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Play Reading Social

5th January 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Happy Families by John Godber

I will be directing Happy Families at Davenham for performance from Tuesday 16 May to Saturday 20 May 2023. While the preceding Davenham production is itself in rehearsal, we will rehearse on some Friday evenings. After that show closes on 19 March, we will rehearse on Tuesdays and Wednesday evenings, with some weekend rehearsals in the build up to our opening night. Evening rehearsals will last from 7.30pm to 10.00pm.

There will be an informal reading of the play at the Theatre at 7.30pm on Thursday 5 January, followed by auditions on Thursday 9 February. If you want to audition, but cannot attend on the latter evening, please contact me at home (‘phone 01270 626215; email park50@hotmail.com), so that we can arrange to meet sometime the previous week. Copies of the script are available from  Secreatary Paulette Anderson. On donpolander@tisca;li.co.uk

Happy Families is a very funny play about family life in West Yorkshire over a period from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. The piece is autobiographical, and the characters and action are seen through the filter of ‘John’. Godber specifically describes the stage set as ‘quite definitely theatrical’ – and the same can be said of the performances required. The play demands stylised playing with rather ‘arch’ (and often quite rapid) delivery, with scenes often ending with the cast ‘freezing’ in stylised tableaux.


John                            The narrator, aging from 9 to 25

Dot                              John’s mum, sharp and bitter, aging from 40 to 54

Vic                               John’s dad, placid but eccentric, aging from 40 to 54

Liz                               Dot’s mum, sentimental, aging from 60 to 74

Jack                             Dot’s dad, aggressive and bitter, aging from 60 to 74

Doris                            Dot’s sister, ‘‘John’s mucky auntie’’, aging from 30 to 44

Edna                            Vic’s sister, ‘‘John’s posh auntie’’, aging from 40 to 54

Rebecca                      Edna’s daughter, ‘’John’s genius cousin’’, aging from 11 to 25. (Ideally, but not crucially, the actor should be able to play the clarinet!)

Lynn Sutton                 Neighbour’s daughter, aged 7.

Dot, John and Vic are on stage almost all the time, though not necessarily speaking. Jack and Liz are substantial roles, Doris and Edna less so. Rebecca is on stage for about a quarter of the play, and Lyn for two pages (if necessary, this part can be played by the actor playing Rebecca). Authentic West Yorkshire speech would be ideal for all characters; failing that, a generalised ‘northern accent’.


Jerry Park


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