By Jez Butterworth
Directed by Emma Northcott
I am extremely excited at the prospect of producing this play for the Studio. ‘The River’, by Jez Butterworth is a spellbinding short play, strange, eerie and tense. The story takes place in an isolated cabin where the main character has brought his new girlfriend for a romantic fishing trip. He has an air of rugged masculinity that conceals a profound sadness, insecurity and sense of loss. The girlfriend is more of an enigma….
This short play is a study of new relationships. What happens when people, getting to know one another are left alone. Issues of trust, sex, love, regret, fear, longing are all explored.
It’s only a fifty minute piece, which I’d run without a break. The Man is on stage nearly all of the time. The Woman (and yes, that is what they are called in the script) is on and off. There is an Other Woman who is on for about forty percent of the time and finally Another Woman who is introduced on the last page. Why different women come & go is never explained. Although I’d like to explore with the cast various possible theories for this I’d like for the narrative to remain ambiguous. I like the thought of the audience leaving (nice & early) to discuss amongst themselves what they think they’ve seen, a ghost story, gothic thriller or parable.
The playing ages of these characters could be quite flexible, as long as the relationship between the man and each of the (three) women look plausible. Optimum playing age would be 25 – 35 for all characters, but adding another 25 or so years to everyone could work equally well. I imagine them all to be smart professional individuals, new to one another and taking a weekend trip as a break from their everyday routine.
Reading copies are available from outside the box office, with a sign out sheet, so please feel free to borrow a copy. However, please return your copy when you can so those waiting have a chance to have a read too. Thank you. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions .
I look forward to seeing you at the auditions.