I recently took part in another Next Best Thing production: Lady Susan by Jane Austen. This was very different from previous shows, a “rehearsed reading” rather than a full play (which meant that it took a lot less preparation); the novella consists of 41 letters between the seven main characters, and seven of us read these letters in sequence with some acting (and a limited amount of direct speech, which we had to learn). The production was part of Sheffield’s Off The Shelf literary festival, and was for one night only. I played Reginald de Courcey, the somewhat dashing younger brother of Lady Susan’s hosts, who starts off mocking Lady Susan as “a very distinguished flirt” before soon being reeled in by her flirtation and falling hopelessly for her.
It made an interesting and slightly less stressful change from previous acting roles. I only had two paragraphs to learn (makes a change from The Miser where I had about an hour’s worth of speech to memorise), and everything about the proceedings were much more laid back than usual (the fact that we were acting in a church – Saint Oswald’s on Abbeydale Road – also made a nice change from more formal theatre settings).
You can read Lady Susan in its entirety on this website.
Next up: Richard III!