—adapted by Matthew Barber from the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. Directed by Jason Moffatt.
Cnr Arthur St & Main Highway
(Rainy) London 1922 - “To those who appreciate Wisteria and sunshine…” So begins the holiday let advertisement for an Italian castle that sets two unhappy housewives, Lotty Wilton and Rose Arnott, dreaming. Lotty becomes irrationally determined that together they should rent the castle as an escape from the drudgery of their regimented daily lives - and their husbands. Rose finds herself swept along, unwillingly, by the irrepressible Lotty and soon they are interviewing prospective companions with whom to share their holiday, and the cost of renting the castle.
The first of these is Lady Caroline Bramble, a beautiful, but somewhat frosty, young socialite. Lady Caroline, weary of the whirlwind of social engagements and romantic entanglements that make up her life, wants an escape of her own.
The second is Mrs Graves, a well… grave lady of advanced years who finds the mores and manners of modern life reprehensible and wants only somewhere “to sit quietly and remember”.
With their fellow escapees settled upon, Rose and Lotty meet with the owner of the castle, Anthony Wilding, a charming young artist, and a bachelor. The castle of San Salvatore is his inheritance, a much-loved family home, and he graciously lets it to the ladies.
The final hurdle for Lotty and Rose, comes when they must tell their husbands of their intention. Mellersh Wilton, a cheerfully controlling husband to Lotty, is completely flummoxed by her sudden and unexpected break for freedom. Rose’s husband Frederick Arnott, guilty of neglecting his wife in favour of his celebrity as a writer of scandalous biographies, is equally as astonished by his wife’s precipitant announcement that she will be taking a holiday in Italy - without him.
So the two ladies set off on a train journey into the unknown, wracked by doubts and misgivings about their actions. These are soon allayed when they arrive at the enchantingly beautiful San Salvatore. They find the castle already in the possession of Mrs. Graves, who is lording it over the exasperated Italian housekeeper, Costanza, and Lady Caroline who is doing her best to play the role of translator, and peacekeeper, while maintaining her customary aloofness.
Over the coming days the beauty of their surroundings works a subtle enchantment upon each of the ladies, and gradually they begin to open up to one another, and share their surprising, innermost secrets.
Acting with the same irrational determination that drove her away from him, Lotty is suddenly inspired to invite her husband to join them, and irrepressible as ever, she persuades Rose to do the same.
The arrival of Mr. Arnott and Mr. Wilton, preceded by the welcome arrival of the charming Mr. Wilding, throws a delightful spanner in the ladies’ idyllic getaway. But the undeniable enchantment of San Salvatore soon works it magic on the new arrivals. Lovers are reunited and found, understandings are reached, and new friendships are formed under the warm sun, and silvery moon of the Mediterranean as all of the guests experience the Enchanted April.
Contact Jason Moffatt to get an e-copy of the play.
Commence Tuesday 3 September for a read-thru, then Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 7.30pm, Sundays from 12.30pm
Thursday 7 to Saturday 16 November 2019 - 10 performances including 2 matinees.
About the director
This is Jason’s third play as director, and his first for Ellerslie Theatrical Society. Jason has quite a bit of experience as an actor and so may be considered 'An Actors’ Director' - whatever that means! He claims to see a play in his head and will communicate that vision to everyone with as much clarity as possible, but he is also collaborative, and open to suggestions from the cast. Enchanted April
is a delightful, insightful and humorous play with some subtle moments and he hopes to bring as many of those moments to the stage as possible - and to have fun in doing so!
Please request and read the script.
Actors will be asked to read scenes from the script with other actors. No preparation is necessary but if you would like to prepare, the following scenes would be useful to look at:
Lotty and Rose: Act 1, sc. 1
Lady Caroline: Act 1, sc. 5
Mrs. Graves: Act 1, sc. 6
Mellersh: Act 1, sc. 2
Frederick: Act 1, sc. 3
Anthony: Act 1, sc. 7
Costanza: Act 2, sc. 1
* The ages are only suggestions and should only be treated as guidelines. If you are outside of this age range but feel you are perfect for the role, please come along to audition.
All of the characters except Costanza are English, so it would be desirable, but not essential, if the actors were capable of some variety of English accent. In Costanza’s case she is, of course, Italian - an actual Italian-speaker would be highly desirable, or an actor who can convincingly play an Italian-speaker.
||an obedient, but unhappy, housewife. Lotty is a repressed visionary, her usually timid behaviour hides a very bright and joyful spirit, irrepressible once unleashed. She is highly perceptive of others’ emotional states.
||30 to 40
||a dutiful, but unhappy, housewife. Rose is a devout Christian who has buried herself in charitable work to compensate for the absenteeism, physically and emotionally, of her husband. She comes across as sensible and stiff but is actually intelligent and sensitive. Rose is lonely.
||30 to 40
||a cheerfully domineering husband. Mellersh is a Family Solicitor, always on the lookout for opportunities of professional advancement. He is very concerned with “keeping up appearances”. Perhaps not the brightest, his hidden talents are artistic and musical. He loves Lotty very much.
||a humorous, but distant, husband. Frederick is a writer, self-deprecatory but talented. He prefers writing poetry but has garnered much success and celebrity writing salacious historical biographies under the nom-de-plume of Florian Ayers. In recent years he has led a double-life, being prized as a bon vivant amongst high society whilst neglecting his wife.
||a very beautiful socialite. Born and raised in high society, Caroline is used to having her way. She can be cool and aloof at will, which makes her somewhat inscrutable. Yet she is intelligent and witty, has known love and loss, and has been embittered by it.
||a London Matron. Mrs. Graves gives the appearance of being very formal, very traditional, very proud and very serious. In fact she is empathetic, fun-loving and wise. She was a loving wife until widowed. Despite her advanced years there may be a touch of the girlish about her.
||a charming bachelor. Anthony is a talented portrait artist. Intelligent and perceptive, like Lotty he is something of a visionary. He is kind, gracious and well-mannered.
||50 to 60
||an Italian Housekeeper. Costanza is warm, kind, and hard-working. The long-time housekeeper at San Salvatore, she loves Anthony like a son. She doesn’t speak any English but her sense of humour transcends the language barrier.