MISS BEDWORTHY’S PROPOSITION
by Vince Jones
The action takes place in the present time in Wintercourse Frequent, a village in southern England.
Act 1 Scene 1: The Proposition
Marilyn Bedworthy- the driving force behind the local amateur dramatic group, has written a murder mystery play and takes her production ideas to the Village Hall Committee with a view to performing on stage at the hall. The Committee is chaired by the vicar of St. Matilda’s, Jeremy Tongue and includes his wife, Edna (Treasurer and Booking Secretary), Major Peregrine Payne (RA Retired), Ms Bunty Goodbody (Local Guide Captain), Roger Darling (Scout Master), Sharon King (Yoga and Pilates Group Leader) and Gladys Gribble (aged member of the local WI).
After much deliberation, hesitancy and ego massaging, and coupled with a need to boost Hall funds, the Committee agree to allow Marilyn to go ahead and hold auditions for the play.
Act 1 Scene 2: The Auditions
Auditions are duly advertised and attract a wide range of local villagers wishing to see themselves “treading the boards”. As well as the Hall Committee members, the event attracts an aged Shakespearean professional actor- Leonard Michelle- (actually he worked in soap adverts) and his wife Dorothy- another ageing actor; two farming contractor brothers, William and Benjamin Potts; and Marlene and Barry Cooper, village new comers recently arrived from the West Midlands.
Maurice Sparks, the elderly local electrician and handy man of questionable ability comes along with his grandson, Reggie, to offer help and “expertise” with set construction and lighting.
Add to this eclectic group, Gladys Gribble as the unlikely prompt, then opportunities for things to go awry are endless.
Act 1 Scene 3: The First Rehearsal
The audience is privileged to observe the very first rehearsal of Act 1 of the murder mystery on stage. The actors are on script and the scene is one of continual confusion. Marilyn tries valiantly to keep the direction moving but has to deal with a cast who are constantly falling over or walking through scenery or falling out amongst themselves.
The act closes with Marilyn questioning her own sanity.
INTERVAL (No curtain)
During the interval we see Maurice and his team erecting the set. There are obvious corners being cut with Maurice more interested in speed than efficiency. Although not scripted there is casual dialogue between Maurice and the team. Props are placed in the wrong locations and some of the scenery is incomplete.
Act 2 Scene 1: The Last Night Performance
The action takes place in Wintercourse Frequent Village Hall where the audience are present to watch the second act of the last night of the murder mystery. By now the actors should be free of their scripts and should know their stage directions. However, this being the Wintercourse Players, neither has been perfected. The MC is tipsy and the the prompt continues to be the most overworked member of the team. To add to the confusion, Maurice and Reggie’s lack of thoroughness with the set construction and the props lead to further unexpected problems.
Act 2 Scene 2: The Committee Meets Again
The final scene is set in the hall two weeks later. Jeremy and Marilyn have called a special meeting to discuss the success of the production.
Reverend Jeremy Tongue: Vicar of Wintercourse Frequent
Edna Tongue: Jeremy’s wife
Bunty Goodbody: The local Girl Guide Leader
Roger Darling: The local Scout Leader
Sharon King: A Yoga and Pilates Teacher
Gladys Gribble: WI Chairwoman
Major Peregrine Payne: Local JP
Marilyn Bedworthy: A young aspiring playwright
Maurice Sparks: A local electrician
Reggie Sparks: Maurice’s grandson
Leonard Mitchell: An aged faded actor
Dorothy Mitchell: Leonard’s wife, another aged faded actor
Barry Cooper: A villager recently arrived from the West Midlands
Marlene Cooper: Barry’s wife
William Potts: A young local tractor contractor
Benjamin Potts: William’s twin brother
Preview available here
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