Decorative image of piles of scripts

Chris Neville-Smith

Things I've done for the stage

Howard and Mimi

Written by Caroline Gold

Directed by Chris Neville-Smith

This is my Durham Dramatic Society play for 2016. This is "studio play" which is a brand new venture for DDS: a sixth production outside their main season with fewer resources but also fewer artistic constraints. Which allows me to put on something a bit different such as [WARNING, SPOILER COMING] a play where the two characters are a cat and a dog. Yes that's right. I need two people to play a cat and a dog.


There will be a read-through for this play on Friday 1st April and the audition on Thursday 14th April, both at the City Theatre at 7.30 p.m. Although this play is outside DDS's main season, the same rules of casting apply to this play as apply to mainstream DDS plays. For details of how DDS's casting works, and what I personally look for, you can see my casting page.

On the subject of who I'm looking for here, both characters are described as "the human embodiments of the animals they represent". If you're not sure what that is, it's a bit difficult to describe, come along to the reading and it'll all make sense. But basically, it's two humans on stage in normal clothes acting a dog and a cat. Unlike my previous plays, I do not have any particular ages in mind for this play. However, the play does involve leaping up and down off sofas a lot, so I do need two actors with a lot of energy. The specific information of each for is as follows:

Mimi (female): Jane's cat, who live together in an existence of beauty and grace and tranquillity (to quote Mimi). So I need someone who can present an air of primness, sophistication and haughtiness. But she also needs to be someone who can get fierce for the moment when this smelly canine intruder arrives.

Howard (male): Nick's dog. As well as being Mimi's most hated species, Howard is all of Mimi's opposites: boisterous, enthusiastic and slobbish, from the moment he charges into the room going "New smells! New smells! Yeah, yeah, yeah, check it out!" So I could do with an actor who can pull off a convincing show of human slobbishness. But he's friendly dog and only wants to play.

Please note that although this play is a comedy, it gets darker towards the end. So be aware that I don't want to two actors who do nothing but milk everything for laughs. This has to be played as straight as possible, and the audition will include bits towards the end which get quite emotional.

(Also: I do not anticipate it will be necessary to purchase scripts for this play, so the usual rule on paying £8 for scripts does not apply here. However, you will still need to be a member of the society to perform in the play.)


As this is a studio play, the normal 8-week period with rehearsals on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday does not apply. I intend to star rehearsals on the week commencing 30th May, with the performances scheduled on the 27th - 29th July. This is a 60-minute play, so I propose to have two rehearsals a week for most of this period instead of the usual three.

I plan to decide which two days of the week to rehearse once I have a cast and we decide on the most convenient dates. As such, you do not have to commit to keep free any particular days of the week like you do for mainstream plays. However, the more flexible you are over when you can rehearse, the more likely I am to want to cast you.

Err ... I think that's it.

Footnote: Please note these plans are provisional and subject to final approval of performance rights. Hopefully this will be confirmed soon.

A note about future plans

In the interests on full disclosure, I am interested in taking this play to a festival fringe next year (probably Buxton, maybe Oxford or Brighton). However, this would be a completely seperate project. This means that if you are cast in this play, that not automatically mean you will be offered the same part should I take it somewhere else next year. Conversely, there is no obligation to commit beyond the DDS performance in July for these auditions, and you won't be expected to take part in anything you didn't sign up to.

In short, please take no notice of possibile fringe performances. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.