King Charles III – Audition

King Charles III

by Mike Bartlett

Date & Time: 24 – 29 September 2018

7:30pm (2:30pm matinee, Saturday 29 September. No performance 25th September)

Venue: Wesley Memorial Church, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford

Director: Daniel Whitley

From the director
Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III began as a thought experiment, to see if a Shakespearian style history play could work in a modern context. This quickly evolved into a “what if?” drama – specifically to wonder what type of king Charles could become, and the issues this may cause if he decides to “put his foot down” in politics.

King Charles III is ultimately a play about family politics, the relationship between crown and state and the public’s relationship with the monarchy. It is an incredibly rich play, with plenty of parallels to Shakespeare’s canon for actors to explore.

We will be performing in traverse, with the audience on both sides of the stage. This will heighten the audience’s awareness that they are seeing the relationship between Britain’s elite and the public. For the scenes which take place within the House of Commons, this also allows for our audiences to position themselves as our elected representatives.

I am not looking for actors to perform impersonations of the real life characters which exist in the play, nor am I expecting actors to look the same as their royal counterparts. Instead, I will be looking to develop some simple reference for the actors so that the audience will cue in to who we are portraying (realistically, this will likely come down to posture and gestures to aid the characterisation process).

Rehearsals
Rehearsals will begin late July. Throughout August and September I am anticipating two evenings and a longer Sunday call. I am acutely aware of the time commitment being in a play is, and want to minimise disruption as much as possible by calling as few rehearsals as possible, and maximising the time used per session.

I recognise a lot of people take holidays in August, and therefore will be putting together the rehearsal schedule as soon as possible, accommodating holidays. I anticipate the full schedule being fully confirmed by mid June, so that everyone is aware of the sessions they are called for.

Important Dates

First round auditions:

Wednesday 23 May - 8pm (Hall)

Monday 28 May - 7.30pm (Church)

Auditions take place at the URC in Summertown

Recalls (by invitation only):

Sunday 3 June - 6pm (Hall)

Map to the URC

Production week
We will be performing at the Wesley Memorial Church, New Inn Hall Street. Get in 23 September, Performances 24, 26 – 29 September (no performance Tuesday, includes Saturday matinee). Performances to begin 7.30pm, 2.30pm matinee.

All cast are expected be available all day on Sunday, and from 12 noon on Monday, for the get in, rehearsals and preview show. However, the exact schedule is not yet known, and this will be confirmed later, so please let us know if you would find daytime attendance on the Monday difficult and we will do our best to accommodate you!

Synopsis
The play opens with the funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth II. Charles is King, after a lifetime of waiting. He undertakes his first weekly audience with the (fictional) Prime Minister. During this discussion, Charles shows an eagerness for a bill, due to be given Royal Assent, to be redrafted. The Prime Minister refuses, as the political process has been completed. The Leader of the Opposition separately confides in Charles that he has doubts about the bill, however ultimately suggests Charles signs.

Meanwhile, Harry has met and started dating a republican, Jess, enjoying late night visits to Sainsbury’s and Wetherspoons. The Ghost of Princess Diana appears to both Prince William and King Charles, stating to each they will become “the greatest King we ever had”. Charles interprets this that he is being told to not sign, which firms his resolve. The PM threatens a new law which shall rid politics of the Royal Assent, to which Charles dissolves Parliament and calls a new General Election.

Britain is now in crisis. Riots on the street, effigies of Charles are burnt, and Harry asks permission to “descend into the mass” and remove himself from royalty. Under Kate’s suggestion, William agrees to act as a mediator between his father and Parliament, who are now sitting in Westminster Hall. Eventually, Parliament is restored, the royal assent remains, and two crowns sit awaiting the coronation of the new King and Queen.

Roles available (Gender, playing age)

Aside from the royals (excepting Diana and possibly Camilla), Jess and the Prime Minister, all other roles are suitable for doubling. Several characters appear for only one scene and, whilst the actors will be used in other scenes (as MPs, members of the press, rioters etc) it is likely doubling would occur.

King Charles III (M, 70)
The titular role is by far the biggest role of the play. Well meaning and tries hard, however struggles to come to terms with life as King rather than King-in-waiting.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (F, 70)
Camilla is a relatively small role compared to the other royals. She appears mostly at Charles’ side, and frequently is seen embattled against the younger royals for what she perceives as lack of respect for their elders.

