Blooming Violet by J.S. Jacklin
With the homeland under German fire and the mortal coil wound tight, the true story of Violet Macdonald is revealed. It tells of how this young woman from north east Yorkshire rises up from the strife of daily life, to find her way to a place that she never believed possible. Violet’s story is not so much about an extraordinary life, but of an ordinary, working-class, Yorkshire-woman experiencing extraordinary times from 1916-1952.
Keywords: WW1,WW2, The Depression, England, Growing up, Emigrating, Family, Yorkshire, U.K., Canada, romance, marriage, death
Genre: Historical, Biography
Run time: 110 minutes
Suitable for students 16+
Cast size: 4 actors
Male roles: 5
Female roles: 4
Other roles: 6
Casting notes: The 6 'other' roles comprise of 2 non-speaking roles (that can be played by one of the male actors). Additionally, 3 roles can be voice overs as opposed to physical actors. 1 role is a bartender who has no lines and can just be assumed to be present in the scene.
Most characters are from the northeast of England and thus, an accent is preferable. All 11 characters can be individually cast or divided (as stated below) with 4 actors. 2f & 2m
FEMALE (1): Agnes Wimpole – Violet’s mother (15-49 years of age)
Lettie – Violet’s best friend (20-28 years of age)
Voice of Mrs. Ashton – (mid-50’s) Does not appear on stage.
MALE (1): Ernie Ogden – Violet’s step-father (16-50 years of age)
Ken Lester – Ken Clarke’s best mate (22-25 years of age)
Purser /Vicar – (Non-speaking)
MALE (2): Rodney Macdonald – Violet’s birth father (21-25 years of age) Scottish accent
Ken Clarke – Violet’s husband (22-26 years of age)
Voice of Mr. Ashton – (mid-50’s) Character does not appear on stage
FEMALE (2): Violet Macdonald – (8-29 years of age)
Production notes: The action spans the years 1916 to 1952 in England, and follows the life and times of a young VIOLET MACDONALD who passed away at 86 years old on March 2, 2010.
The settings are minimalistic but purposeful in their representations of various locations, including: pubs, front rooms of row houses, bedroom, cow shed, army mess hall, exterior of a factory, ocean liner’s interior and deck, posh dining room, the seaside and the New York City port terminal.
Each scene should transition into the next, with little disruption – thus the importance of keeping set pieces to a minimum. Costumes and hair should be detailed to distinguish the changing times. Use of sound and lighting will optimize scene setting. Costume changes are most effective if transitioned on stage, to keep an uninterrupted flow.
The timelines & locations should be shared with the audience throughout – either by projection onto a rear screen or as simple as an easel with large placards that change with each transition.