10th to 14th April 2012 (cast required over Easter weekend)
Director: Sarah Heenan
Presented as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project.
By Sarah Heenan, Alan Maddrell and Andy Marchant
It is 1992, The Queen is about to deliver her now infamous Annus Horribilis speech, although it is not mentioned publicly at this point, the Queen must know that in two weeks’ time her Prime Minister, John Major, will announce the separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
This tale of political intrigue, a crisis of succession and the manipulation of the press ends in May 1997, with the election of a new Prime Minister and the old establishment toppled. The script has been created from interviews, news reports and Hansard, interspersed with some imagined scenes.
Please Note: No real-life character will be cast based on how they actually look or sound (e.g. you don’t have to be tall and blond to play Diana) the closest we will get in terms of characterisation is in adopting one or two physical gestures/vocal qualities.
Drawing upon Shakespearian performance values, we will break the fourth wall and talk to our audience directly, set and props will be limited and costume will be your own best clothes (with a few exceptions). We will use sound and projected images to reflect the media war, but the spoken word and connection with the audience with remain paramount.
Main Characters (Approx. 6F 6M depending on split of roles)
Queen (F) The archetype of calm, quiet and thoroughly British authority. A consummate professional and the head of The Firm.
Diana (F) A compelling, yet curiously shy character, cheeky and flirtatious. Speaks slowly, haltingly and from the heart. (20s-30s)
Charles (M) A thoughtful, beleaguered man, perpetually confused by the modern world.
Sarah (F) To double with other roles
Camilla (F) To double with other roles
Royal aides/Bodyguard (M/F)
Major (M) This play’s ‘Old King’ character. Referred to throughout the script as ‘Honest John’.
Blair (M) We see Blair on his 1995-1997 ascendant,
Smith (M) Major’s adversary (to double with other roles)
Brown (M) Scottish accent required (to double with other roles)
Various Labour and Tory politicians (M/F)
Press – the press scenes reflect on the impact of royalty and government on the people
Magnate (M/F) A Falstaffian character, understands the machinations of the press intimately.
Pap (M)- to double with other roles. Conniving paparazzo. (Stage fighting experience preferred)
Broadsheet (M/F)- to double with other roles
Trueprint (M/F)- to double with other roles
Editor/Voice of the BBC (F) A warm, calm, measured voice, think Charlotte Green or Moira Stuart, will read out news reports of the day/set the scene. May also perform the play’s prologue.
Due to the scope of the play, some doubling will be required, but all cast will have at least one core role and plenty to get their teeth stuck into in terms of characterisation and lines.