Our Country’s Good – Play and Character Synopsis

FEST announces Audition Call for Spring Production of Our Country’s Good!  Play and Character Synopsis here!

Play Synopsis
Setting: In and around Britain’s first penal colony in New South Wales – to become Sydney, Australia – 1788/89

To raise morale and counter the growing discontent engendered by harsh rationing, enforced labor and recent public hangings, Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark answers the call to mount a play in honor of the King’s birthday. He faces the wrath of his direct superior and battles with his own conflicting desires as he directs a mostly illiterate cast of convicts through an experience that will change them all.


Captain Arthur Phillip, RN – 50-60, intellectual, understanding, authoritative, naval commander, Governor of the colony

Major Robbie Ross, RM – 30-35, wrathful, power-obsessed, bitter, in charge of all marines, deputy to Captain Phillip

Capt. David Collins, RM – 30-35, logical, just, well read, the colony’s judge

Capt. Watkin Tench, RM – 27-33, educated, sarcastic, elitist, the colony’s journaler

Capt. Jemmy Campbell, RM – 37-43, pompous, moody, amused, second and sidekick to Ross

Rev. Richard Johnson – 30-60, true believer, anti-Papist, the colony’s spiritual guide

Lt. William Dawes, RM – 20-30, head in the clouds, the colony’s astronomer

Lt. George Johnston, RM – 20-30, ladies’ man, likeable, assistant to Captain Phillip

2nd Lt. Ralph Clark, RM – 27-33, obedient, uneasy around women, volunteers to direct the play within a play

2nd Lt. William Faddy, RM – 37-43, ideal military man, cocky, dislikes Clark

Midshipman Harry Brewer, RN – 47-53, superstitious, guilt-ridden, jealous, in charge of provisions and enforcement

Aboriginal Australian(s) – 18-40, curious, fearful, superstitious, observes colonists (preferably 2 black actors)

John Arscott – 18-23 m, convict, gullible, desperate to escape, uses play within play to forget his situation

Dabby Bryant – 20-40 f, convict, practical, critical of play, interprets dreams, longs to escape back to England

Black Caesar – 20-35 m, convict, pushy, voracious appetite for food and women

Ketch Freeman – 30-40 m, convict, outcast, horny, becomes colony hangman to save his own neck

Liz Morden – 25-45 f, convict, proud, downtrodden, speaks cant, refuses to betray fellow convicts even at risk to life

Duckling Smith – 18-30 f, convict, stubborn, sulky, hides behind facade, prostituted from young age

John Wisehammer – 18-25 m, convict, knowledgeable, proud, persecuted for being Jewish, loves words, wants to write

Mary Brenham – 18-23 f, convict, shy, romantic, naive, plays man in play within a play, falls in love with Ralph Clark

Meg Long – 30-60 f, convict, filthy, no sexual taboos, nicknamed Shitty Meg, uses plenty of sexual innuendo

Robert Sideway – 30-50 m, convict, child of streets, flamboyant, overacts, dreams of stardom

At auditions, we will be looking for actors for roles as described above. The age ranges given are guidelines but not restrictive. The officers will all be men, though they may be played by women who are willing. The play was originally conceived to be played by fewer actors taking on multiple roles. Depending on the turnout and interest level, you may be asked to play more than one of the smaller roles; however this will be a ‘last resort’. Please let us know if you play the drums, clapsticks or didgeridoo. Note: 2nd Lt. Ralph Clark is a large role, in half of the scenes of the play. Actors wishing to be considered for this role must be able learn their lines quickly and get off book early.