Romantic Comedy is a six character play by Bernard Slade which opened on Broadway in 1979 and is a very funny story about two playwrights in New York City.
Arrogant, self centered and sharp tongued Jason Carmichael, successful co-author of Broadway romantic comedies, is facing two momentous events: he is about to marry a society belle and his collaborator is retiring. Enter Phoebe Craddock, Vermont schoolteacher and budding playwright. Quicker than a flash, Jason acquires a talented and adoring collaborator in the mousy Phoebe. Fame and success are theirs for ten years and then Jason's world falls apart. His wife divorces him to go into politics and Phoebe, her love for Jason unrequited, marries a breezy journalist and moves to Paris. Jason goes into professional, financial and physical decline as a newly chic Phoebe returns, solo and successful.
Available roles (Male)
JASON CARMICHAEL – (Age Range 30 – 45)
LEO JANOWITZ - (Age Range 30 – 45)
Available roles (Female)
PHOEBE CRADDOCK – (Age Range 25 – 35)
ALLISON ST. JAMES – (Age Range 25 – 35)
KATE MALLORY – (Age Range 25 – 35)
The role of Blanche Dailey has been cast.
The show will be directed by Terri Corigliano.
Please bring a current photo and acting resume.
Rehearsals will begin first week in June and performances are scheduled July 18th through July 21st at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook.
If you would like to request a specific audition time slot, or of you cannot make the audition and would like to read for a role, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk-ins are welcome!
We hope you can join us!
Please note: There are no children’s roles in this production.
The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center -- 300 Main Street -- Old Saybrook, CT
SIDES FOR AUDITIONS
Side One – Jason Carmichael and Phoebe Craddock
TIME: Ten Years Later. A November morning in 1976.
At Rise: JASON, now in his mid-forties, looking elegant in casual, expensive “work clothes,” is sitting on the sofa reading some loose typewritten pages. PHOEBE, now in her mid-thirties, wearing a shapeless, worn jogging suit and an old baseball cap, is sitting with a sewing basket beside her, patching the knees of a child’s jeans. JASON looks up from the pages, looks off into space, frowning.
JASON: (Vaguely.) It’s fine.
PHOEBE: Jason, I worked six hours rewriting that scene!
JASON: (Tosses the pages aside onto the coffee table.) I said it was fine.
PHOEBE: You always say that when you mean “okay,” “not good enough,” “less than wonderful.”
JASON: (Starts to pace. Frustrated.) It’s not the scene. The scene is fine. It’s the whole damn second act.
PHOEBE: So we’ll change it.
JASON: I don’t know, it seems like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic. (He looks at her; irritably.) Why do you wear that hat?
PHOEBE: It keeps my hair in place when I’m jogging.
JASON: It makes you look like ---
PHOEBE: Katharine Hepburn.
JASON: Yogi Berra.
PHOEBE: Yes, everyone says that. What we need is ---
JASON: A good rationale for him remaining faithful to his wife.
PHOEBE: All right. He loves her.
JASON: I mean something the audience will buy. (He sighs, shakes his head.) It used to be so much easier. You had a boy and a girl and then you took three acts to dream them into bed together.
PHOEBE: I still like that story.
JASON: I mean we must be insane! Half the world out there is doing obscene things to the other half and we’re writing a play about a man who is thinking of cheating on his wife.
PHOEBE: People still respond to Romantic Comedies, Jason. You just have to write them differently.
JASON: (Suddenly.) Tell me something. Why did they take the running boards off cars?
PHOEBE: I give up.
JASON: Why did they take the elegance out of everything? Everything used to be better. Food, trains, cars, newspapers, music, hotels, movies, clothes. Everything. (A beat.) Maybe it’s me. Maybe I was better.
PHOEBE: Are you depressed just because of the play?
JASON: (Looks at her.) Do you ever get the feeling that you are living out of your times?
PHOEBE: Yes – but then I always have. Until last Thursday I wanted to be Jane Austen.
(They are both lost in thought. PHOEBE with her clipboard in hand is absently wandering and making a sucking noise with her teeth.)
JASON: I really wish you wouldn’t do that.
PHOEBE: Do what?
JASON: Suck your teeth.
PHOEBE: I’m trying to think of a reason for the husband’s fidelity.
JASON: So am I, but your oral hygiene is not helping much.
(She nods thoughtfully and then suddenly falls to the floor onto her hands and goes into a series of vigorous push-ups. He absently gazes at her rear end going up and down. The double doors open and ALLISON enters. JASON looks up.)
JASON: Allison, can’t you see we’re working?
End of Side One – Phoebe and Jason
Side Two – Jason and Phoebe
BLANCHE: Phoebe’s back in town.
JASON: Who cares?
BLANCHE: They arrived three days ago. Leo managed to get himself assigned back here so Phoebe could publicize her book.
