The River, by Jez Butterworth
Sunday 9th June, 7pm
Director: Paul Morley
Production Dates: 8th - 12th October
Rehearsals: 27th August - 7th October
For more information and audition pieces, please contact Paul on email@example.com
Jez Butterworth is one of our outstanding contemporary playwrights (The Ferryman, Mojo, Jerusalem) and his plays are thought-provoking, sometimes difficult to deconstruct and disturbing; but often contain plenty of humour too.
The River is no exception. Ostensibly it is about a character called just The Man, who has brought his new girlfriend (The Woman) to a cabin above a river, to see whether she will share his passion for trout fishing. The surprise comes at the start of the second scene, which appears to follow naturally from the first until his companion enters and is someone quite different (The Other Woman). From there the two women play alternate scenes, and the play’s dynamism comes from the contrast between them, mystery of their interchangeability and the eerie stories they share with one another.
The Man is onstage for the whole play and at first he is a rather one-dimensional figure but as the play progresses, the character becomes more subtly nuanced. The Woman is more thoughtful than The Other Woman but also more submissive, and is accordingly dominated by The Man. By contrast, The Other Woman is flighty and self-assured and The Man handles her much more warily. Finally Another Woman enters on the last page of the play, possibly suggesting the repetitive nature of the Man’s behaviour.
The play offers no explanation for the swapping of the female characters so I’d like to explore with the cast the meaning behind this and the wider narrative, although it is likely an audience will still find it ambiguous and should be allowed to make up their own minds.
Issues of trust, sex, love, regret, fear, memory and longing are all explored- as well as trout fishing!
The Man Masculine air, but could be a front. A fisherman. Somewhat of a loner. Self-contained. Soul-searching. Insecure. On stage for the whole play. 25-45
The Woman Articulate, sarcastic and dry humour, thoughtful. (requires a short piece of singing but don’t let this put you off!). 25-45
The Other Woman Immature and carefree, cheeky humour, warm. 25-45
Another Woman Has two lines on final page. 25-45
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