Bette & Joan

by  Anton Burge, Anton Burge

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  2f

Once grande dames of Hollywood, by 1962 arch-rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were in danger of becoming has-beens. Then an opportunity came along; to appear together in a new movie called Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2f
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Biography
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Bette & Joan depicts the two stars, in adjacent dressing rooms, between takes on the set of Baby Jane. While Joan manages her anxiety by lacing her Pepsi with vodka and signing photographs for her beloved fans, Bette chain smokes and muses on her lovelife, and her ability to pick a decent script, never a decent man.

Behind the bitching and the practical jokes we see each woman's insecurities and regrets, and their rivalry is revealed to be underpinned by grudging respect as they attempt to identify their new roles in life as well as in their careers.
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Reviews

"Here we have a delicate game of oneup-womanship, in which bared teeth are hidden behind dissembling smiles and barbed insults fly in both directions. " - The Guardian

"...it is often tartly funny, and provides two fine actresses two juicy parts into which to sink their teeth." - The Telegraph

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Smoking Smoking

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1960s
  • Setting: Hollywood 1962
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

2f

BETTE DAVIS – Hollywood actress, 54. A star who has nothing to prove. Brisk, no nonsense,to the point of abruptness, caustic, brittle, difficult, vulnerable and funny. At the time of filming, a low point in her life and career. Has worked steadily through the ’50s, though often with unrewarding results. Angry at the state of the business and her position within it. A professional to her fingertips. Four times married, recently divorced, mother of three (two adopted). All that matters now is the work.

 

JOAN CRAWFORD – Hollywood star, admits to 54, though is actually 58; as an actress has much to prove. Glamorous, neurotic, moody, vulnerable, generous and alcoholic. Desperate for approval. Comfortable playing the star, though there is always an uncertainty about this, stemming from a childhood that lacked education and love, from which she struggled, reinventing herself, to survive in the toughest of businesses. Four times married, recently widowed, mother of four (all adopted). Throughout her life, in spite of adversity, the image of Joan Crawford, star, continues to shine.

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Cast Attributes

  • All Female

Resources

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Authors

Anton  Burge

Anton Burge

Anton Burge

Anton Burge

Bette & Joan was first performed at the Arts Theatre, London, starring Greta Sacchi and Anita Dobson in May 2011. This published edition has been rewritten since the original London production.

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