JASON: How is she?
BLANCHE: You can see for yourself. She’s due here any moment.
JASON: (Alarmed.) I don’t want to see her. I’m not ready for that yet.
BLANCHE: When will you be ready?
JASON: When I have three hits running on Broadway. (He picks up phone, holds up receiver.) Here – you better stop her.
JASON: (Impatiently) Because I don’t want her to see me like this with my hair in curlers wearing a cheap kimono! (Blanche hasn’t moved. He puts the receiver down on the desk and moves to get his raincoat.) Anyway, I have appointments all day.
BLANCHE: Will you take some advice from an old broad who loves you like a mother? (He looks at her.) When you see her, don’t put on airs. You’re much more appealing when you’re vulnerable.
(JASON grabs his raincoat and starts for the door but stops as PHOEBE enters. She is impeccably groomed and coiffured and looks absolutely stunning in a chic, designer suit. Her manner has also changed and she projects and image of confidence and sophistication. They look at one another for a long moment.)
PHOEBE: (Finally.) Hello, Jason.
JASON: Hello. (There is a pause. She looks around the room.)
PHOEBE: I see you have redecorated.
JASON: I see you have, too.
PHOEBE: Oh, I took off my glasses and let down my hair. Works every time. (She is looking at him, trying to hide her surprise at his appearance.)
JASON: I know. I look awful.
PHOEBE: (Easily.) I wouldn’t say that.
JASON: Neither would I, actually. Blanche said it.
PHOEBE: Well, look at him. His skin has an unhealthy pallor, his face is all rumpled and I’m sure his liver is the size of the Palladium.
JASON: Nothing left but to shoot me. (As BLANCHE heads for the door, panicky at being left alone with PHOEBE.) Where are you going?
BLANCHE: To make some coffee.
JASON: Oh sit down. You don’t even know your way to the kitchen.
BLANCH: It’s easy. I just keep walking until the floor gets hard and cold and if I look up and see a lot of white furniture, that’s it. (She exits. There is an awkward pause.)
JASON: How’s Leo?
PHOEBE: Fine. He’s out apartment hunting right now. (Beat.) You live alone?
JASON: All alone. (A small pause.)
PHOEBE: I’m sorry I walked out on you, Jason. I mean at that time – in the middle of a production.
JASON: It wouldn’t have made any difference if you’d stayed. Nothing could have helped that play. (Beat.) (He frowns.) And, since we’re on that subject, I said a lot of things in the heat of anger before you left that ---
PHOEBE: You don’t have to apologize for --
JASON: No, no – there’s something I said that’s really been bothering me and I’d like to retract it. It was stupid and childish and I should never have said it.
JASON: I never had my nose fixed.
PHOEBE: I know.
PHOEBE: It was out of character.
JASON: For me to have it done?
PHOEBE: No, for you to admit it.
JASON: (Gives her a wintry smile.) I’d forgotten what an excellent judge of character you were.
PHOEBE: Why are you nursing such a grudge?
JASON: (Turns to face her.) You’re asking that seriously?
PHOEBE: It’s rather important we clear the air.
PHOEBE: You’ll understand later. All right, I admit I left you at an inopportune time – but is that any reason to go into a childish sulk?
JASON: Childish? You turned my life upside down, you ruined my marriage!
PHOEBE: (Puzzled.) How did I ruin your marriage?
JASON: (Evasively) Look, I really don’t see any point in rehashing all this.
PHOEBE: In what way did I ruin your marriage?
JASON: All right! Do you know why Allison left me?
PHOEBE: She found out about you and Kate Mallory.
JASON: And how do you think that she found out? Why do you think she kept her nose to the scent like a Tennessee bloodhound?
PHOEBE: I have no idea.
JASON: Allison kept asking me why you’d walked out and wouldn’t accept any of the reasons I gave her. It was maddening. She said that for you to leave me I must have done something absolutely horrendous.
PHOEBE: Why did she think that?
JASON: Look – she was quite demented at the time – totally irrational – it made no sense at all.
PHOEBE: What didn’t?
JASON: She said that all the years that you and I were together you’d been in love with me.
PHOEBE: I was in love with you.
JASON: Well – now you can see why I bear you a certain animosity.
PHOEBE: No, I don’t.
JASON: For God’s sake, you might have had the decency to tell me!
PHOEBE: You were married. You know what a stickler for form you were.
JASON: (Uncomfortably.) Well, you certainly kept it hidden very well.
PHOEBE: (Calmly) Allison knew.
JASON: Yes – well, I don’t know how she sensed that.
PHOEBE: Maybe it was the way I hung on every word you said and started to perspire when you came within two feet of me.
JASON: I have that effect on a lot of people. Anyway, I resent being the last to know.
