Coming Of Age
Due to the recent Sydney Lockdown and Covid Restrictions, Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble and Casula Performing Arts Centre regrettably announce that Coming of Age has been postponed to May 2022. Please contact Casula Performing Arts Centre regarding ticket purchases. Until then, Please stay safe and we will see you in the Theatre!
Audition bookings can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a drama of war. A world war that changed the course of history. A class war resulting in the death of old attitudes and standards. A war that emancipated a country too long tied to the apron-strings of a colonial ‘Mother England’. A war for women for their right to choose their destiny. A war that divided the country, though united it in the struggle in the search for freedom.
Coming of Age is an unconventional love story. We follow Jenny, the working-class daughter of a labour man from humble beginnings, and Peter, the progeny of new money as they fall in love. Together they come of age against the backdrop of WWII, facing challenges of rationing, conscription and mechanised warfare.
This historical drama watches two star-crossed lovers’ fight to be together against adversity of their class and circumstances. Written by LPAE’s own Tony Woollams, it asks us to consider how far we have come, and what have we to learn from the repetition of history.
PERFORMANCE DATES, VENUES & TIMES
May 2022 – Stay tuned for the dates!
CASULA POWERHOUSE ARTS CENTRE, 1 Powerhouse Rd, Casula NSW 2170
May 2022 – Stay tuned for the dates!
Auditions will be 15 mins in duration. Please arrive 10-15mins prior for preparation.
Auditions will require you to read a prepared scene
The full play can be found at Australia Plays Transform https://apt.org.au/script/ASC-2215
If required, call backs will be held on Tuesday and Thursday 29th Jun and 1st July 2021 – Mount Pritchard Cabramatta West Community Centre, 476 Cabramatta Road, Mt Pritchard NSW 2170.
Tuesday & Thursday evenings (as required) – 7.30pm to 10.30pm
Additional weekend rehearsals may be scheduled at the discretion of the Director, in consultation with the cast.
All mid-week rehearsals are to be held in Mount Pritchard Cabramatta West Community Centre, 476 Cabramatta Road Mount Pritchard NSW 2170.unless otherwise advised by the Director.
Rehearsals will commence on 6th July with a read-through of the play.
This is an unpaid community theatre production.
The season will be performed in Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
Each cast member must be a current member of Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble Inc. Membership is $20 and is required by the 2nd week of the rehearsal period.
Each cast member is required to pay a Production Fee. The Production Fee is $30 and is required by the 4th week of the rehearsal period.
Cast members will be required to attend any fundraising events that are held during the rehearsal period that are promoting the production.
The ‘Important Dates’ shown above are non-negotiable for all cast members. Your inability to attend any of the dates may affect your ability to be cast.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
PETER WILLIAMS: 14 – 17 year old but looks old. Son of well to do middle class parents. Attends a private school.
JAMES WILLIAMS: Peter’s father. Works in War Office. Home Guard member, Very stiff upper lip. Was an officer in WWI and was wounded in the right leg and walks with a slight limp
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS: Peter’s mother.
JENNY SNELDON: 16 – 21 year old. Lives with Pops. Works in munitions factory, ends up pregnant. She is of a mixed background, with dark hair and skin
POPS SNELDON: Jenny’s grandfather. Suspected town pacifist, ‘white feather’, because of his leftist leanings.
MAGGIE O’HALLORAN: Mid 40’s neighbour of Pops
MR. SMITH: One of Peter’s school teachers.
S. LEES (Sam): American soldier, black marketer who gets into a relationship with Jenny
HOSHIJIMA: Japanese Officer’s voice.
Age range: requires an actor to play a mature 14 – 17 year old but looks old. He is the son of well to do middle class parents who attends a private school. He is strong willed, opinionated, rebellious and impulsive.
Act 1 Scene xix (on-line script)
Jenny meets Pete at the station.
