The Ruffian on the Stairs by Joe Orton
Sunday 6th August, 7pm
Director: Joseph Bentley
Production dates: Thurs 19th October - Sat 21st October 2017
Rehearsals: From Sunday 3rd September (days and times tbc)
Mike and Joyce are a poor London couple living in a bedsit. Mike is a self-described "derelict", ex-boxer thug from Donegal, who—despite claiming the dole—has a sideline as a white van man, running people down for cash. Joyce is an ex-prostitute, from London. When Joyce is alone, a young man named Wilson arrives, asking for a room. During the conversation, he terrifies and threatens her, demanding to know where Mike's gun is. It becomes clear that he has been watching the flat for some time…
This year marks fifty years since Joe Orton was murdered by his lover, so it couldn't be more appropriate to stage his first play, which sadly mirrors so many aspects of his life. Unsettling and tragic, but darkly comedic, for three actors keen to explore exceptionally fascinating characters.
Joyce - On the surface, a simple-minded woman, but deeply distracted by her frequently uncontrollable emotions. An awful housewife, but slavishly resigned to her fate as such, deferring to those around her who more forcibly take control of her life. She at times seems to miss her past life as a prostitute, or is just hoping to arouse some love and warmth from Mike. She is terrified by Wilson, but comes to pity him and shows compassion when she tries to comfort him. A wonderful part with so much opportunity to explore conflicting motivations. Mid 30s to 50s
Mike - In a relationship with Joyce, who he lives with, and seems to have lost passion for, more emotionally aroused by jealousy and anger. He uses his Catholic values to justify his sexism, arrogance, and bigotry. He is dismissive of Joyce’s claims that Wilson is terrorising her, but his unmanageable jealousy comes to the fore when believes Joyce and Wilson have been sleeping together. Originally from Donegal, his Irish heritage is important in his encounters with Wilson, so an accent will be needed that is vaguely accurate to the region. Late 30s to 50s
Wilson - The bereaved younger brother, and lover, of Frank, who was Mike’s latest victim, and an old customer of Joyce. Wilson’s jealousy, grief, and passion drive him to seek revenge, and to end his life. He is deviously tenacious in pursuit of his goals, spending much of the play terrorising Joyce, while presenting an outward image of calm control. He is intelligent and exceptionally charming, using a projection of innocence to intimidate others, expertly manipulating them to support him in ultimately achieving his ambitions. Late teens to early 20s.