Tuesday 6th - Saturday 10th November

Man and Boy

by Terence Rattigan

Director Nick Elliott

AUDITIONS - Monday 11th June, 7.30pm

A gripping story of family, success, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for both.

One evening in 1934, Gregor Antonescu appears at the Greenwich Village flat of his estranged son, Basil. Gregor has arranged to meet Mark Herries there, away from the press which have been reporting all day on the collapse of Antonescu’s huge business empire. They are to discuss the failure of a proposed merger between Herries’ firm and an Antonescu concern – a failure caused in part by the discovery of discrepancies in the accounts.

Basil is not pleased to see his father, but in the end, unwillingly, plays his part in a form of blackmail to dissuade Herries from announcing the collapse of the merger.

It is clear throughout the play that Antonescu has not stopped at anything to obtain his ends – of making money – including dealing with tyrants, and murder. However, we realise at the denouement that the son does care about the father, despite himself, and, in turn, the father cares for his son and his son’s opinion. The other characters point to the limits or extent of loyalty when it is put to the test in dramatic ways.

In some ways, the play resonates more today than when it was written in 1964, touching as it does on high finance and shady deals, big money pulling political strings, blackmail, sexual impropriety and, on the more human level, the pull of blood ties, loyalty between family members and loyalty between people who have worked together a long time, sharing secrets and dubious practices.

 

Characters Required:

The ages can be fluid, especially in terms of all but Gregor and Basil. With those two, they need to be believable as father and son, although Basil can be a little older than implied in the play.

The Man: GREGOR ANTONESCU - 50s East European origin. He will speak with an accent but this must never sound comic. Ruthless, without moral scruples in achieving his goals. A powerful man with powerful connections, seemingly with no moral or emotional ties, which he would consider a weakness. Normally very quick witted but not as strong on this evening (physically and emotionally) as he would like to appear. However, his presence is felt by all when he is in room – and he gives an impression of strength and decisiveness, to others, on his first entrance.

The Boy: BASIL ANTHONY - 20s. Despite his parentage, he speaks with public school English accent. He separated himself from his father after coming of age and discovering the extent of his father’s “business concerns” . A pianist playing small bars to pay the bills. Quite a weak individual, with a nervous stammer at times of stress. He looks up to his father and admires him, more than he would admit.

CAROL PENN - 20s girlfriend to Basil Anthony. American (flexible about which part of America, in terms of accent). A small time actress – she is an understudy in an off-Broadway play. She clearly loves Basil, understands his weaknesses and tries to support and protect him.  She is impressed with Gregor but that does not make her blind to his failings.

COUNTESS ANTONESCU - probably 30s in play but this can be older. Wife of Antonescu. Despite the name she is English and probably speaks with a rough “London” accent – he bought the title. She worked in the typing pool when Antonescu met her and - according to Rattigan’s own notes - did what I call “an Ann Boleyn” – ie she refused to sleep with him unless he married her. He has resented her for it ever since – and she is clearly with him for the money, but sleeps with her chauffeur. I am happy to consider this to be nearer to Antonescu’s own age, or perhaps ten years younger, so if you feel you would like the role don’t let the suggested age put you off!

SVEN JOHNSON - 40s (though could be a little younger or older) elegantly dressed but powerful –Antonescu’s right hand man (described by Herries as “The Crown Prince of the Antonescu Empire”). He knows the secrets and where the bodies are hidden! Seemingly 100% loyal to his boss. Possibly Eastern European but the name is vaguely Scandinavian. Could even be English or American – Antonescu has many fingers in many pies across the globe!

MARK HERRIES - 50s prosperous smooth business man. American – Harvard educated. Probably East Coast American (so New England/Boston type accent – definitely not Southern States, in any case) . He arrives intending to “dot the Is and cross the Ts” on an announcement to pull out of a merger with Antonescu. It is clear that he has admiration for Antonescu and his success.

DAVID BEESTON - 30s/40s (but flexible with age) American – probably also East Coast. Accountant to Herries’ business. He has discovered the anomalies in Antonescu’s accounts which is the cause of the collapse of the business deal. He is nervous and overawed by the powerful men he is dealing with. Antonescu realises this and bullies him to fluster and un-nerve him (attack, in Antonescu’s book, being the best form of defence). Though a relatively small role, the scene is very important and also is the only one with an element of humour in it, when Beeston is harried by Antonescu.

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