PETE: I’ve heard about you going out with yanks. Those over sexed overpaid…
JENNY: and over here. Yes. I’ve heard, but with things a girl likes. They treat you well; bring you flowers, cigarettes and silk stockings. I never knew what such stockings were like
PETE: They’re only after one thing you know.
JENNY: Well they won’t get it from me.
PETE: Well why are you going out with them?
JENNY: To show some friendship and support. They are our allies you know. We’re all in this together and they treat you with respect, not like Australian men.
PETE: I’ve always treated you well.
JENNY: I didn’t mean you, you’re different. … Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…
PETE: I’ve finished basic training. We’ve received our marching orders. We’re going to Singapore. Help prepare for the thrust up into New Guinea or somewhere. … Jenny… let’s get married.
JENNY: How? You know neither of our families would like it nor agree.
PETE: Let’s just go and do it. You know, sort of elope for the short while I’m on leave. Tell Pops you have to go to stay with a friend for a few days.
JENNY: I can’t. Pops is pretty unwell at the moment and with restrictions I can’t leave him as he has to have medication every day and I’ve asked Maggie, Mrs. O’Halloran, to look in on him too many times already just so I could work longer shifts.
PETE: Couldn’t you even get away for a night?
JENNY: Well … maybe one night. Do your parents know about this now … I mean have you been in touch with them … told them about you being in the army now? No. I see. Well, they can’t stop you; after all you’re old enough to volunteer now. I think you should tell them.
PETE: I’ll tell them if you come away and marry me.
JENNY: I want to but I want you to make up with your parents first
PETE: Good-o. I’ll tell them this evening. You know, I’ve thought a lot about you. I do love you.
JENNY: Oh Pete. … See you tonight then.
They embrace hesitantly and kiss
Peter’s father works in the War Office and is a Volunteer Defence Corp member (Home Guard), He is rather bigoted and very stiff upper lipped. He went to Royal Military College, Duntroon the Australian Army Officer training establishment founded in 1911 and was an officer in WWI. He was wounded in the right leg and walks with a slight limp.
Act 2 Scene xxi (on-line script)
James is feeling the loss of Pete. As he laments, his feelings of sadness devolve into a blaming of Jenny for the situation.
JAMES: Have you checked the Sydney Morning Herald yet?
ELIZABETH: (Off) What’s that?
JAMES: Have you checked the Sydney Morning Herald yet for…
ELIZABETH: Yes dear, I have. … There’s nothing.
JAMES: Hmmph… Well, I suppose that no news is good news. … I never thought I’d feel this way.
ELIZABETH: There’s no way anyone at your work can find out something . . . is there?
JAMES: No … no. I’m only a Major remember … but, I hear there’s even a blanket on the information that the top brass are told.
ELIZABETH: If only…
JAMES: I know. …I saw so many men suffer in the trenches … and even had to tell many families about their sons when I came back but … to be on the other side is… is…
ELIZABETH: I know dear, sometimes I wonder what… what it would have been like if-
JAMES: If he hadn’t joined up you mean?
ELIZABETH: Yes… all those ideas of Dun-
JAMES: Those ideas from that young girl
ELIZABETH: I didn’t mean that.
JAMES: Well, he certainly went off the rails after he met her.
ELIZABETH: That’s not fair…
JAMES: But it’s true.
ELIZABETH: I won’t have you saying things like that about our son.
JAMES: Well, the girl and her grandfather had some sort of influence over him.
ELIZABETH: That’s ridiculous. I don’t think he even met the man. He was… I mean has always been capable of making up his own mind about things.
JAMES: Well, I just don’t like that sort of people.
ELIZABETH: What sort of people?
JAMES: That type.
ELIZABETH: What type?
JAMES: They’re different.
JAMES: I mean, they spent a lot of time in the outback you know. She could have been anyone’s child.
ELIZABETH: I won’t listen to such talk. She will be the mother of our grandchild and… anyway her grandfather said that her mother was from England, that she had some Spanish blood on her side.
JAMES: That, I suppose, explains his son’s involvement in the Spanish war. It sounds a little fishy if you ask me.
