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Lady Susan

    by Jane Austen, adapted by Kathryn Attwood


       

Synopsis

Comedic Drama Play Script: 'Lady Susan' by Kathryn AttwoodLady Susan Vernon, “four months a widow” and her unloved teenage daughter Frederica have been staying at Langford, home of her friends, the Manwarings. Whilst there, Lady Susan has managed to conduct an affair with Mr Manwaring as well as break up the relationship of his spinster sister, Maria, and the buffoonish, but wealthy baronet, Sir James Martin.

Obliged to leave Langford and with nowhere else to go, she accepts an invitation from her previously estranged brother-in-law, Charles Vernon, and his wife Catherine, to stay with them at their country home, Churchill, in Kent.  Frederica meanwhile is sent to boarding school until she agrees to marry the unattractive and much older Sir James for his money, thereby enabling her mother to marry for love.

Comedic Drama Play Script: 'Lady Susan' by Kathryn AttwoodBut Lady Susan’s cunningly constructed plans begin to go awry when Frederica runs away from school and Sir James turns up unexpectedly on the Churchill doorstep. With the help of her best friend Alicia, Lady Susan escapes to London, only to find herself resorting to hilariously desperate measures when her complicated love life begins to unravel.

The play is based on Jane Austen's early novel written in the mid-1790's that was never submitted for publication in her lifetime, only receiving that attention in 1871. This stage adaptation, unlike previous adaptations, uses the majority of the principal characters in the novel.


Characters

(6m, 6f)

Principals (4m, 4f)
  Lady Susan Vernon - the widow of Frederick Vernon
  Frederica Vernon - daughter of Lady Susan
  Charles Vernon - brother of the late Frederick Vernon
  Catherine Vernon (nee de Courcy) - wife of Charles Vernon
  Reginald de Courcy - Brother of Catherine Vernon
  Sir James Martin - a foolish baronet
  Manwaring - lover of Lady Susan
  Alicia Johnston - best friend of Lady Susan

Support (2m, 2f)
  Maria Manwaring - spinster sister of Manwaring
  Wilson - butler at ‘Churchill’
  Lionel Walters - manservant to the Johnstons
  Eliza - maid at Lady Susan’s London lodgings
 
  Footmen - non-speaking (also providing an offstage voice for Mr Johnson)


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