27th - 30th March 2019 at 7.45pm
Based on the 2008 film starring Burt Reynolds, Derek Jacobi, Imelda Staunton and Samantha Bond, this play tells the story of fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele who, keen to boost his flagging career, arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford -- only to find that this is not the birthplace of the Bard, but a sleepy Suffolk village. And instead of Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, the cast are, quite literally, a bunch of amateurs trying to save their theatre from developers. Jefferson's monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the enthusiastic am-dram thespians. As acting worlds collide, and Jefferson's career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself - along with his inner Lear! Most of the action takes place in the Stratford Players' converted barn theatre which also doubles as their rehearsal space (sound familiar?). Pinewood Theatre will therefore be an additional "character" in the play for a truly immersive experience for the audience. As we follow the actors rehearsing for their potentially "final" performance the theatre will evolve from bare rehearsal room into Lear's world.
JEFFERSON STEELE (M playing age 50+) - A fading Hollywood star/action hero who is arrogant, insecure, brash, gauche, demanding, vulnerable and ultimately aware of his own absurdity.
DOROTHY NETTLE (F playing age 35-50) - Director of the Stratford Players and the moving force behind keeping the theatre alive. Her sweet and accommodating manner conceals her inner steel.
JESSICA STEELE (F playing age 18-25) - Jefferson's daughter, who has been neglected by her Hollywood star father and now wants to make him pay for it.
NIGEL DEWBURY (M playing age 50+) - Solicitor and leading light of the Stratford Players. Pompous, stuck-up and self-regarding, he believes he is the star of the show, and should play all the leading roles. He also fancies his romantic chances with Dorothy.
MARY PLUNKETT (F playing age 40-60) - Owner of the Rectory bed and breakfast. Jolly, homely, generous and an unashamedly adoring Jefferson Steele fan -- although somewhat confused about which roles he played in his films, and how keen he is on her.
DENIS DOBBINS (M playing age 30+) - Handyman and village Mr. Fixit. Avuncular though slightly dull, Denis is star-struck by Jefferson and fancies heading up his entourage of one.
LAUREN BELL (F playing age 30-40) - Thirty-something marketing executive former physiotherapist and the sponsor's wife. Passionate about the arts and smarter than her husband allows her to be, she's treated as a bimbo because of her looks.
Playing ages are a guide only, what is more important is the characters fit together well. Clearly Jefferson and Jessica must be believable as father and daughter and should both be able to carry off an American accent. In the film Dorothy has a teenage daughter however this is not referenced in the play so she can be younger.
Read-through18 October 2018 at 19:45 (Pinewood)
Auditions22 October 2018 at 19:45 (Pinewood)
Opening Night27 March 2019 at 19:45 (Pinewood)
Performance28 March 2019 at 19:45 (Pinewood)
Performance29 March 2019 at 19:45 (Pinewood)
Last Night30 March 2019 at 19:45 (Pinewood)
by IAN HISLOP and NICK NEWMAN
This amateur production of "A Bunch of Amateurs" is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.
- Director: James Lole