For Services Rendered
By W. Somerset Maugham
Please note that auditions are now only being held for the role of Sydney
Please read carefully all the details, in particular rehearsal dates. Please do not audition if you have significant clashes with the rehearsal or any clashes with performances. If you are unsure whether unavailability will be an issue please check first by emailing the Director, Pip Sessions - firstname.lastname@example.org
Director: Pip Sessions Production Dates: 19-26 April 2019
Performance Schedule: 10 performances, including Saturday matinees. Sunday off
Rehearsal Dates: Beginning the week of the 4th March
If you would like to audition for the role of Sydney, please complete a an audition form (see below) and where it asks for preferred audition date give a few evening/weekend options over the next fortnight. The director Pip Sessions will then contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time.
How to sign-up:
The completed form should be returned as an attachment to Director of Productions at The Maddermarket Theatre, Jez Pike at email@example.com.
Your information will then be processed, stored and distributed in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The director of the production – Pip Sessions – will then contact you via email to arrange an audition slot.
Scans of the audition extracts can be emailed to you. Alternatively hard copies can be picked up from the theatre office (10.30am-6pm, Mon-Fri). In addition a scan of the script may be requested by email, or alternatively a reading copy is available at the theatre office to read on-site.
Please note that all auditionees must complete an ‘Auditions Submission Form’ prior to auditioning, even if have had existing contact with or made informal arrangements with the director of that production.
About the Play
An unexpectedly powerful drama from a playwright most often associated with light comedies, For Services Rendered was premiered in 1932 and caused controversy at the time. Its strong anti-war message and challenging of the myth of the Great War split critics and audiences alike.
Set in the early 1930s it examines a typical middle-class English family at their country home over the course of a few summer days. At first, appearing to have everything you’d expected from a respectable well-made play of this era, it soon turns out to have a darker edge and a strong social conscience.
The family have all been scarred by the First World War in some way, either literally or emotionally. As relationships fracture and withheld emotions simmer, we see the family as a microcosm of an uneasy England; a country in denial of its ill-health.
The play gained a major revival at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2015 and was described by The Guardian’s Michael Billington as ‘a blistering portrait of the ruinous aftermath of the first world war and our creation of a society unfit for heroes’.
The writing benefits from Maugham’s famous wit and wry observation of human behaviour. With finely drawn characters, it gradually builds – in a manner reminiscent of Chekhov – to an emotional hammer blow of a climax.
About the production
There will be ‘no small parts’ in this production! In keeping with other Maugham plays, there are several scenes which involve characters acting as witnesses in the background to conversations between other characters. Demands on the cast will therefore be quite high in terms of rehearsals. Attention to detail will be essential. I intend to use the character of Gertrude (the Ardsley’s parlour maid) more than is implied in the script.
Cast Breakdown: 6m, 6f
Please note that auditions are now only being held for the role of Sydney.
Ages can be taken as a guide only - will depend on family group – could be slightly younger or older.
Leonard Ardsley – 60s. Country solicitor. Pompous, blinkered.
Charlotte Ardsley – 60s. Suffering a terminal illness which she doesn’t want to burden on the family.
Sydney – their son, 30s-40s. Lost his sight in the war. Embittered and disillusioned.
Eva – their daughter, c.40. A tragic figure. Desperate. Lost her fiancé in the war.
Ethel – their daughter, 30s. Unhappily married to Howard.
Lois – their daughter, late 20s. Shrewd and cynical.
Howard – Ethel’s husband, 30s-40s. Tenant farmer. Brutish.
Collie Stratton – family acquaintance, 40s. Decorated war hero. Now bankrupt.
Wilfred Cedar – family acquaintance, 50s. Lothario.
Gwen Cedar – Wilfred’s wife, 40s-50s. Appears to be rather naïve and foolish at first but is painfully aware of her husband’s indiscretions.
Dr Prentice – Charlotte Ardsley’s brother and the family’s GP, 60s.
Gertrude – the Ardsley’s parlour maid, 20s-40s.