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The play works on the idea that the characters in the play are actually watching the audience, expecting them to perform. The playwright of the "play" is also in the audience. The comedy ensues as Frayn holds a mirror up to the audience and they see their our own foibles as audience members. The characters are Joan, an elderly woman who is in her sixties and not entirely focused on the play with her daughter, Helena, in her forties. Charles pays more attention to his companion than the play. His companion, Amanda, is terrified of seeing anyone she knows with Charles. Bobbie is an American lady in her fifties who is with her husband, Merrill, in his seventies and is also American. Quentin is a drama teacher who is with a drama student, Lee, who doesn't want to be there. Eileen, Reginald and Wendy are a family. Wendy does not want to be there but it is her birthday treat.
List of Characters
The Usherette — An Usherette who doesn't quite like her job and just tries to get it done with haste. Often makes mistakes.
Joan — An elderly woman taken to see a show by her daughter Helena. Gets distracted often is not entirely concentrating on the show. Notices a man in the Audience who looks very familiar.
Helena — A woman in her thirties or forties taking her mother Joan out to see a play. Is embarrassed when she realizes the play is very sexual. She is worried about her husband Christopher who is at the wildlife with his friend Charles.
Charles — A very suave man who is taking his girlfriend Amanda out on a date to the theater. His wife believes he is at his Wildlife with his friend Christopher.
Amanda — A very beautiful woman who is being taken on a date with her boyfriend Charles to the theatre while her husband is in Germany. Is constantly worried that someone she knows will see her on her affair with Charles.
Quentin — A man who enjoys going to the theatre and only came to see this show in order to see this one actor he adores. He later discovers that his favorite actor is replaced by an understudy.
Lee — Quentin's protégé, he is taking AP Drama and has to sit through a play with Quinton. He doesn't enjoy it until a teenage girl named Wendy arrives and grabs his attention.
Merrill — A senile old man that cannot help but fall asleep all the time. He often says random non-sequitur things.
Bobbie — Merrill's elderly wife who spends most of her time and energy keeping her husband in line.
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