ELIZABETH: That’s very unchristian for God’s sake. Where’s your compassion you stuffy old … Sometimes I wonder why I married you.
JAMES: Love wasn’t it.
ELIZABETH: Maybe we were too young.
JAMES: We thought we had to, anyway.
ELIZABETH: Don’t go bringing that up.
JAMES: Well, you started it.
ELIZABETH: They’re coming to tea anyway, no matter what you think, so be civil.
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS: Peter’s mother.
Act 1 Scene vii (on-line script)
Middle class mother, not working. She is a peace-keeper in the family who is able to accommodate what Peter does and deal with the outcome.
PETE: You hear that?
ELIZABETH: (Off stage) What dear?
PETE: Darwin’s been attacked. Prime Minister Curtin says ‘It must be obvious we have to suffer. We must face this test with fortitude and fight grimly and unflinchingly. Australian forces and civilians have conducted themselves with gallantry. Darwin has been bombed but not conquered.’ I’m going to find a way to do something to those Nips.
ELIZABETH: (Entering with a cup of tea) You’re still too young Peter. Now I been able to afford some real tea leaves so drink it up now, because they’re talking more rationing.
PETE: Mother, the war is on our doorstep. In less than two weeks they’ve taken New Guinea and are now wiping out Darwin.
ELIZABETH: All the more need to have good officers to deal with them. I know you didn’t want to be one in the cadet corp. at school but some time at Duntroon, when you’re old enough, will help.
PETE: Mother, when will you and Dad realise that I don’t want to do the army, like he did.
ELIZABETH: (Seeing Pete is agitated lets it ride and changes the subject) Have you seen much of that young girl you told us about? Jenny isn’t it?
PETE: Yeah. Jenny Sneldon . . . and she’s older than me.
ELIZABETH: Oh! Who she is? Is she still at school?
PETE: Come on mother. There’s a war on. Girls of 16 and 17 are out working, helping save our country and I’m still stuck in a stuffy old school. And yes, I am seeing a bit of her.
ELIZABETH: That’s right. I remember Prime Minister Curtin saying we needed to free up the men for the military. Still when things return to normal soon, after the war she can give up her job and get married which, no doubt, is what she wants to do. It’s not serious is it?
PETE: I don’t know mother, I really like her a lot.
ELIZABETH: Peter, you’re far too young to even think about girls and besides we don’t know anything about this girl’s family or background. You should be waiting until you’ve finished Duntroon and got yourself a solid career before even thinking about a young lady.
PETE: Here you are then mother. Biographical details for you approval: Jenny is 16, has no parents, is working in a hospital somewhere and lives with her grandfather, Pops Sneldon, some sort of white feather or something. I’m going to see Jenny. I’ll be back later, for more tea.
Age range: This role requires an actor to play a 16 – 21 year old. A role for actors with dark hair and complexion. She is of a mixed background and lives with her grandfather Pops as her mother died giving birth to her and her father was killed in the Spanish war. She begins the play as a nurse’s aide, ends up pregnant, and has a baby. She moves on to work in munitions factory and by the end of the war has a growing confidence in her ability to be an independent woman supporting herself but the men return from the war.
Act 2 Scene xxviii (on-line script)
Jenny gets ready to The Roosevelt nightclub in Kings Cross.
JENNY: Thanks ever so, Maggie.
MAGGIE: That’s all right luv. I’ll just put these things away. I got them with some extra coupons I was lucky enough to get a hold of. You want a decent cuppa?
JENNY: No thanks; don’t have time.
MAGGIE: What’s that racket?
JENNY: ‘Rum and coca cola’. Don’t you like it? It’s ever so popular.
MAGGIE: (Turning the radio off) This new music’ll be the death of me.
JENNY: Oh Maggie, you’re so old.
MAGGIE: Hmmph. Not that old. What’s the occasion?
JENNY: Just doing a bit for the war effort. (She pulls on some stockings)
MAGGIE: Where to this time?
