Just what the World Needs
By Tony Moore
Cast: 2m 2f plus 9 cameo roles 3m 5f and one unspecified
Settings: Single set
Running Time: 40 mins
Synopsis: It is audition time again for the local theatre company who are risking a new play and a Director with very advanced ideas. Who will she cast out of the motley crew come to try out? Will the company Chairman finally throttle her? Will the local alcoholic actually audition for something?
Several of the cameo roles could be doubled using wigs and costume changes.
History: At the time of writing the play is booked to be performed by Opus Theatre Co in April 2011 at the Fleurieu One Act Play Festival.
Performance rights and scripts for this play can be obtained from this website.
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AUDITION PEACE EXCERPT
The room is being prepared for auditions. Sally, the company’s secretary is preparing things. Being something of an obsessive she has set the four places at the table each with a glass of water, a note pad and two brand new sharpened pencils. There is a jug of water also on the table. Everything is laid out evenly and geometrically. Sally is a deeply frustrated actress, completely unable to act. She is therefore determined to be involved in every single phase of every new production. She is brisk and business like and never ever contradicts Jack.
She is humming under her breath and flicking through the lists and so on that she carries in her voluminous brief case.
The door opens and Jack comes in. He is a man in his fifties. He is a local business man who has been chairman of the company for fifteen years. Nobody is prepared to stand against him because he has a lot of money and always sponsors the “big one” which he also directs and they are afraid he won’t put the money in if he isn’t chairman.
JACK: Hello Sally. Is everything organised? I’ve brought some biscuits to have with coffee when we break.
Sally who has just got a packet of biscuits out of her bag immediately stuffs them back into it.
SALLY: Thank you Jack, I forgot biscuits. Sit down, that’s your spot there.
JACK: Is everybody else coming, what time were we supposed to be here?
SALLY: (Still pottering) Meeting at seven, first audition at half past.
JACK: Look, it’s nearly quarter past already. Why is everybody late except me, if I ran my company this way we’d soon go broke and then what would happen?
SALLY: (Deliberately not pointing out he is late.) Sorry Jack would you like me to ring them.
JACK: No don’t bother; I’m sure they’ll be here soon. (He picks up the papers without sitting down and leafs through them) What is this pile of rubbish that we are going to lose money on this year?
SALLY: It’s a new play about the powerlessness of the urbanised working class in the modern world, it hasn’t been published yet but the playwright is a member of some artists co-operative that Jeannie is connected with and it will be published by the cooperative after it’s been produced.
JACK: Why are we doing this crap?
SALLY: Because the younger members all threatened to leave unless we did at least one play a year with modern significance.
JACK: We should never have let that damn woman do that directing course in Melbourne, ever since then she’s been totally unbearable, and I never know what she’s talking about either.
The door opens and the third member of the panel enters, he is an older man of about seventy who joined the company about two or three years ago, he claims to be a retired professional but no-one has ever heard of him or any of the plays and films he claims to have been in. He hasn’t auditioned for any show since joining saying he’s waiting for “the right part”. He is always slightly drunk.
PHIL: Sorry I’m late; something came up at the last minute. Well, I’ve read this thing; it should be quite interesting to do.
JACK: What was it that came up, something liquid no doubt? Don’t worry about whether or not you’ve read the play, Jeannie’s not here yet.
PHIL: Thank God. Listen have you read it? I got about five pages in and fell asleep. I’ve never read anything so boring.
JACK: Sally’s done a synopsis, I’m reading it now.
PHIL: Thank God for Sally.
JACK: Amen to that.
For a short while there is silence while Jack and Phil read the synopsis and try to make sense of it.
PHIL: Look I’m not clear here. Are we auditioning six people to play two parts or two people to play six parts?
SALLY: Its six people to play two parts. The play follows the couple over fifty years at three different stages in their lives.
JACK: But they’re all on stage the whole time.
JACK: All six of them?
SALLY: I’m not sure, ask Jeannie.
There is a confused noise outside and the door opens to admit Jeannie. She is a woman in her thirties or forties and she is wearing clothes and ornaments that indicate a certain fixation with new age ideals.