Running time: 45 minutes approximately
ASTRID - aged 20+, the youngest, newest member of the Little Gissing Art Group
PAULINE - aged 50+, the secretary of the Little Gissing Art Group and organiser of the Annual Exhibition
OLIVIA - aged 40+, a weekend resident of Little Gissing and owner of a smart gallery in Hoxton
HARRIET - aged 50+, Pauline's old school friend from Godalming
Set in a typical English village - and easily staged with minimal props and scenery - ‘Rude Awakenings’ is a charming comedy which mixes both broad and subtle humour with truthful insights into the pain and pathos that can sometimes lie beneath the surface of village life.
A perfect one-act play for local drama groups, ‘Rude Awakenings’ has four strong and very different female parts: Pauline, the bossy but vulnerable local organiser of the Little Gissing Art Group; Astrid, Pauline’s apparently shy young lodger who in fact has a disreputable past and looks set to enjoy an adventurous future; Harriet, Pauline’s old school friend who disguises her wit, wisdom and personal tragedy by seeming much sillier than she is; and Olivia, the sophisticated owner of a London gallery, who has travelled the world and knows all about art but still has a great deal to discover about life.
Everything normally runs so smoothly at the Little Gissing Art Group’s ‘Annual Exhibition and Competition’ in the Village Hall but this year it’s all going wrong. There are mishaps, misunderstandings, all sorts of complications and some really very shocking revelations!
Olivia has been asked to judge the competition this year, and one of the paintings on display catches her eye. She recently moved to the village with her much younger male partner, but she lives in London during the week, leaving him behind, and, in the absence of the cat, that mouse is definitely able to play.
Astrid is a young woman with a lot of free time and has now discovered her artistic talent for capturing the male human form on canvas in a non-naturalistic way. She has entered a piece into the art competition, and when Olivia recognises the setting of the painting, the model becomes only too clear to her too. With Pauline fussing and chivvying, working and hoping for a stress-free event, and Harriet simultaneously providing a shoulder to cry on and being a comic foil, the prize-giving ceremony lurches inevitably towards a crisis for Olivia and success (in a number of ways) for Astrid.
First performed (as Cherry Blossom Screen) by West Meon Theatre on 17th June 2012
Also performed at the Nova Scotia, Bristol on 14th June 2015, Actors and Writers London on 25th January 2016, Brass Works Theatre, Warmley, Bristol 19th-23rd July 2016, Stroud Theatre Festival 10th-12th September 2016.
Performances by amateur theatre companies: Burdock Valley Players, Upper Clatford ~ The Guild Players, Finchley ~ Helens Bay Players, Bangor, Northern Ireland ~ Mercury Theatre, Wynnum, Queensland, Australia ~ Ugborough Dramatic Society, Ivybridge
“A perfect piece ... captivating, funny and really quite moving.”
♦ Script and details of performance rights from the publishers: