From Paula Hawkins’ novel. Adapted by Rachel Wagstaff & Duncan Abel
Directed by Matthew van den Berg
How: email@example.com for a script (from Jan 18)
Appointments: firstname.lastname@example.org for an audition time (after Jan 18)
Rehearsals: from Sun, March 21. Sun, Tues and Thurs, 7-10pm
Season: May 8-29
Matthew has had a long association with community theatre as both director and actor, most recently directing Dolphin Theatre’s Deathtrap (2020) and appearing in HLT’s Neighbourhood Watch (2019). He works professionally where able and is a committed creative who cares deeply about live theatre, and the process of performance through collaborative and intuitive means.
Rachel has lost her job and marriage, and is an alcoholic. She rides the train every day, fixated on the trackside lives of ex-husband Tom, his new partner Anna and their baby, and their neighbours Scott and Megan Hipwell. She doesn’t know the Hipwells but sees them on the balcony from her train. Rachel has constructed imaginary names and perfect lives for them – the sort of life she wishes she could have had realised with Tom. Megan inexplicably goes missing shortly after Rachel spies her from the train kissing an unknown man. Rachel injects herself into the investigation believing she holds the clue to Megan’s disappearance. DI Gaskill becomes suspicious of her motives after she begins to show up at Scott’s house - also a suspect - pretending to be Megan’s friend. Megan’s therapist, Kamal, falls under suspicion. Rachel emerges as the strongest suspect, struggling to maintain her sobriety in order to recover important memories that will not only clear her name and solve Megan’s disappearance.
The play is set in England. There is no strong preference for prescribed accents so we are keen to see what you bring to the audition.
NB: Ages are broadly indicative. This play covers adult themes. There are intimacy and violent scenes that will be approached with your comfort and safety in mind. These extremes can make for great theatre but it does require your consent. Is this play right for you?
Rachel Watson (28-35): Her story drives the narrative. She is a mess. However, her character develops wonderfully in terms of redemption and actor’s craft and will best suit a hard-working actor with good emotional range. Obviously, it will be viewed as the trophy role, but please consider the depth of this play and remain open-minded about other possibilities.
Anna Watson (28-35): her depth is discovered through the piece as we find out she shares more in common with her antagonist than either could have imagined. There is great scope here to craft a complex character; the emotionally abused wife of a psychopath.
Megan (26-30): Megan is a deeply scarred woman with a terrible secret. Her backstory is harrowing, her “perfect life” far from reality and Rachel’s imaginings. She is damaged and needy, manifesting in complex, unhealthy relationships with men and ultimately her demise.
Tom Watson (28-35): Tom is a great guy, right? He finally got the thing he always wanted – a stable, loving wife who doesn’t drink herself to blackouts and can provide him with the family he wanted so much. Don’t be fooled though. He’s actually despicable beneath that veneer of concern. He’s no victim, but is great at creating them.
Scott Hipwell (28-35): He concludes any misplaced notions about perfect relationships in this play. Married to the younger, beautiful Megan, successful Scott also wants a baby that Megan seems unable to provide him. His paranoia and controlling behaviour sometimes become more sinister but outward appearances are everything.
Kamal Abdic (28-35): Megan’s therapist will clearly have his work cut out. The trusted, intuitive role of therapist soon becomes something far murkier and dangerous when he crosses the patient/practitioner intimacy line and becomes a suspect in her disappearance.
DI Gaskill (35-50): lead investigator into Megan’s disappearance. Needs somebody who can give a slightly off-beat performance (pun intended) played by either a man or woman.