The Country Wife

CountryWifePreparations for our Summer outdoor production of The Country Wife by William Wycherley are in hand.  The performance dates are 26th – 28th July outside the King’s Arms, Rotherfield and 2nd – 4th August at the Noah’s Ark in Lurgashall, West Sussex.

A help night will be held on Friday 27th April 2018 in the Rotherfield Village Hall at 7:30pm and auditions will take place on Sunday 29th April in the Rotherfield Memorial Institute at 1:30pm.


Director Kate Organ has given some background notes and synopsis of the play:

The Country Wife is a Restoration Comedy written in 1675 by William Wycherley.  Even at that time it was controversial for its sexual explicitness.  The play involves three plots: a rake’s trick of pretending impotent, thus allowing him to have clandestine affairs with married women; the arrival in London of an inexperienced young “country wife” who then discovers the “joys” of town life;  then there is a courtship love triangle showing the good natured side of society.

Because of the nature and language of the play it was kept off the stage and out of print for many years.  Between 1753 and 1924 it was considered too outrageous to perform.  However, there was a popular revival in the first half of the 20th century and it is now praised by critics for its sharp social satire looking at the dynamics of marriage, the power that men hold in society and the treatment of women.  This would seem relevant to today’s audiences.

This is very much a character driven piece, allowing every character the opportunity for satire, physical humour and fun.  In keeping with productions of the time, The Country Wife will be interspersed with 17th century songs, all of which add humour to the piece.

As well as the named parts, the production will also involve an ensemble of musicians, singers, street sellers and servants, who will be interwoven into the action and play a key role in setting the scene by mixing with and performing to the audience before the production.

There will be opportunities in the show for Junior members over the age of 11 years. However, because of the implications of touring to Lurgashall, only children with adult family members involved in the show can be considered

There are parts for seven men and seven women (minimum) plus an ensemble. For more information on the play, characters and auditions  or to simply register your interest, please contact Kate Organ at

Character Information




Playing Age

Mr Horner

A notorious London rake who, in order to gain sexual access to “respectable” women, spreads the rumour that venereal disease has rendered him impotent. Horner is the most insightful of all the “wits” in the play, often drawing out and commenting on the moral failings of others.
The most astute character in the play who ends up ‘having it all’


Mr Harcourt

A rakish friend of Horner, Harcourt meets Alithea early in the play, flirts with her in front of Sparkish, and soon falls in love with her.
One of the more sympathetic characters, his devotion to Alithea shows his basic good nature, and in the course of the play he is converted to a vision of marriage based on mutual love and esteem,


Mr Dorilant

A rakish friend of Horner and Harcourt who enjoys flirting with Lucy.
Is really something of a foil for Harcourt and Horner but has some wonderful ‘put downs’.

Any (According to Age of Lucy)

Sir Jasper Fidget

A man of ‘business’ who is happy to entrust his wife, Lady Fidget, to Horner’s company, on the theory that the presence of the supposed eunuch will keep her occupied and discourage the advances of other, more potent men. 
He makes endless and mindless jokes about Horner's alleged impotence.


Mr Sparkish

A fop who wrongly considers himself a wit, with very effected movement reflecting this.
He is engaged to Alithea but doesn’t actually love her leading him to be blind to her feelings, for example not getting jealous about Harcourt flirting with Alithea.
He only cares about himself, his appearance and his reputation as a wit.


Mr Pinchwife

Becomes a cuckold after pushing his naive wife away from him. He is a middle-aged man newly married to the country wife Margery. A rake before his marriage, he is now the archetypal jealous husband: he lives in fear of being cuckolded, not because he loves his wife but because he believes that he owns her. He is a latent tyrant, potentially violent.



The doctor whom Horner enlists to spread the rumour of his impotence helping facilitate a lot of the action of the play.



Horner’s servant who tries to help Horner by forewarning him who is coming to see him.  An opportunity for some physical comedy.



A variety of Servants, Street Sellers, Singers, Musicians and a Parson all of whom will be involved throughout the production as well as setting the scene and interacting with the audience prior to the start.





Playing Age

Lady Fidget

Married to the much older Sir Jasper, a society lady and leading member of ‘the virtuous gang’.  A hypocrite who promotes virtuous / honourable behaviour but privately sleeps around, soon availing herself of Horner’s charms.
Must move and behave in such a way as to reflect the manners of the era.

40 – 50

Mrs Squeamish

Old Lady Squeamish’s grand-daughter and youngest member of the virtuous gang with similar behaviours and manners as Lady Fidget.
Secretly a conquest of Horner’s.
Must move and behave in such a way as to reflect the manners of the era.

30 - 40

Mrs Dainty Fidget

Sir Jasper’s unmarried sister.
Part of the virtuous gang with similar behaviours and manners as Lady Fidget.
Secretly a conquest of Horner’s
Must move and behave in such a way as to reflect the manners of the era.

40 - 50


Mr Pinchwife’s younger sister she is one of the only sympathetic characters in the play. 
She wants to marry for love but is already betrothed to Mr Sparkish and is determined to honour her promise.

20 - 30

Margery Pinchwife

‘The Country Wife’
Young and naïve she has recently married Mr Pinchwife and has subsequently moved to London to attend Alithea’s wedding, but knows nothing of London life.
Falls for the charms of Mr Horner the result of which leads to her becoming more determined and strong willed.

18 - 25

Old Lady Squeamish

Mrs Squeamish’s grandmother who strives in vain to preserve her granddaughter’s purity. A lovely comedy role.

Very elderly


Alithea’s clever and resourceful maid. She is sceptical of her mistress’s plans to marry Mr Sparkish, and she is pivotal in coming up with schemes to encourage a match between Alithea and  Harcourt and to help Margery escape from Mr Pinchwife.

Any (according to age of Dorilant)


A variety of Servants, Street Sellers, Wenches, Singers and Musicians all of whom will be involved throughout the production as well as setting the scene and interacting with the audience prior to the start.


N.b. There will be opportunities for under 18s in the ensemble as well as for the part of Horner’s servant.  However, due to the implications of touring and staying at Lurgashall only children who have adult family members involved in the production will be considered.

Audition pieces and audition form:

There will also be a singing audition, the specifics of which will vary according to the characters being audition for (eg. Anyone auditioning to be one of the singing group or Lady Fidget, Mrs Squeamish or Dainty Fidget need to be good singers) but more information on this will be provided at the help night.

Alithea, Harcourt and Sparkish

Horner's Servant (Boy)

Horner, Harcourt, Sparkish and Dorilant

Lady Fidget, Dainty and Mrs Squeamish

Lucy and Alithea

Margery, Alithea and Pinchwife

Pinchwife and Margery

Quack and Horner

Sir Jasper, Old Lady Squeamish and Mrs Squeamish

Audition Form

it would be great to get some of these back before the help night as that will help with the auditions.

TCW Audition Form 2018

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