The most active theatre company in Cheltenham
13th to 17th November 2012
Ladies in Retirement
Written By Edward Percy and Reginald Denham
Directed by Wendy Berry
The play is set towards the end of the 19th century and is based on an actual crime that took place in France at that time.
Leonora Fiske is an ex show girl who is enjoying her retirement in a secluded house on the Thames Estuary near Gravesend. Her house keeper companion Ellen Creed, is a gentlewoman who has fallen on hard times, is obliged to work for her living and also has to provide for her two simple minded sisters. She invites the sisters to the house for a holiday and hopes she can persuade Leonora to allow them to stay for good. Leonora is not having it - the sisters are driving her mad - and she tells Ellen they must go. Ellen decides it is Leonora who must go and she throttles her.
Albert is Ellen's feckless nephew. He is on the run after pinching money from the bank where he worked and, while seeking refuge with Ellen at the house, he puts two and two together and begins to suspect what has happened. He seduces Lucy the household's young maid and together they stage a ghostly reconstruction of the crime. He then attempts to blackmail Ellen but underestimates her steely resourcefulness. Gradually Ellen's carefully constructed plan to explain Leonora's disappearance begins to crumble and she has to face up to her wickedness.
The above is a rough idea of the plot but the play is rich in atmosphere and innuendo. There is so much depth to it. Each time I read it I discover some new aspect. All the parts are strong and well defined. I look forward very much to getting to work on it.
Leonora Fiske. Retired. (Would have been described as a lady of 'easy virtue') Still full of life and enjoying her retirement which has been financed by her gentlemen admirers!
Ellen Creed her housekeeper companion. Not young. A strong resourceful woman
Louisa Creed, Ellen's sister. Simple minded. Not young, but childlike. A chatterbox, irritating and rather fey.
Emily Creed The other sister, also simple minded. Not young, morose at times, almost butch. Gets a bit resentful of Ellen. Both sisters hate Leonora
Lucy Leonora's live in maid. Young, pert, a bit flighty. Falls for Albert.
Albert Feather Ellen's neer-do-well nephew. Gift of the gab - full of cockney aplomb. Quick witted. Seduces Lucy
Sister Theresa A nun who lives in the convent which is the nearest establishment to Leonora's house on the marshes. Leonora, in spite of her colourful past is a devout catholic and has a lot of time for the nuns at the convent.
Reading: Thursday 21st June 2012 at 7:30pm
Auditions: Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th June 2012 at 7:30pm
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