The Mercy Seat - Reading and Audition Notice

Reading:    Sunday 6th December 2015, 6.00 pm (Yardley Room, Hampton Hill Theatre)

Audition:   Sunday 13th December  2015, 6.00 pm (Coward Suite, Hampton Hill Theatre)

Performance Dates:  Sunday 3rd April – Saturday 9th April 2016 (Coward Studio)


The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute

Director:  Michelle Hood


This is a two-hander to be performed in the studio and written by the award winning contemporary American writer Neil LaBute.

The Mercy Seat was the first major theatrical response to the September 11th 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre.  Set on the day after, the play concerns Ben, who works at the 'Twin Towers' but during the attack was away from the office staying in the flat of his mistress, Abby, who also happens to be Ben’s boss. Expecting that his family could believe he’s been killed in the towers' collapse, Ben contemplates using the tragedy to run away and start a new life with his lover.

The Mercy Seat premiered in New York in December 2002 starring Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver and was an immediate commercial and critical success.  It was subsequently produced in London at the Almeida in 2003 with Sinead Cusack.

The play is very edgy and hard hitting – it is an intelligent and thought-provoking drama but it also has a darker side – there are scenes of raunchy behaviour and much 'bad' language - such that the publicity will carry the TTC’s 'health warning' that this play contains explicit sexual references.

The play requires an almost non-stop output of high octane emotion. Sigourney Weaver said it was an emotionally draining experience and has been quoted as saying, 'It takes its's hard to be that rough to each other, it's hard to be those characters, and it's hard to be that rough to the world situation....but I must say, as well as shocking, the play’s also funny.'


  • Ben Harcourt:    male, late twenties/early thirties
  • Abby Prescott: female, mid forties

Abby, as Ben’s boss as well as his mistress, is a strong, confident and successful businesswoman.  Ben, some ten years younger, is more introspective and less decisive as he struggles with his inner turmoil.

I suppose it goes without saying that both parts require naturalistic acting – there’s a lot of line learning involved – and there’ll be a need for strong and sustained American accents. Most important will be to create believable chemistry between the two actors to make the drama powerful and compelling - uncomfortable yet fascinating.

If you would like more information or are interested in reading a script please contact the director, Michelle Hood.

Contact Details:  To get in touch with the director before the Reading/Audition, please use the Contact page of this website and your message will be forwarded.

NOTE:   We have an open casting policy:  anyone can audition for our productions and, if cast, will then be required to join as a Full Member. 


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