Australian arts jobs, news, industry commentary, career advice, reviews & data


What's On

Absent Friends

Author: Alan Ayckbourn

Director: Peter Roberts

Enquiries: 0407103613

Characters Summary: 2F(30-40)2M(30-40)1F(30) 1M(30)

Characters: CAST 

All characters (Save John/ Evelyn) are late 30’s to late 40’s with the characters of John, and especially Evelyn, somewhat younger than the others. 

Wife to Paul. A woman on the edge. Diana has a complete onstage emotional breakdown in the second act.

John's wife, a young mother. A different generation to Diana. She has recently had a brief ”thing” with Paul, Diana’s husband.

Wife of the unseen and ill Gordon. Friends with Diana. Her desperate, unfulfilled desire for children has led her to make a child of her unseen, constantly ailing and seemingly helpless husband, Gordon.

A friend of Colin; Husband of Diana.

Friend and incompetent business partner of Paul. Cuckolded husband of Evelyn. He is all nervous energy and forever “busy” with various projects.

The reason for this party and the catalyst of the drama. He has recently lost his fiancé - Carol, the love of his life, in a dreadful accident.

Precast Characters: None

Audition Venue: Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre, Castella Street Lilydale

Theatre: Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre, Castella Street Lilydale

Company Email:

Company Website:


Diana has organised a tea party for Colin, an old friend of her husband Paul. Colin’s fiancé has recently drowned and the aim is to cheer him up with a gathering of old friends Paul, John and Gordon. Gordon is, typically, ill and his wife Marge turns up instead, while Paul and John are less than enthusiastic about the party. 

All this hides deep problems: Paul has had a brief affair with John’s wife Evelyn - who has brought her baby to the party; Marge is desperate for a child of her own and has transferred her maternal instincts on to an increasingly dependent and accident-prone Gordon; Diana is desperately unhappy, misses her children who are at boarding school and is bullied by Paul - who she suspects of having a major affair with Evelyn; John is aware of Evelyn’s affair, but is dependent on Paul in business. Both John and Paul are so uncomfortable with the idea of meeting Colin that they play down their friendship to the point of almost non-existence. 

The majority of this emerges before Colin has even arrived and just as matters threaten to erupt, the man himself turns up and everyone awkwardly tries to both be nice to him and to get on with each other. But all have seriously misjudged Colin, who is seriously happy. He is blissful in the memory of the time he spent with his fiancée; annoyingly happy in fact. His apparent satisfaction with his life, despite his loss, merely highlights the depths to which all those around have sunk and his hilarious ill-judged attempts to sort out their problems merely creates further rifts in the already damaged relationships of the other couples. 

Set very much in the early to mid-1970’s at a time of great social change including the changing roles and opportunities for women and the sexual revolution, this play is often referred to as the original “cringe comedy”. The guests try not to say the “wrong thing” around the bereaved Colin at the same time as trying, ultimately without success, to maintain their delicate veneer of civility. 

Other Information:

AUDITION INFORMATION -To book an audition email 

  • You will be asked to read two short scenes from the play with the director or another actor. 
  • Arrive in plenty of time before your allotted time so that you have time read through the scripts which will be available to you in the waiting area. 
  • Demonstrate a capacity to speak in a lower middle-class English accent. You don’t have to nail it on the day but show a capacity to develop it. 


Tuesday 21 November, 2017
Wednesday 22 November, 2017
Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre
Venue Address
Castella Street

Victoria, Melbourne