End of Side Two – Phoebe and Jason
Side Three – Allison St. James
Just prior to ALLISON’S entrance, PHOEBE is on the floor doing a series of vigorous push-ups – her signature way of trying to come up with new ideas for changes to her scripts. JASON is absently gazing at her rear end going up and down. The double doors open and ALLISON enters. She is 30 years old and wears a minimum of makeup with a simple hairstyle which, combined with her understated, tailored clothes, gives her the look of an attractive, capable businesswoman. JASON looks up.
JASON: Allison, can’t you see we’re working?
ALLISON: (Waving a report card in her hand.) I’m sorry, darling. I just had to tell Phoebe about Timmy’s report card. (ALLISON crosses to PHOEBE and hands her the report card.)
PHOEBE: Oh, this is marvelous! I knew he could do it!
ALLISON: Well, you’re the one who deserves the gold star. (To JASON) Do you realize how many hours she spent tutoring Timmy? Thanks, Phoebe.
JASON: Well – I like to keep my hand in. I’d better congratulate him. Where is he?
ALLISON: Outside – waiting to be congratulated.
PHOEBE: That’s my boy! (She exits. ALLISON watches her go out as JASON picks up the loose pages, studies them)
ALLISON: Sometimes I worry about her.
ALLISON: Oh, I don’t know. She doesn’t seem to have much of a life.
JASON: She’s one of the most successful writers in America and, since she’s easily the cheapest, she’s also one of the richest. (He goes back to studying the pages.) I should have her life.
ALLISON: (Curiously.) What does she do about sex?
JASON: (Looks up, surprised.) I have no idea.
ALLISON: Don’t you ever ask her?
JASON: Allison, we work in here – we don’t have pajama parties.
ALLISON: Oh, I know I hear a lot about the “anguish of creation” but I also hear a lot of laughter coming out of this room.
JASON: (Regards her with some surprise.) Are you jealous of Phoebe?
ALLISON: Yes, I suppose I am. I’m jealous of the on-going love affair you two have with the theater. (A small shrug.) It’s an obsession I can’t share.
JASON: I could say that about your career in politics.
ALLISON: Oh, I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. Anyway, I just think she should be married.
JASON: (Shrugs) That’s her choice.
ALLISON: Not really. She’s very influenced by you.
JASON: (Looks at her) I never interfere with Phoebe’s personal life.
ALLISON: Oh come on, Jason. When that nice older man from Florida was taking her out, you said, “In five years he’ll be walking around with his fly zipper not quite pulled up.” That killed that romance.
JASON: It was just a passing observation.
ALLISON: No, you always seem to come up with the perfect phrase to effectively eliminate anyone who gets even slightly interested in her.
JASON: What are you driving at Allison?
ALLISON: (Evenly.) Let her go, Jason.
JASON: Why are we talking about Phoebe?
ALLISON: Because it keeps us from talking about us, I suppose. (They are looking at each other as Phoebe enters)
End of Side Three – Allison
Side Four – Leo Janowitz
(The door opens and LEO JANOWITZ enters.)In his mid-30’s, has unruly hair, is dressed in a rumpled suit, and has a serious, reserved demeanor that almost masks a very dry sense of humor. His speech has the rough edges of the street and he tends to cut through to the core of things. He carries a small notebook and pencil.)
LEO: (without preamble-- checking notes.) I know you're busy but I just wanted to check some facts what year did you graduate from Yale?
JASON: Look, I prefer that you didn't mention I went to Yale.
LEO: Bad school?
JASON: I don't like anything published about my background that could cause people to pigeonhole me.
LEO: I don't get it.
PHOEBE: I think Jason means he would rather be judged by his work alone.
JASON: Have you seen any of my plays?
LEO: Nope. Read ‘em all.
JASON: (Waits for the compliment. There is only a pause.) Look, there's one thing you should know -- I'm not offended by flattery.
LEO: I don't know anything about the theater.
JASON: Then why were you given this piece to write?
LEO: It's a fill-in assignment until I can get back to my serious stuff.
PHOEBE: (Quickly) Leo just got back from two years in Russia.
JASON: You're an expert on Russia?
LEO: Yeah – well, I speak the lingo.
JASON: How many other “lingoes” do you speak?
LEO: A few.
JASON: You mind if I ask a question? (LEO shrugs.) I suspect that underneath that unkempt exterior you're an educated, civilized man. Why do you go to all that trouble to hide it with bad tailoring?
LEO: It’s no trouble.
JASON: (Moving to door.) Is that all?
LEO: Just one more thing. (Checking notebook.) What’s your biggest regret?
JASON: That Americans can’ be knighted.
LEO: Miss Craddock?
PHOEBE: (Crossing to him.) Yes? (LEO grabs her and kisses her.) Please let go, Leo – Jason could come back in.
LEO: So? He’s not your father.
PHOEBE: (Moving away.) Well, he is in a way.
PHOEBE: Every way. A writing collaboration is a very intimate relationship.