William, Duke of Cambridge (M, 30s)
A faithful servant to both his father and the crown, William is stuck in the middle of opposing forces from different sides of his life throughout the majority of the play.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (F, 30s)
Kate’s role in the play is mostly served as trying to guide William to resolve matters from the outset. Shown as very much in control and an equal to William. Also gets on well with Jess and the Prime Minister.

Prince Harry (M, early 30s)
The driver of the second plotline, meets a republican girlfriend and spends a lot of the play debating whether he wants to remain a royal or become a “commoner”.

James Reiss, Press Secretary to King Charles III (M, 50s but flexible)
James has worked as Press Secretary to Charles for thirty years. He is the confidant of Jess during her troubles with the press and switches allegiances from the King towards the end of the play.

Tristan Evans, Prime Minister (either, 40+)
The Prime Minister finds themselves in a difficult position throughout the play. Spends much of the early scenes in debate with Charles, trying to make him see that the Bill cannot be altered and that he must sign. Then proposes removing Royal Assent entirely, and is seen to represent the public’s views much of the time.

Mark Stevens, Leader of the Opposition (either, 40+)
The Leader of the Opposition is the politician who subtly nudges Charles along the path towards dissolving Parliament, however maintains the public front of supporting the Prime Minister when difficulties emerge between Crown and State.

Ghost (of Diana) (F, under 35)
The Ghost of Diana appears twice, with the same purpose on both occasions. She is there to tell both Charles and William they will be great kings.

Spencer and Cootsey (M, late 20s/early 30s)
Contemporaries and friends of Prince Harry.

Jess (F, 20s or 30s)
Republican, love interest of Harry. Battles with her hatred of royalty with her attraction to Harry.

Sarah and Nick (either, flexible)
Chief Political and Communications Advisers to the Prime Minister. Both appear in one scene, when the Prime Minister needs to discuss Charles’ refusal to sign the bill.

Speaker of the House of Commons (either, 50s+)
Appears in the climax to the first half, when Charles dissolves Parliament.

Terry, Royal Security (either, flexible)
Appears in one scene, during the riots. Charged with protecting Harry.

Free Newspaper Woman (either, flexible)
Single speech character who opens the second half, serves as narrator to bridge audience into the riot scenes.

Sir Gordon, Chief of Defence (M, 50s+)
Single conversation with Charles – regarding the parking of tanks outside Buckingham Palace.

Sir Michael, Head of the Metropolitan Police (either, 50s+)
Single conversation with the Prime Minister, William and Kate – to update them on the riots spread across the United Kingdom.

Butler (either, flexible)
Appears to introduce three characters in three different scenes.

Paul, kebab vendor (male, any)
Single conversation – with Harry, where Harry first discloses he is thinking about quitting his “job” due to Jess.

TV Producer (either, any)
Single scene – in conversation with Charles and William.

Archbishop of Canterbury (M, 60+)
Closes the play with the coronation.

Clubbers, Attendants, Members of Parliament, Commuters, Protesters, Members of the Press (any)
Actors will be utilised to provide weight to crowd scenes at various points during the evening. These would be rehearsed in late, so as to minimise calls for actors who are not actively involved in scenes. If actors specifically wanted to audition for non-speaking roles, they would be welcome to.

We are also looking for production management, props and costume assistance. Please get in touch!

Auditions will be held at the URC in Summertown opposite South Parade. It is very close to bus stops from the city centre and north Oxford, and there is some street parking nearby. The hall is at the rear of the church – follow the path down the right hand side of the church.

Please come in time to start at the advertised time and be prepared to stay for up to 2 hours. There is no need to prepare anything beforehand - you'll be given a selection of short monologues and scenes on the night.

It would be helpful if you could bring a completed audition form, but forms will also be available on the day.

If you have any specific needs with regards to access or any other issues, please do get in contact with Dan, who will help if he can.

All OTG auditions are run according to the OTG audition policy and harrassment policy

What if I can’t make those dates and times?

If you are interested in auditioning, but are unable to come to any of the given dates, please contact Dan and he will try to see you at another time, if possible.