Dial M For Murder by Frederick Knott
Please read carefully all the details, in particular rehearsal dates. If you are unsure whether unavailability will be an issue please check first by emailing email@example.com
Director: Panda Monium Production Dates: 17th Nov – 25th Nov (matinees on 18th & 25th)
Rehearsal Dates:Beginning w/c 2nd October. Four nights a week (Mon to Thurs). Cast members should expect to be called for most rehearsals.
Option A: Thursday 24th August (7pm-10pm) Maddermarket Theatre: Bar
Option B: Wednesday 30th August (7pm-10pm) Location tbc
Sunday 3rd September (11am-1pm) Maddermarket Theatre: Studio
If you are absolutely not able to make an audition date but want to be seen please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to sign-up:You can either sign up at the theatre office, where there are hard copies of the audition extracts to take away. There is also a reading copy of the script, which needs to remain in the building. OR email the director email@example.com to register and scans of the extracts will be emailed to you. You will need to include the following information: NAME, PHONE NUMBER, EMAIL ADDRESS, ANY ROLE PREFERENCES & YOUR PREFERRED FIRST ROUND AUDITION DATE. A scan of the script can also be sent to you upon request.
'Dial M For Murder' was immortalised in Alfred Hitchcock's film of 1954 starring Grace Kelly. The first half takes place over 36 hours in the home of Tony and Sheila Wendice. The second half is one afternoon a few months later. It should not be thought of as a 'who dunnit' as it shows very clearly who did it, how they planned it and how (initially) they got away with it. Instead, the play presents five strong and well defined characters who drive the plot through their interactions. Each of the characters has a thoroughly believable back story and the relationships between them twist and turn throughout the production. The entertainment for the audience comes from watching this subtle character play unfold before their eyes.
The production will homage the 'film noir' aspect presented by Hitchcock. Instead of the detailed drawing room set which is described over two pages in the script (!), we shall strip right back and use light to define our space. With minimal set and props, the characters and plot will take front and centre stage.
During the rehearsal process we shall work closely together as a cast of five to explore the relationships and events that have happened before the play begins. This will inform our characterisation as we then return to the script.
Cast Breakdown (Cast of 5: 4m/1f)
F1: Sheila Wendice. [Playing age early 20's to late 30's]
Sheila is a wealthy woman who married a tennis star that she adored. As the play opens she appears to be a classic upper middle class wife. However, we learn that after a passionate extra marital affair, she has recently decided to give her husband a second chance. Her guilt over this makes her susceptible to her husband's manipulations and unable to comprehend that he wishes her harm.
M1: Tony Wendice [Playing age late 20’s to early 40's]
Tony is a former international tennis player who married his wife for her money. His expectation of living a playboy lifestyle – funded by her – has recently been curtailed by her demands that he stay at home and get a job. For Tony, the obvious solution is to kill her (why not!). At the start of the play Tony knows everything about everyone. He has the perfect plan and an answer for everything. As the story unfolds we see Tony gradually unravel until the final denouement when he realises his plan has failed.
Tony is attractive, intelligent, charismatic, self-centred, manipulative and amoral. He believes he deserves an easy life to do what he pleases. He is a consummate performer and trusts no-one.
M2: Max Halliday [Playing age late 20’s to early 40's]
Max is a radio play writer. He had an affair with Sheila and when she broke it off he moved to the U.S. As the play opens, he has just returned and he and Sheila are seeing each other for the first time since the break-up. Max lacks confidence in himself and his abilities; he believes he could never compete with Tony and accepts that he has lost Sheila. However, in the course of the play he never loses his faith in her and gradually starts to challenge Tony's smooth explanations.
M3: Captain Lesgate [Playing age mid 30’s to early 50's]
Lesgate is a seducer, charmer and con-man. He has got away with it since his school days but unfortunately has met his match in Tony Wendice. Although Lesgate is only in the first half of the play, his scene with Tony is a wonderful study in power games and status.
To a certain extent, Lesgate is driven by money as he is heavily in debt. However, underlying his confidence and charm lies a cruelty and bitterness. This is why Tony recruits him to kill Sheila.
M4: Inspector Hubbard [Playing age late 30's to early 60's]
It is so hard to write about Inspector Hubbard without drawing a parallel with Inspector Columbo, so brilliantly played by Peter Faulk. The two characters are certainly very similar. Hubbard is an experienced officer who is not willing to overlook a piece of evidence that simply doesn't make sense. He takes a low status approach, initially seeming to believe everything he is told, which leads to Tony underestimating him. As with Lesgate, Hubbard's interactions with Tony are full of manipulation and trickery.