LEO: Yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask you about that.
PHOEBE: (Looks at him.) This for the article?
LEO: I’ve already written the article. I wanted an excuse to see you.
LEO: I have the hots for you.
PHOEBE: (Flustered) Yes – well, I’m sorry you caught us at such a busy time.
LEO: Is it just that you've never learned to accept a complement or do you really believe as a woman you’re the pits? Every time I get personal, you change the subject.
PHOEBE: I’m sorry. (Blushing.) I’m just not used to such – an overt response to my – girlish charms.
LEO: I want you to marry me, Phoebe.
PHOEBE: (Stares at him.) Are you serious?
LEO: Yes. (She stares at him blankly.) What’s the matter? Am I being too overt?
PHOEBE: (Sitting.) No, I – just need a moment to absorb this.
LEO: Okay. (He waits.) Absorbed it yet? (She manages a nod.) So about Jason. You been to bed with him?
PHOEBE: Why – why would you even think that?
LEO: I’m a pragmatist. You’re out of town together. It’s an old axiom – desire plus opportunity usually equals humpage. Am I being too personal?
PHOEBE: Yes – Yes you are.
LEO: There's a reason. I've been assigned to the Paris Bureau. I leave in five weeks and I want to take you with me. The point is, I can't stick around until the third act to see who gets the girl.
PHOEBE: I see.
LEO: So – you have sex together?
PHOEBE: Once. Well, not together.
LEO: (Finally.) That’s some trick.
PHOEBE: (Embarrassed) I mean it was once for me. None for Jason. He was drunk and passed out right in the middle.
LEO: In the middle?
PHOEBE: Well, if we’re going to be technical, a third of the way through. It could have been a quarter. I’m only guessing, of course – I mean I have no means of comparison – with Jason, that is. (She clears her throat.) When I woke up, he was gone.
LEO: Then what happened?
PHOEBE: That’s it.
LEO: You never discussed it?
PHOEBE: Jason obviously didn’t remember – or if he did – he didn’t want to.
LEO: Are you in love with him, Phoebe?
PHOEBE: I was.
LEO: And now?
PHOEBE: Now we just write plays together.
LEO: So will you marry me? (He hold up his hand.) Before you say anything you should know there are three answers.
LEO: “Yes” – “No” – or “Let’s talk about it some more.” (As she opens her mouth to speak.) But first – something to help you make up your mind. (Beat) I love you, Phoebe.
End of Side Four – Leo
Side Five – Kate Mallory
Phoebe, Blanche and Jason are all in the living room. KATE MALLORY enters from the dressing room. She is a soft pretty woman in her late 30’s with a deceptively gentle, feminine manner and sweet smile. She has absolutely no sense of humor. Blanche and Phoebe look at her in surprise. This surprise gradually changes to puzzlement, because although fully clothed, there is something slightly “off” about KATE’s appearance. We and they will realize that she is wearing her dress inside out. KATE never becomes aware of this.)
JASON: Uh – Kate and I decided that our differences were undermining the – uh, creative process, so I invited her over so we could discuss our problems frankly and arrive at a reasonable solution.
KATE: And, of course – as always happens when two human beings reach out to one another – it worked.
JASON: The point is, we discovered that we’re both after the same thing – the best possible production. We've just been coming at it from two different places.
KATE: (Notices PHOEBE peering at her in a dazed manner.) Is there something the matter?
PHOEBE: What? Uh, no.
KATE: I sense some bad vibes in the room.
BLANCHE: It’s probably the radiator.
JASON: Would you care for a drink?
KATE: No, thanks. I stopped four years ago when I woke up in a motel room with those four jockeys and the Vice President. (There is a pause.)
BLANCHE: (Finally.) Who were the jockeys? (The other three turn to look at her. She shrugs.) I’m not political.
KATE moves Downstage for her coat revealing a fairly large label on the back of her dress. Now even JASON is aware of the way that she is dressed.)
KATE: I can’t seem to find my coat. (She turns, notices the other three staring at her.) Why is everyone staring at me?
BLANCHE: (Finally.) Star quality?
JASON: (Picks up her coat, quickly moves to her, holds it up for her to put on.) Here’s your coat.
KATE: I’ll carry it, thanks. Should I call a cab or can someone give me a lift?
BLANCHE: My car’s outside. Where can I drop you?
KATE: At the park. I’ll walk the rest of the way.
BLANCHE: (Moves to get her coat. Just making conversation.) Are you enjoying your stay?
KATE: (With a sweet smile.) Oh, I just love New York. Every time I come here, I feel like going down on the whole city. (There is a moment’s embarrassed paused.)
BLANCHE: Well, you certainly have the weather for it. Your visit I mean. (A beat.)
KATE: I want you to know a beautiful thing happened this afternoon. Two human beings made contact. Now let's go to work! (KATE exits.)