Suddenly Last Summer

Written by: Tennessee Williams

8 - 13th April, 2019

In her New Orleans mansion, the wealthy and reclusive Violet Venable grieves over the sudden death of her beloved son Sebastian the previous summer. Only Mrs Venable’s niece Catherine knows the truth of how Sebastian died, but has been so traumatised by the event that her mind appears to be shattered and her version of the truth is too terrible to believe.

Mrs Venable seeks the help of Dr. Cukrowicz, the leading specialist in a controversial new technique for removing harmful ideas from the mind – he proposes to literally cut the hideous story out of her brain.

However, Dr. Cukrowicz first needs to be sure of Catherine’s mental state and insists on questioning her in person. What she reveals about Sebastian’s true nature and how he died threatens to destroy Mrs. Venable’s fond memories of her son and expose a dark history that none of them wants to believe.

Tennessee Williams' savagely poetic drama strips back the veneer to expose the grim truth; a truth no-one wants to believe.

Audition Notice

In the garden of her New Orleans mansion, the wealthy and reclusive Violet Venable still grieves over the sudden death of her beloved son Sebastian the previous summer. Only Mrs Venable’s niece Catherine knows the truth of how Sebastian died, but she has been so traumatised by the event that her mind appears to be shattered and her version of the truth is too terrible to believe. Mrs Venable seeks the help of Dr. Cukrowicz, the leading specialist in a controversial new technique for removing harmful ideas from the mind – he proposes to literally cut the hideous story out of her brain. However, Dr. Cukrowicz first needs to be sure of Catherine’s mental state and insists on questioning her in person. What she reveals about Sebastian’s true nature and how he died threatens to destroy Mrs. Venable’s fond memories of her son and expose a dark history that none of them wants to believe.

Tennessee William’s gothic drama strips back the veneer to expose the grim reality beneath, and asks us a profound question - is “the truth” is just a story that we choose to believe, even if that choice causes pain and suffering? Can we choose which “truth” to believe? Savagely poetic and brutally eloquent, Suddenly Last Summer is an intense and moving story from a writer at the height of his creative powers.

Roles listed in order of number of lines. (Ages are a guide only)

Mrs Venable (Female, over 50, Southern American accent)
A wealthy widow. Very sure of herself and her position, demanding and unforgiving. Physically frail but mentally strong

Dr Cukrowicz (Male, thirties, good looking, any American accent)
A young doctor. Charming, intelligent, insightful, prone to self doubt

Catherine (Female, twenties, pretty, Southern American accent)
Mrs Venable’s niece. Suffering from severe shock and believed to be “mad” she is confined to an asylum. Passionate, fiercely independent, but broken.

Mrs Holly (Female, over 40, Southern American accent)
Catherine’s mother. Devoted to Catherine, but desperate to please Mrs Venable

George (Male, 25-35, Southern American Accent)
Catherine’s brother, a bit of an oaf, not very bright but tries hard

Sister Felicity (Female, and age, any American or Irish accent)
A nun and nurse taking care of Catherine. A bully, physically strong and morally absolute

Miss Foxhill (Female, Over 30, Southern American accent)
Mrs. Venable’s housekeeper. Downtrodden, sullen, but loyal. Physically strong

For more information: enquiries@bournemouthlittletheatre.co.uk

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