Written by John Osborne
Directed by Lesley Reed
It is mid 1950’s Britain. Post WWII, Labour has eventually defeated the Conservatives but this hasn’t produced the hoped-for welfare system that would improve social conditions. Working class people feel they fought a war for nothing, only to still endure a class-conscious society.
Jimmy Porter is working class, intelligent and educated, but under-employed; he manages a simple sweet stall. He is often very charming and amusing but has an incendiary temper and a biting tongue. He has personal issues, including marital and family problems. He resents the social system that he believes denies dignity and opportunity to the working class. He is consumed by frustration, a sense of powerlessness and despair for the future.
Jimmy and his upper-middle class wife Alison, with whom he has a stormy relationship, rent the rundown attic room of a Victorian-era boarding house in the English midlands. Jimmy’s working class Welsh friend and workmate Cliff Lewis has a room across from the Porters, but spends a lot of time with them as peacemaker. Unexpected events and the arrival of Alison’s friend, sophisticated actress Helena Charles, are the explosive catalysts for increasing conflict, impacting everyone’s lives.
The play is based on the playwright’s own life experiences but, while set in the 50s, is also a reflection of the timeless and diverse issues of all societies. This makes Look Back in Anger as relevant today as when first produced in 1956.
Look Back in Anger is also an essay on disenchantment in young adults. The term ‘the angry young man’ is said to have been coined in the 50s in response to this groundbreaking play.
Roles – Skilled, experienced actors are required for this powerful social drama.
Jimmy Porter – Accent, English midlands
Stage age 25-mid 30s. Described in the script as ‘a disconcerting mixture of sincerity and cheerful malice, of tenderness and freebooting cruelty; restless, importunate, full of pride, a combination which alienates the sensitive and insensitive alike’.
Jimmy is the role of a lifetime.
Alison Porter – Accent, upper class English
Jimmy’s wife. Stage age mid 20s. Attractive and upper-middle class. Caught in a trap between her own background and Jimmy’s working class world. Her marriage is passionate but she is exhausted by Jimmy’s frequent rages and conflicted by her parents’ rejection of Jimmy. Does not have Jimmy’s quick way with words to counter his onslaughts, so tends to mostly suffer it, but this apparent passivity may be deceptive.
Cliff Lewis – Accent, Welsh
Jimmy’s friend and workmate. Stage age 25-30s. Slightly scruffy, good-hearted, working class Welshman. Recognises and is wary of Jimmy’s volatility. Peacemaker between Jimmy and Alison. Rather laidback, ‘almost to lethargy’ to begin with, but the arrival of Helena Charles creates new tensions in him, as it does for Jimmy.
Helena Charles – Accent, upper class English
Alison’s friend. Stage age 25-30. Upper-middle class. An actress, who, while working nearby, comes to stay with the Porters. Very sophisticated and emancipated for the times. Makes most men who meet her anxious to please her as she has an aura of ‘matriarchal authority’ while also being desirable. Not tolerant of Jimmy’s behavior, but attracted to him.
Colonel Redfern – Accent, upper class English
Alison’s father. Stage age mid 50s-60s. Former Colonel in British Army in India. Has been brought up not to show emotion- the ‘stiff upper lip’. Has an overbearing wife (Alison’s mother; not seen) who detests Jimmy and his class. The Colonel’s attitude is slightly softer than his wife’s- he is class conscious, but not blindly so. Small, crucial role.
Rehearsals held at the Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street Adelaide
Tuesdays And Thursdays 7pm – 10pm
Sunday afternoons (time to be confirmed)
Starting Sunday 23rd June 2019
Initial script readings at earlier date(s) TBC
Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street Adelaide
Opening night Thursday 29th August, 8pm.
Season August 29th, 30th, 31st, September 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th 2019 at 8pm. 2pm matinee September 7th.
Saturday 17th November 2018, at Arts Theatre, by appointment.
Each auditionee to present dramatic monologue of up to and no longer than 3 minutes duration- not from Look Back in Anger and not Shakespeare.
There will also be audition pages from Look Back in Anger provided at audition. Please arrive 10 minutes prior to the allocated audition time to become reasonably familiar with these script excerpts. You may be asked to vary your interpretation of character during the audition. Please use/attempt the relevant accent.
For more information and to book an audition time
Call Lesley Reed, Director, on 0448 511 145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org