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Audition Notice – The Queen of Madagascar by David Manners


Initially performing 14th & 15th April 2020 at The Stables Theatre, Hastings

by David Manners

Directed by Lyndsey Meer

The Queen of Madagascar by author David Manners is one of four winning entries to The Stables’ first New Writing Festival. The play tells the true story of an extraordinary Edwardian scandal, perpetrated between 1898 and 1911 by one of David’s own relations. The script is based entirely on original letters, court transcripts, newspaper reports and inherited family stories.

Elizabeth Horne communes with the dead in her drawing room. Her devotees include Lady Blount who believes the world is flat, Reverend Aiken who believes in polygamy, and Mrs Christie who believes everything she’s told. When Elizabeth then invites an unlikely new member to their Sacred Circle, not only are their beliefs challenged, but all their lives are changed.

The cast will bring this surprising story and eccentric gathering of real people to life with skillful comic delivery, whilst giving sincerity to the characters’ irrational convictions, all of which ultimately prove their undoing.

JUSTICE LAWRENCE Aged 60+. Judge on the King’s Bench. An authoritative, dominant presence, who represents the
court process.
ELIZABETH HORNE Aged 60+. The charismatic, indomitable criminal mastermind. ‘A striking and impressive figure … of peculiar character and curious temperament … A clever, unreasonable, masterful monomaniac, who could not be argued with’.
FREDERICK HORNE Aged 45+. Elizabeth’s dull, tentative, younger husband, 16 years her junior. A well-to-do City merchant, whom she resents and dominates.
LADY BLOUNT Aged 60+. Boldly self-promoting Welsh aristocrat, founder of the Universal Zetetic ‘Flat Earth’ Society and sporter of Liberty-style Reform Dress. Inventor, promoter of Sanatogen and impassioned singer (of sorts – think Florence Foster-Jenkins) of her own compositions. ‘A tiny tigress’.
WILLIAM BURDETT Aged 50+. Cockney cab proprietor ‘hypnotised’ – and ruined – by Elizabeth. The only one of her victims with the courage to bring her to court.
REVEREND AIKEN Aged 40+. Vicar of Bredgar and polygamy-supporting Agapemonite. Noted for his ‘great interest in the YMCA hut’, Boy Scouts and London Cadets, one of whom admitted to being ‘more than a friend to him’.
Also plays: MAN 2, Canadian séance attendee.
Mrs CHRISTIE Aged 60+. Elizabeth’s prim, Edinburgh-born acolyte. ‘A wonderful woman for her years, upright in figure,
with snow-white hair, a kindly expression, and a winning voice and manner
.’ Preferably a pianist.
Also plays: ANNIE SURRIDGE, Gloucester-born cook employed at the Hornes’ Hampstead house.
and Mrs BOOKER, unflinching landlady of cheap seaside lodging house. Has a strong Sussex burr.
and Mrs MORLEY, wife of the mayor of Victoria, Vancouver Island.
Dr LEAKE Aged 30+. Horne family dentist.
Also plays: MUSIC HALL COMIC 2
and JONATHON CHATER, idiosyncratic reporter on the Eastbourne Gazette.
Mr BUNN Aged 40+. Elizabeth’s slow-witted, East Anglian accomplice. A corrupt financial investor of London, Ipswich and Brighton. ‘A tippling profligate … a most cadaverous, stupid-looking, nervous man’.
Also plays: MUSIC HALL COMIC 1
and MAN 1, Canadian séance attendee.
HENRIETTA JOYCE Aged late 30s. Elizabeth’s astute Irish parlour maid and séance assistant. A seemingly inconsequential member of the Horne household, yet ultimately the only one to profit from the scam.

AUDITION DATE: Sunday 12th January 2020, 2pm, at The Stables Theatre
Scripts (pdfs) are available on request from:
Any questions, please contact Lyndsey on 07788 713564 or 01580 880219

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