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Chris Neville-Smith

Things I've done for the stage

Archive: The Memory of Water

Welcome to the archive page for the Memory of water, where I put the old casting information. Just in case anyone's interested. As always, anyone who wants to copy the casting information for their own use is welcome to it.


Dates and general information

The dates of the audition process have been set as follows:

  • Reading: The first part of the process, where everyone sits down and reads through the script to decide if it's the sort of play they want, is at 7.30 on Tuesday 24th February.
  • Audition: The second part of the process, where we actually choose who's in the play, is at 7.30 on Thursday 5th March. (This is changed from an earlier advertised day of Friday 6th, where I forgot I was in London that day. Sorry.)

Details of the casting process are available on my casting page. One thing I will draw to your attention this time round is that it is important you tell me all the parts you will consider doing and not just give me a first choice. If you won't do anything but your first choice, that's fine, and it will not count against you in the casting decision. But if you say you'd be willing to do take a part other than your first choice, but you decline after it's offered to you, that's going to cause a whole load of problems.

I would also urge everyone considering auditioning to please check what the parts entail first. Come to the read-through, read the script, read the character descriptions below, or preferably do all three. Two of the characters have half their clothes off in different bits of the play, there is quite a bit of intimacy involved between some of the characters, and there's isn't much scope to tone this down. If you are auditioning for these parts, I will assume you are happy to do what the script says unless you say otherwise.

Finally, be aware that the parts of three sisters are all very demanding parts, and I'll need three very good actors. The other three parts aren't easy either, but the three sisters are the last roles I'd recommend for anyone looking for an easy introduction to acting.

Details of parts


Okay, if you've read this far, hopefully, you're thinking about auditioning. Good, read on ...

Before I read on, a note on the ages. The main constraint on casting the sisters (apart from the difficulty of all three roles) as that I need three women who could conceivably look like sisters, and this means their ages will have to be reasonably close to each other. There is some leeway with the specified ages, but it's got to be consistent. If we age up or age down one sister, we'll have to do something similar with the other two.

Unfortunately, this means I cannot be sure whether you'll be the right for a part until I see who comes to the audition. You might be a workable age for an individual part, and be able to act in it perfectly well, and I may still be unable to recommend giving you the part if your age won't be consistent with the other actors' ages - even if the part is uncontested. (I am doing the auditions earlier than usual so that there's plenty of time to complete the cast if I fail on the first attempt.)

Anyway, now that I've crushed your hopes, here are the parts up for grabs:

Mary (female, age 39): Very very very demanding lead role. Middle sister of the family, level-headed Mary has a successful medical career and is driven up the wall equally by her quack medicine-obsessed older sister and her needy ego-centric younger one - the only major oddity being that she keeps talking to the ghost of her late mother. But behind this level-headedness, Mary has the most emotional back-story, centred around the baby she had to give away as a teenager, and her hope to be reunited with him. Mary is on stage for all of the first act and most of the second, so I'll need a good line learner. There's also a bit of canoodling on the bed with lover Mike, which I will assume you're okay with unless you say otherwise prior to auditioning. 39 is not an absolute requirement for an age: she needs to be old enough to have a successful medical career but young enough to plausibly be pregnant. And of course, you'll need to fit in with the ages of the other two sister.

Teresa (female, age 42-ish): Fraught older sister, runs a "health" food shop, swallows whole all the claims "complementary therapists", and hates it when here proper doctor sister challenges the more bonkers ideas she believes in. Although, in her defence, she was left with the sole burden of caring for her dying mother whilst her other sisters were doing their own things. Teresa is on stage through most of both acts, so a lot of lines to learn. Less indignities associated with this part compared to Mary or Catherine, but there's a particularly challenging bit in act two when she gets drunk and disgraces herself with an ill-advised outburst. Age is not specified in the play, and is only really constrained by relationship to Mary - needs to look plausibly like they grew up together as sisters, but can't look younger than Mary.

Catherine (female, age 33): Oh boy. Youngest sister, whiny, self-obsessed, but I do want the audience to empathise with her. Even though her holiday fling with Xavier is obviously going to be a disaster, just like all the other times she thought this was finally true love, I want the audience to feel sorry for her and they way she never ever ever learns. In case you haven't already guessed, this is the most undignified part of the play. She takes off half her clothes when going through her mother's wardrobe (don't worry, Shelagh Stephenson makes sure you keep your underwear on), and she practically couples herself to her brother-in-law after she's jilted. Needs to look about six years younger than Mary, and also needs to believable that seventy-eight men found her attractive enough to take advantage of her. On stage frequently throughout the play (but not quite as much as Mary or Teresa), so still a big commitment with line-learning, but let's face it, if the stuff I've said so far hasn't put you off, I doubt this thing will. Right, any takers?

Vi (female, 40s): This is a smallest of the six parts, but it's still a very important part. Vi is the mother of the three sisters, and speaks to Mary, maybe as a ghost, maybe as a memory. Unlike the other female roles, there is quite a bit of flexibility with Vi's age. In the script, she appears in her forties (presumably the way Mary remembers her from her childhood), but that's flexible. Most importantly: Vi does NOT need to look old enough to be Mary's mother. What I do need is someone who can look elegant, and immaculate, in a chain-smoking kind of way. Although Vi appears at first to be the least sympathetic character, she is the one who retains her cool whilst everyone else loses their heads. Vi appears briefly at the beginning and end of Act One, and twice (for longer periods) in Act Two. Assume you'll be needed for two rehearsals per week to start with - might be able to get away with less, but budget for two.

Mike (male, 30s-40s): Mary's lover. Another doctor, already married to a bed-ridden wife. On the surface, Mary and Mike appear to be soulmates, with Mike sharing Mary's sensible views on medicine. Underneath, however, Mike is a shallow character who's a commitment coward, and his wife maybe isn't as bed-ridden as he claims. Mike's age is not specified, and I'm happy for him to be a bit older or bit younger than Mary, but ideally he need to be a photogenic doctor who befits his appearances on daytime TV. Mike appears halfway through Act One and then frequently through the rest of the play, but I'll probably need you for most or all of the rehearsals. As mentioned above, this required a bit of canoodling on the bed with Mary, and there's also a bit when Mike comes from bath wearing a towel and has to dress in front of everyone else. Also need to be fit enough to climb in through a window at the start of the play.

Frank (male, 40s-50s): Teresa's long-suffering husband, partner in her health food business even though he secretly believes it's all bollocks. Importantly, however - even though he thinks he least of his wife's business and he's shouts her down the loudest when she disgraces herself - he still loves his wife, and that will need to show. One of the more dignified parts, apart from the bit where he's lying on the bed and Catherine joins him. If you find that uncomfortable and embarrassing, all the better. As with Mike, quite a bit of age flexibility here. Frank only appears at the very end of Act One, so I would probably only need you for two nights a week.

And there you go. Good luck everyone.

(And, as always, anyone who wishes to copy this casting information for their own use is welcome to do so.)