READING AND AUDITION NOTICE

LOOT

By JOE ORTON

DIRECTOR: ROBERT LOWE

Joe Orton’s savage and very funny farce.

PLAYING DATES:  6th – 16th May 2020

AUDITION:  Thursday, 24th October, 7.30 p.m.

All welcome

Rehearsals will start Sunday 22nd March 2020

Loot is one of the best known and most outrageous comedies of the 1960s, written in Orton’s inimitable style, full of wickedly sharp one-liners and caustic put-downs. Irreligious, anti-establishment and still shockingly laugh-out-loud funny. Heavily censored on its first outing, it now seems highly appropriate when there is more than a hint of insanity in the world.

Orton’s original title for ‘Loot’ was ‘Funeral Games’ – which neatly covers the deeply black humour to be found in this play. ‘It’s a Freudian nightmare’, says Hal, as he is about to dump his mother’s corpse into a cupboard, in order to hide in her coffin the money from the bank robbery he’s just committed with his best friend Dennis. There is a vicious policeman thinly disguised as a man from the Water Board, a nurse on the make, comic business with a glass eye and absolutely no moral compass whatsoever!

The original production starring Kenneth Williams caused huge offence in the provinces and was critically lambasted, but when a much reworked production opened in the West End in 1966, the world had moved on and it became a massive hit, winning numerous awards for best new play of the year. In 1984, Leonard Rossiter, of Reggie Perrin and Rising Damp fame, died backstage shortly before his first entrance as Truscott. His understudy took over the role……..

 

The characters:  The ages are a guide only.

The Father – McLeavy – playing age 50-65

Recently bereaved. Catholic layman. Gullible and honest. Respects authority, but has more interest in his roses than his dead wife. Much put upon by his wayward son and his wife’s nurse. Tries to help the Inspector, but ends up the final victim.

 

The Nurse – Fay – playing age 30-40

A femme fatale (literally). The poor man’s Marilyn Monroe. Her previous seven husbands all died in mysterious circumstances and all within the past decade. Poisoned Mrs McLeavy in order to marry her husband. Catholic, but not in her tastes or morals!

The Son – Hal – playing age 20-28

Look at a picture of the young Joe Orton. Charming, but rough. Loving, but self-serving. Passionate. Full of Catholic guilt, but a deflowerer of virgins (of either sex) and a thief nonetheless. Incapable of lying due to his upbringing.

The Best Friend – Dennis – playing age 25-35

Handsome, slick, smooth. A player. Out for what he can get, both financially and sexually, by whatever means and with whoever.  As the undertaker’s assistant he is in charge of the funeral, which he uses to hide evidence of the bank robbery which the two young men committed the day before. Must look good in a black suit!

The Inspector – Truscott – playing age 35-55

A law-avoiding policemen prepared to go to any lengths to get his man. Pretends to be from the Water Board to gain access to the house. He beats up both Dennis, for lying to him, and Hal, for telling him the truth. Happy to accept bribes and arrest the innocent.

The Corpse – Mrs McLeavy – playing age 45-60

The corpse in the original productions had to be played by a mannequin – not in this production! A chance here for a tour de force of physical playing by an actress up for a challenge! No lines to learn! A willingness to lie in an open coffin and be man-handled from there into a cupboard, on to a wheelchair etc etc. Must be able to keep a straight face!!

The Policeman – Meadows – playing age 21-40

An assistant to Truscott. A PC Plod. Shows the general corruption and ineptitude of the police.

If you are interested in the play, but cannot make the reading or audition dates or for further information please contact either the director, Robert Lowe, at rml.stratford@gmail.com or Sue Moore at suemoore@lofttheatrecompany.com

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