If you’re interested in auditioning for ‘Hobson’s’, I’ve cobbled together (Get it?) a few bits and pieces of information that you might find helpful.
Audition pieces for the individual characters can be obtained by clicking in the link
Hardly a prolific writer, Brighouse struck gold with this 1915 play. Performed in London, in the middle of the war, it addresses the shifting morays of the era perfectly.
Women were – in a bizarre way – liberated by the Great War. Pandora popped out of her box and she had no intention of ever getting back in it. The first knockings of real suffrage had been forced onto society as the cosy, settled, pre-war, forelock tugging world of old was disappearing forever.
Maggie Hobson is, according to Brighouse, thirty. In her father’s words she is, ‘Past the marrying age! You’re a proper old maid, Maggie, if ever there was one.’
Henry Hobson is right. Maggie is, or should be, like every other unattached woman of her age and times, past it. Her destiny is now settled. She’s a spinster. Dependent on her father for the roof over her head. In other words, an unpaid servant. A slave!!!
Or is she? Because, Maggie has got one powerful thing going for her; she is her father’s flesh and blood.
And that is the entire crux of the play. Two, powerful, stubborn characters will lock horns and only one can win. From the outset we know who the victor will be. The domestic, commercial and social order of Henry Hobson’s universe is going to get turned upside down. A bit like pre-war Europe, I suppose!!!
Maggie – a wonderful example of a woman’s drive for respect and independence, has decided to take her destiny into her own hands. She will outshine her father. His shop will pale compared to hers. But she needs a partner. It just so happens, that the best shoe maker in Salford is working right under her nose. Under her feet, in fact. In her father’s cellar, Willie Mossop is her secret weapon in the war to come. He may be socially awkward and appear to be a bit slow in the head but his hands and her brains will see them through.
‘Hobson’s Choice’ is all about Maggie and her father. At least that’s what they think… until a certain Mr Mossop puts his newly educated, well heeled foot down!!!
So, let’s take a peep at the wonderful satellite characters that orbit Maggie’s world…
ALICE HOBSON described as being 23. She is attractive and knows it.
VICKEY HOBSON described as 21 and is also very pretty.
(Both girls hate working in the shop. It’s boring and beneath them. They are not horrible or nasty creatures, just spoiled, immature, bored, flighty and fanciful.)
ALBERT PROSSER described as 26. Son of a solicitor. That makes him a real
‘Somebody!’ He is Alice’s beau.
MRS HEPWORTH an older lady. Wealthy, posh and curt.
TIMOTHY WADLOW (TUBBY) an elderly, sorely put upon foreman. Lives in dread of
JIM HEELER one of Henry’s sycophantic drinking pals.
ADA FIGGINS Poor Ada. She’s got her man and he’s a good ‘un, too! Then, out of
the blue, that Maggie Hobson snatches him away.
FRED BEANSTOCK is described as the respectable son of a respectable merchant.
Let’s face it, you can’t get more respectable than that!!! He
wishes to add Vickey into his respectable life.
DR MACFARLANE is a straight talking Scotsman. The kind of doctor that might be
tempted to give his more disagreeable patients a smack in the
HENRY HOBSON It would be so easy to overplay Henry. He is so large, so
pompous, so sure of himself and so determined that the
old order, his order shall continue.
WILLIE MOSSOP In many ways, Willie is as great a victim as Henry. He didn’t
ask to be dragged into the upstairs feud of the Hobson clan.
Having one’s world turned upside down comes as a bit of a
shock but Mossop slowly rises to the challenge and during
the play’s famous dénouement, (That’s a big word for me!)
Willie finally takes absolute control. They can all take it or
leave it! Like it or lump it!! He is the one that gives the
warring protagonists… ‘Hobson’s Choice!’
I can’t wait to revisit a play that I was involved in 35 years ago with Wakefield Little Theatre. I played Mossop to Gail Rogers’ Maggie. Eee, she scared me then… and still does!
Auditions will take place on Tuesday 28th August @ 7.30pm in The Lamproom Theatre
(I know, I know. Shep has given me one of his less gentle rollakins for leaving this notice until the last minute but holidays, grandchildren and mild alcoholism have interfered with my plans.)
Anyone who cannot make the audition but wishes to be considered for a part, please let me know and I’ll arrange an additional audition date.
Looking forward to seeing you.
My initial thoughts are, that we should rehearse a couple of nights each week during September and a step things up to three rehearsals per week during October.
Initially, I am hoping to rehearse Mondays and Wednesdays at the Drama Hut.
Naturally, this depends on cast availability and we’ll attempt to work around other commitments.