By Sebastian Faulks, Adapted by Rachel Wagstaff
Audition dates are
- Weds 20th June at 7:30pm, and
- Sunday 24th June at 2pm
– both at Progress Theatre.
Rehearsals will begin mid/late July.
Performance dates are 8th-17th November
– we have been granted a very special opportunity to perform Birdsong over the period of the Centenary of the Armistice – exactly 100 years after the First World War ended. We will be working in conjunction with the Royal British Legion to commemorate this anniversary.
“No child or future generation will ever know what this was like, will ever understand”
Based on Sebastian Faulks’s international bestselling novel, Birdsong tells the story of a soldier haunted by his past. As a young man, Stephen Wraysford was caught up in an all-consuming love affair in Amiens, France. As the First World War unfolds, Stephen finds himself pulled closer and closer back to Amiens, back to the Valley of the Somme…
Birdsong is a powerful and compelling story about courage, love, friendship and the horrors of war – it is a tale of one man’s quest to understand how far mankind can go and still call itself human…
Stephen Wraysford 20s/30s. Stephen finds it difficult to relate to his men in the trenches. He is distant, cold – a result of heartbreak before the war when his affair with Isabelle ended badly. As the war rumbles on Stephen thaws, as he comes to terms with his past, and learns to depend on his men for survival.
Jack Firebrace 30s/40s. from London. Jack is a very good man. He loves his men as much as his wife and son. Coming from a very deprived home-life, he looks at the war as a way out – better pay, better food than at home. But at what cost?
Isabelle 20s/30s. Isabelle is stuck in a loveless, abusive marriage to Azaire, until Stephen arrives and they embark on an affair.
Lisette 16-19. Azaire’s daughter and Isabelle’s step-daughter. Stuck between childhood and adulthood, Lisette struggles with her own feelings for Stephen.
Michael Tipper 15. Tipper lies about his age in order to fight for his country, and struggles to deal with the brutality of war.
Arthur Shaw 30s/40s. from Yorkshire. Jacks best friend. A father figure, Shaw has been in the war since the beginning, and the men he has seen join and die are starting to haunt him.
Turner 30s. Turner tragically dies fairly early in the play – serving to hammer home the brutality of war to the audience. We see his emotional struggle with life in the trenches at the beginning of the play.
Gareth Evans 20s-30s. Welsh. Evans tries to be the joker – he puts on a brave face to keep his regiment going, but he is also desperately seeking news of his brother, who is fighting down the line.
Azaire 40s/50s. Isabelle’s husband. Azaire is controlling and abusive, with a frightening lack of compassion.
Gregoire 15-18. Azaire’s son. Isabelle’s step-son. A privileged, carefree young boy who serves to contrast with Tipper, who is the same age. (Tipper and Gregoire will likely be played by the same actor)
Jeanne 30s. Isabelle’s sister – Jeanne is older, and stronger than her sister, and is fiercely protective over Isabelle.
Gray 40s. A Captain in the British Army. He cares about his men, but his hands are tied by the brass.
Barclay 40s. A British Colonel. He is the epitome of the ghastly, selfish, somewhat delusional office staff who has no understanding of the consequences of his decisions.
Levi 20s/30s. A soldier in the German Infantry. Levi serves to show the suffering on both sides – he is just a man, a scared man with a family, same as the British.
Marguerite Any age. The maid/housekeeper to Azaire and Iabelle.
Berard 40s/50s. – Azaire’s friend. Overbearing, over-familiar, and with an unhealthy interest in Isabelle.
Other small roles
A prostitute, Chaplain, Orderly, Nurse, barman) to be played by members of the cast.
Parts may be doubled (or trebled!) depending on actors availability/willingness etc.
Birdsong is a real ensemble piece, with each part being as important as each other! For more information, to request a script to borrow, or to read the audition pieces email the director, Steph Dewar on firstname.lastname@example.org