Performances: Tuesday 15 – Saturday, 19 November 2016 (inclusive) at Chapter Arts Centre.
Originally set in 1967 Bristol, Nichols’ play is based upon his own experience of parenting a child with a severe form of disability.
BRIAN – a disillusioned Art teacher – and his wife, SHEILA, have a 10-year-old daughter, JOSEPHINE – the “Joe Egg” of the title – apparently described by a Germanic doctor as “a wegetable”. This is revealed by the couple in one of the knockabout vaudeville “routines” they play out as a coping strategy. Bri and Sheila also refer to their daughter as “a living parsnip” and joke that she needs an early night because her 11-plus is coming up!
“This remarkable play….. has to be described as a comedy, one of the funniest and most touching I’ve seen.” (Ronald Bryden – “The Observer”- 1967).
“Joe Egg is unlike any play I’ve seen; concerns about whether it’s dated fade next to the claims that can now be made for it. It’s in the collisions between pious and rogue thoughts that the play’s energy lies. We don’t know what to feel. Which is why, once seen, Joe Egg won’t go away.”
(Robert Butler – “Independent on Sunday” – 1993).
One of the challenges the play presents to a Director and cast, is how to maintain a balance between the comic and tragic elements which are often side by side in the piece. Another challenge is to create an authentic set and costumes relating to 1967, whilst a third is the need to research the developments that have taken place during the intervening 40 years, in respect of attitudes, impact, support, care and technology in the context of Cerebral Palsy.
The play raises questions about sensitive issues – like all great modern drama – but then leaves it to us and the audience to arrive at the answers, if there are any.
The Audition Process
Auditions will be held in the Everyman Club Room at Chapter, on:
Friday 22 July (7.30pm start)
Friday 19 August (7.30 to 9 pm);
Saturday 20 August (10 am to 1pm; 2 to 5pm);
Sunday 21 August (10 am 1 pm; 2 to 5pm).
Recalls, or further auditions – if required – will be held from Friday 02 to Sunday 04 September. It may well be that we begin rehearsals on that weekend, if the play has already been cast and all timings will be confirmed later.
Auditions will take the form of workshops, so there is no need to learn anything! It will help, however, if you have time to:
- Read or acquaint yourself with the play (we will be using the ‘Faber’ version);
- Research “Cerebral Palsy”;
- Research the Bristol dialect, which we may – or may not – use!
BRI – 33, a teacher of Art in a local Secondary Modern School; hardly ever at rest; seemingly inept, clumsy; clowning may give way to ineffectual hectoring, then self-piteous gloom; married to
SHEILA – 35, serious; industrious; when dressed for socializing, can be “captivating”; housewife;
JOE (JOSEPHINE) – 10, their daughter; diagnosed as “spastic” (as a baby) with an extreme and complex form of Cerebral Palsy; suffers from epileptic fits; wheelchair-bound or is carried around; attends a Day Nursery; a challenging rôle for a young female actor (needs to “look” 10, but could be any age – AND in a fantasy sequence, the actor moves, sings, skips with a rope and talks to the audience directly).
FREDDIE – attended same school as BRI; a “friend”/ acquaintance; same age as Bri, but seems and behaves much older and “old school”, with ‘a hearty barking humourless laugh’; married to
PAM – ‘dresses well, mispronounces her words in an upper-class gabble… her postures and manners have been taken from fashionable magazines’ (of the mid-1960s). “We’re none of us perfect…. I can’t stand anything N.P.A. Non-Physically Attractive.”
GRACE – Bri’s mother; 65; ‘suburban, fastidious…. short-sighted but refuses to wear spectacles… Her manner is generally bright but …. spells of gloom when she tends to sigh a lot. Maternal!
I anticipate rehearsing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 7.30 to 9.30 pm; possibly some Friday evenings, if cast available and Saturdays OR Sundays, from 10am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm. There may well be occasions when I will need to change or cancel a session, but I will ensure that the cast are notified well in advance of this.
Sunday, 13 November 2016 – Get-in and Technical/ Dress Rehearsal – main stage, Chapter;
Monday, 14 November 2016 – Final Dress Rehearsal;
Tuesday 15 to Saturday, 19 November 2016 – evening public performances; Matinée on Saturday, 19 November; Get-out on last night and on Sunday, 20 November 2016
Please check your own availability, with reference to the above. It would be appreciated if you could please inform me of any potential issues as soon as possible.
To book an audition please e-mail
Choose from the following:
Friday 22 July 7.30pm start;
Friday 19 August – 7.30 pm;
Saturday 20 August – 10 am; 11.30 am; 1 pm; or 2.30 pm;
Sunday 21 August – 10 am; 11.30 am; 1 pm; or 2.30 pm.
I will also need your name and contact details.
People can contact me on this e-mail address or by phone:
01446 – 711710 or 07454313286
NOTE: Please bring a recent passport-size photograph of yourself when you attend for your audition. Thank you for your interest.
I look forward to hearing back from you, and also to working with you on the production. We have an excellent support team.
RAY THOMAS (Director)
JOE EGG Audition Form