak her mind. Her age is open but likely to be in her 20’s. She is very protective of her mother. A small role but can double up with the character of Eliza – see later.
Charles is Lady Susan’s brother-in-law and the recipient of her inheritance when his brother, (her husband), dies. His is amiable, affable and will do anything for an easy life. He feels a small amount of guilt regarding his inheritance, but it is the law and de rigour in 18th century society. Charles and his wife, Catherine, were early prototypes for Mr and Mrs Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. His age is between 40’s – 60. Large role.
Catherine is the wife of Charles Vernon, and therefore one of the beneficiaries of Lady Susan’s lost inheritance. She is a very strong minded and caring person who tries to see the best in everyone, although she struggles to do so with Lady Susan. She sees through Lady Susan’s deceptions but is equally confused by her charm and verbal skills. Age is unspecified, but she has young children so is of child bearing age, but at least 30. Large role.
Reginald de Courcy
Catherine’s brother. Reginald is handsome, young and naive. Believing himself to be a ‘man of the world’ he is easily seduced by Lady Susan. He is very opinionated – his opinions tend to be the last thing Lady Susan has said to him. In his 20’s. Large role.
Sir James Martin
Sir James is a very wealthy man, and therefore a very attractive proposition for a young girl looking for a husband, and indeed, Sir James is actively looking for a wife. However, he is described by Lady Susan a “contemptibly stupid” and is almost a comical character. He is oblivious to the derision he invokes. 20’s – 30s. Medium sized role.
A close friend and confidante of Lady Susan’s, Alicia is very much from the same mould. Conniving and manipulative she uses the charms of her sex to get what she wants and thoroughly approves of Lady Susan’s life choices. She and our heroine can only communicate by writing letters or meeting in secret. Her age is unspecified but the playing age can be anywhere between 30s and 50s. Medium size role.
Wilson, Walters, footman
The houses of Langford, Churchill and Johnson all have butlers and/or senior menservants. These are speaking roles and played by the same actor. Ages 30s – 50s. Small role(s).
Eliza is Alicia Johnson’s maid whom she loans to our titular heroine while she resides, briefly, in London. A well-meaning lower class girl. Small role. Can double up with the character of Maria.
For expressions of interest and audition pieces please fill out the following form below or call.
027 493 1668
Tuesdays & Thursdays 7:30 - 10:00 pm
10th Nov – 2nd Dec 2017
Three week season