THE BODY:  Mark Breach is directing The Body for our spring production April 27 – 30.

Launch night – Excerpts, drinks and nibbles

TUESDAY 30th NOVEMBER, 7.30pm, Gweek Village Hall


Thurs 2 & Tues 7 DECEMBER, 7.30pm, Gweek Village Hall 

Two rivals in a north Cornish parish separately discover a dead body while cockling under The Old Iron Bridge. But they’re not the only ones to claim possession: the Rector wants to bury it, the policeman wants to arrest it, and the Americans from the air base …….oh, the Americans! But what is their real interest? Written by Cornish author Nick Darke, the play has been described as “‘Under Milk Wood’ meets ‘Dr Strangelove.’” Elements of both are combined by Nick Darke’s extraordinary writing skills. 

There are 15 speaking parts, a couple of non-speaking, wide range of ages and a fair gender balance. 

The Body – brief character descriptions words/lines 

Age means playing age, not actual age. 

In the parish: 

3 Farmers  Could be male and/or female. 1228 / 57 

Farmers of the Parish. A ‘Greek Chorus’. They observe and interpret the action and occasionally interact with other characters. See their world in terms of the parish. Age whatever. 

Kenneth / Bud  Male 740 / 70 

As Kenneth, a plain English farmer. Slovenly.  Round shouldered to denote passivity, impressionable, vague. Not too bright. When transformed to Bud, a novice American GI. Age 25+ 

Grace  Female 920 / 85 

A farmer’s wife. Long suffering. Fond of her husband because he’s there, but no great passion. Needs to manage him. Worries about what others may think of them. Age 20+ 

Alice  Female 1057 / 111 

A young woman of the parish. Strong willed, can be a bit rough.  Ingratiating, nosey, a flatterer, manipulative, quick to pass responsibility. Argumentative. Age 18-30. 

Mrs May  Female 1938 / 180 

Thinks herself as a pillar of the community but lives in rundown farm cottage. Vain and strong willed. Short-tempered when ignored. Scheming and egotistical. Can’t keep a secret. Stuck in domestic routine. Age 60+.

Archie Gross  Male 1753 / 106 

Farmer. Rival to Mrs May in thinking himself as a leader in the community. Sees himself as a respected member of the community. Proud, scheming and egotistical. Has history as a thief.  Age 45+.

Gilbert  Male 1829 / 196 

Parish policeman. Probably overweight. Dismissive of the needs of others. Most comfortable in his uniform; it gives him authority, he thinks. Still lives at home with his mother and brother. Age 29 

Rector Could be male or female. 1015 / 63 

Disillusioned by absence of religion or support in his/her flock. Is (s)he a Chinese communist spy, or is that just scat? Takes a moral view of his duty. Tired of being what (s)he is, seeks a change in life. Chinese cassock with dragons on, and pointed hat, throughout. Age 40+ maybe. 

Manny Cockle  (probably on pre-recorded video/back projection)  Could be male or female. 

‘An extraordinarily greasy prig of a classic macho mould’. No discernible accent but croons in a syrupy, sly, smiley way, calculated to make sensible women cringe and men jealous. No speaking lines but sings three songs. Age whatever. 

Stanly  Male 367 / 53 

Put upon, but stands up for himself. Driven by simple routine. An unassuming practical man. No demonstrable emotion. Always sleeps through hsir favourite tv programme. Wears a gas mask to protect himself from the smell of the Body. Age 60+ 

Mavis Rickard  Female 

Very tarty. Walt’s lust interest. Likes anything in trousers. No lines, just looks. Age: just young enough to get away with it. One scene only. Could be played by Stage Manager perhaps. 

The Americans: 

The Body  Male 1066 / 16 

An enigmatic character. Has died – of boredom, but now he feels ‘like a new-born child’. Atheist. An eminence grise. An invisible facilitator. In life he was a highly-tuned killing machine, prepared to die protecting the free world from the onslaught of Communism. Age 20-40 

Walt  Male 2972 / 202 

A manipulator, a manager, a schemer, an organiser a philosopher on the nature of ‘future intelligence’. A sycophant. Quick witted. He nearly controls the Lieutenant. Speaks quickly. Age 40+ 

Lieutenant  Male 3193 / 222 

As the officer he is in charge, theoretically, but is vulnerable to having his ego and ambition manipulated by Walt. Probably promoted above his ability. Easily persuaded to be ambitious. Not as bright as he thinks he is. His ideas are ill conceived and off the wall. Becomes psychotic. Driven by the Small Units Tactics Manual.  Age 20-40.

Al  Male, but could be female. 552 / 55 

An indoctrinated marine GI. Obedient but not too bright. Channels his/her aggression through Space Invaders. Can be flattered by the Lieutenant. No qualms about murder. A psychopath.