Monthly Play Readings


The club holds monthly play readings on the first Wednesday of each month. This acts both as a way of introducing new plays to the members, of providing a club activity for members not currently actively involved in a production, and also as a social event for club members. The evenings are held at members houses, and the only requirement to take part is to turn up with enthusiasm (and a small contribution to the refreshments).




We aim to start reading at 8pm (because some of the plays are rather long), HOWEVER  if you arrive after this time it’s REALLY not a problem! Don’t be embarrassed, we all know that work/transport/parking can cause delays!


7 March- 7.45 for 8pm

Janet Middleton will lead us in reading

August: Osage County

Rue des Atrebates 27, 1040 Brussels


March will be a little bit different!  And I’m quite excited about it.  It’s a script I’d forgotten I had, and simply can’t remember buying!  August: Osage County is a Pulitzer Prize winning comedy drama.  Some of  you may have seen the film with Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts (order of listing Ed’s choice!).  Or even at the National Theatre in London.  It strikes me a a modern Tennessee Williams.  I’m trying to cut it, but so far it just seems too good!


A father disappears one night, and  his family and their secrets come home to roost.

The Introduction to the Play


The child comes home and the parent puts the hooks in him. The old man, or the woman, as the case may be, hasn’t got anything to say to the child. All he wants is to have that child sit in a chair for a couple of hours and then go off to bed under the same roof. It’s not love. I am not saying that there is not such a thing as love. I am merely pointing to something which is different from love but which sometimes goes by the name of love. It may well be that without this thing which I am talking about there would not be any love. But this thing in itself is not love. It is just something in the blood. It is a kind of blood greed, and it is the fate of a man. It is the thing which man has which distinguishes him from the happy brute creation. When you got born your father and mother lost something out of themselves, and they are going to bust a hame trying to get it back, and you are it. They know they can’t get it all back but they will get as big a chunk out of you as they can.  And the good old family reunion, with picnic dinner under the maples, is very much like diving into the octopus tank at the aquarium.  Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men




Beverly Weston:  The father of the Weston family, aged 69, an alcoholic and washed-up poet. His mysterious disappearance one evening causes the family’s reunion. The reasons for his disappearance are a major plot point that bring some of the family’s dark past painfully back into the light.

Violet Weston:  The mother of the Weston family, aged 65. Undergoing treatment for oral cancer, she is addicted to several prescription drugs, mostly depressants and narcotics. Despite her drug-induced episodes, she is sharp-tongued and shrewd; she is aware of the family’s many secrets and not hesitant to reveal them for her own benefit.

Barbara Fordham:  The oldest daughter of the Weston Family, age 46. Mother of Jean and wife of Bill, though they are currently separated. She is a college professor in Boulder, Colorado. She wants to save her marriage, but has the intense need to control everything around her as it falls apart.

Ivy Weston:  The middle daughter of the Weston family, age 44. The only daughter to stay in Oklahoma, she works as a librarian at the local college, and her calm and patient exterior hides a passionate woman who is gradually growing cynical.

Karen Weston:  The youngest daughter in the Weston family, age 40. She is newly engaged to Steve, whom she considers the “perfect man”, and lives with him in Florida, planning to marry him soon. Karen can talk of little else but her own happiness.

Bill Fordham:  Barbara’s estranged husband and Jean’s father, age 49. A college professor, he has left his wife for a younger woman named Cindy, one of his students, but wants to be there for his family. His marriage is disintegrating and his patience is slowly running thin.

Jean Fordham:  Bill and Barbara’s smart-tongued 14-year-old daughter. She smokes pot and cigarettes, is a vegetarian, loves old movies, and is bitter about her parents’ split.

Steve Heidebrecht:  Karen’s fiancé, age 50. A businessman in Florida (whose business, it is hinted, centers around the Middle East and may be less than legitimate).

Mattie Fae Aiken:  Violet’s sister, Charlie’s wife and Little Charles’ mother, age 57. Just as jaded as her sister, Mattie Fae constantly belittles her son and antagonizes her husband.

Charlie Aiken:  Husband of Mattie Fae and father of Little Charles, age 60. Charlie, a genial man, was a lifelong friend of Beverly. He struggles to get Mattie Fae to respect Little Charles.

“Little” Charles Aiken:  Son of Mattie Fae and Charlie, 37 years old. Unemployed and clumsy, his mother calls him a “screw-up”, which may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Johnna Monevata:  A Cheyenne Indian woman, age 26, whom Beverly hires as a live-in housekeeper shortly before he disappears. Violet is prejudiced against her, but she wins over the other family members with her cooking skills, hard work, and empathy. Johnna is the silent witness to much of the mayhem in the house.

Sheriff Deon Gilbeau:  A high-school classmate and former boyfriend of Barbara’s, age 47.



Set Layout


This is quite important to get our heads around!


Ground Floor – or First Floor as in the American Way

Dining Room with archway to sitting room – Living Room – Study with arch to front door & stairs up


First Floor – 2nd in US

Landing with window seat and bedrooms off and stairs up


The Attic

A single bedroom


NB:  All the windows of the house have been covered and sealed to stop light coming into the house.





T.S.Elliot:  Famous for his bleak, deep poetry. And Cats.

Hart Crane:  Great admirer of TSE, writer of deep difficult modernist poetry.

John Berryman:  Major 20th Century American poet, credited with inventing the Confessional school of poetry.

Eric Clapton!  Yes. Really.



T.S. Elliot:  The  Hollow Men V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.



Eric Clapton:  When You’re Gone


Like a shadow on my wall

you can make my neckskin crawl

and you don’t have to say or do a thing at all

to catch me when I fall

Like the bloom of dandelions

you send shivers down my spine

and I will never lose my faith when you’re mine

to me you are devine

When you’re gone

there’s a song to support me

when you’re here

you’re the song I hear

you bring music everywhere

Like an angel from above

you’re an undivided love

and when I close my eyes it’s you I’m thinking of

peace you bring, little dove

When you’re gone

there’s a song to support me

when you’re here

you’re the song I hear

you bring music everywhere

And the stars form constellations in your eyes

maybe that’s why it’s so hard to say goodbye

and your precence makes me more than flesh and bone

but when you slip away my inside turns to stone

when you’re here

you’re a song my dear

you bring music everywhere




If you wish to join us please sign up on the Doodle: or email Janet at


For those of you who are new to the play reading group, we meet at 7.45pm aiming to start reading at 8.  We have drinks and nibbles, and a small contribution in the form of a bottle or something to eat is always welcome!

Every month Janet emails a reminder to people who have attended in the past and wish to be on the mailing list for these reminders.  If you would like to be added to the ECC Play Reading Email List, please email Janet. 

How to Doodle:  All you have to do is click on the link above, add your name to the list under ‘Table View’, click in the box to show you are coming (or do nothing if you’re not!) and then ‘Save’ your entry.  If you have any problem with this, please do not hesitate to contact Janet.