JENNY: Same old place, The Roosevelt in the Cross.
MAGGIE: Oh. … I see. I suppose you’ll want those seams painted on again.
JENNY: These don’t need that Maggie. They’re the real thing.
MAGGIE: Oh, I see. Where’d they come from? Vera I suppose, doing some extra work no doubt to be able to afford them. You know, you could get into real trouble mixing with that girl. What with all her black-market shenanigans. They’re clamping down on that sort of behaviour you –
JENNY: They’re not from her actually, anyway you can’t talk. You supply half the street with all sorts of things.
MAGGIE: That’s different … and I pay for everything I get anyway.
JENNY: And you sell it for a profit.
MAGGIE: It’s just a reasonable increase to compensate me for my efforts. (Pause) I put it away for a special occasion or a rainy day. I don’t go waiting it on extravagances like clothes and going out on the town.
JENNY: You didn’t mind me going out before.
MAGGIE: Well, times have changed… and you have responsibilities now. (Pause) You should be saving your money now, not wasting it on such luxuries.
JENNY: I didn’t waste any of my money, I got these given to me…
MAGGIE: What! Who’s giving you such things? Not for…
JENNY: … services rendered. Certainly not, if that’s what you were meaning?
Jenny’s grandfather. He cares for his granddaughter. He is originally from Manchester in England and has a reputation of being a pacifist, ‘white feather’, because of his leftist leanings. He is extremely political and vocalises his opinions on the speeches made by politicians and news reports throughout the play. .
Act 1 Scene xvi (on-line script)
Pops enters from being out at a meeting. Jenny is cleaning.
POPS: Hello luv. What’s wrong? You seem a bit edgy.
JENNY: I’m a bit worried about Pete. He’s having a few problems with his parents. They want him to go into the army and be an officer.
POPS: Oh… and he doesn’t want to go into the army?
JENNY: No. He doesn’t want to be an officer,
POPS: … but he wants to fight? Bit of a warmonger is he?
JENNY: No. Just like most of us he feels he needs to do something
POPS: Well that’d be something I might have in common with the boy.
JENNY: He’s tired of his parents telling him he has to go to this place called Duntroon to be an officer. He just wants to be a Private.
POPS: He’ll get told to do a lot of things he’ll get tired of when he’s a Private. Why do his parents want him to be an officer?
JENNY: Well, I think his father, who works for the War Office, was one in the last war and they want him to . . .
POPS: … follow in his father’s footsteps. Bit of an antiquated idea in this war. Privates and officers alike get killed or taken prisoner before they can even say ‘All present and correct’. So what’s he going to do?
JENNY: Well, he just might go and enlist. He’s talked about it.
POPS: Is he old enough?
JENNY: He’s sixteen.
POPS: The boy’s hot-headed and mad. He should darn well listen to his parents. Maybe they have got more sense than him. At least they want a trained soldier to go and do the fighting and not someone told to go against their will by a turncoat politician.
JENNY: But he does want to go and fight.
POPS: Hot-headed hormones of youth. He should listen to his elders.
JENNY: How can you say such things about him? You haven’t even met him.
Jenny rushes out. Maggie arrives.
Mid 40’s neighbour of Pops who is acts as a sort of surrogate mother to Jenny. Like Elizabeth, she acts as a sort of peace maker between the two families.
Act 2 Scene xx (on-line script)
Jenny is pregnant and is now at home looking after Pops.
MAGGIE: Oh dear. Why did it have to happen this way? Hardly had a chance at being young; another mouth to feed with the father not around to support it and all.
JENNY: I hope you’re not suggesting I get rid of it.
MAGGIE: Of course not. I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.
JENNY: I’ve actually thought of it. Now I’m not working we are a bit short of money now.
MAGGIE: Thanks-be to God you didn’t go through with the thought. I feel sorry for those who do it though.
JENNY: I couldn’t Maggie, not after Vera told me about how she had walked in on a friend of hers in the bathroom. She had her leg up on the edge of the bath. There was blood everywhere. I’m not going to go and try doing that. I couldn’t bear it. Besides I am married. Not like a lot of those girls.
