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She Stoops to Conquer
by
Oliver Goldsmith

Summer Tour Production, 14th – 25th July 2015
She Stoops To Conquer has a classic place in the history of theatre; it is one of those plays that inspired a host of imitators – from London Assurance (which we toured a few years ago) right up to To the Manor Born – on the theme of the city slicker being outwitted by the cunning of the countryman. It's a perfect Summer Tour play - almost all of the action takes place in one room, there’s a core cast of eight with four or five decent cameo roles as well and it’s an 18th century piece so the costumes are great – and it’s genuinely funny.
To give you a flavour, here's a brief synopsis: Irascible old Squire Hardcastle and his wife live in a rather dilapidated country house with her son, Tony Lumpkin and their daughter Kate. He and his old friend Charles Marlow feel it would be good if Kate and young Marlow get married. A problem arises - or rather doesn't - as young Marlow, whilst a bit of a rake around the serving wenches and scullery maids, is overcome with shyness when talking to a girl of his own class. Kate, being a strong minded young lady, is determined to get her man, and takes on the role of a barmaid to win through. And in case that doesn't make sense, we should mention that Tony Lumpkin has conned Young Marlow and his friend Hastings into believing that the Hardcastle home is a run down country pub, and the Squire a rather daft landlord.

Auditions will be on the 30th of March, 2nd of April and the 6th of April at The Place, Wilfred Road, Taunton TA1 1TB. A full copy of the script is here, and a folder of audition pieces is here

Here’s a brief introduction to the characters, with playing age guidelines – you don’t have to be that age, just able to appear to be it on stage…

Mr Hardcastle – a level-headed countryman who loves "everything old" and hates the town and the "follies" that come with it. He is very much occupied with the 'old times' and likes nothing better than to tell his war stories and to drop names, such as the Duke of Marlborough, into conversations. Male, 50-65
Mrs Hardcastle – Wife to Mr Hardcastle and mother to Tony, Mrs Hardcastle is a corrupt and eccentric character. She is an over-protective mother to Tony, whom she loves, but fails to tell him he's of age so that he is eligible to receive £1,500 a year. Her behaviour is either over-the-top or far-fetched, providing some of the play's comedy. Female 50-65
Tony Lumpkin – Son of Mrs Hardcastle and stepson to Mr Hardcastle, he’s a mischievous, uneducated playboy. Tony takes an interest in horses, Bet Bouncer (a local lass who’s somewhat free with her affections) and the pub. Male 20-25
Miss Kate Hardcastle – Daughter to Mr & Mrs Hardcastle, and the play's stooping-to-conquer heroine. Kate respects her father, dressing plainly in his presence to please him. However, she enjoys "French frippery" and the attributes of the town, much as her mother does. Female 18-22
Miss Constance Neville – Niece of Mrs Hardcastle, she is the woman whom Hastings intends to court. Constance despises her cousin Tony, she is heir to a large fortune of jewels, so her aunt wants her to remain in the family and marry Tony. Female 18-22
Charles Marlow – The central male character, who has set out to court the young attractive Kate Hardcastle. Around working-class women Marlow is a lecherous rogue, but around those of an upper-class card he is a nervous, bumbling fool. Male 20-25
George Hastings – Friend of Charles Marlow and the admirer of Miss Constance Neville. Hastings is an educated man who cares deeply about Constance, with the intention of fleeing to France with her. Male 20-25
Sir Charles Marlow –Charles Marlow’s father and an old friend of Mr Hardcastle, both of them once having been in the British military, and is quite pleased with the union of his son and his friend's daughter. Male 50-65
Alongside these there are Kate’s Maid, the pub Landlord, Diggory and Jeremy (two servants) and several other servants and people in the pub.

If you prefer to be entertained rather than get involved, do come along with friends, chairs and a picnic - not forgetting a nice bottle of wine - and enjoy the show!