MAGGIE: Some of them are married you know. Does your young Pete know?
JENNY: How could he? Don’t know where they’ve sent him. Security and all that, I suppose it’s for the good of the country. Though, I have written to him. Anyway I keep busy so as not to get to worried. Maggie, have you noticed that Pops’ health has got a bit worse of late?
MAGGIE: Yes luv, I have. I’m a bit concerned. Have you got enough money for you both, I mean Pops too you know.
JENNY: I’m using what money I was able to save from working in the munitions factory, to get his medicine for him. Do have to go without the sugar and some fresh veggies, ‘though. Everything is so rationed. But we’ll manage somehow.
One of Peter’s school teachers. Who helps inform Peter of the is of the war and a bit of Australia’s ‘white Australia’ policy
Act 1 Scene v (on-line script)
James centre stage, standing upright and looking stern. Mr Smith enters.
MR SMITH: Excuse me. Can I help you?
JAMES: Do you work here?
MR SMITH: Yes. I am one of the teachers.
JAMES: Well I am looking for a teacher.
MR SMITH: Then I may be able to help.
JAMES: You look too young to be a teacher
MR SMITH: Well I am one.
JAMES: What subject do you teach?
MR SMITH: History and English.
JAMES: You might teach my son. What’s your name?
MR SMITH: Smith. Robert Smith. It’s possible that I might teach him. What’s his name?
JAMES: Williams. Peter Williams.
MR SMITH: Ah yes, I do. He’s a fine young boy: Big for his age, good at cricket but a bit of a dreamer in class. Smith’s the name.
JAMES: So you’re the great Mr Smith. He has talked about you. Taken quite a shine to you he has, Mr Smith this, Mr Smith that. . .
MR SMITH: We try to help where we . . .
JAMES: I don’t know what you’ve been teaching him but he’s got some hair brained idea about signing up.
MR SMITH: I don’t know where he got that from… unless it comes from him being in the school cadet corp but he’d be too young to enlist anyway.
JAMES: So you haven’t been filling him up with ideas about how good it is to fight for your country.
MR SMITH: That isn’t what the cadet corp does. I think the prospect of the war and the Japanese attacking us is horrendous…
JAMES: You’re not one of these pacifists are you?
MR SMITH: No I am not. In fact I am enlisting but that still doesn’t mean I agree with war and I certainly haven’t mentioned any of my values to any students, least of all your son. I mean, we’re not allowed to do that anyway.
JAMES: You’d better not have. I’m on the Board of Governors here and I can make it so you’ll never work in this school or any school anywhere.
S. LEES (Sam)
A charming womanizer American soldier with a wife and family back in the States. He black marketer who gets into a relationship with Jenny, gets her pregnant and does want to take responsibility for his actions.
Act 2 Scene xxxiv (on-line script)
Setting: On stairs at the station
SLEAZE: Your folks won’t like this.
JENNY: I know.
SLEAZE: So, why’d you want to see me?
JENNY: I just think they’ve got it wrong. You’re not married are you?
SLEAZE: Nope. They got that right all of it in fact.
JENNY: But why did you lie to me?
SLEAZE: Look. I’m married but we were separated before I joined up. So what did it matter?
JENNY: It matters to me… especially after what we did.
SLEAZE: Come on grow up a little honey. This world isn’t a fairy-tale anymore.
JENNY: I know that better than you think.
SLEAZE: So we had some fun. Let’s move on.
JENNY: It’s a bit more complicated now.
SLEAZE: What do you mean?
JENNY: I’m having a baby.
SLEAZE: And you’re saying it’s mine.
JENNY: Of course it’s yours. What sort of girl do you think I am?
SLEAZE: Well you never know, one kid already. You should be more careful.
JENNY: (Slapping Lees) You bastard.
Lees slaps Jenny back so she falls. This causes the baby to miscarry.