THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble

Presented by Mordialloc Theatre Company
Directed by Claire Abagia


“…[The Effect is a] funny and heartbreaking play…a knotty drama, dealing with scientific objectivity, guilt, the mysteries of the human heart and brain and what makes us who we are, wrapped up in a deceptively simple and constantly entertaining package.” —Guardian (UK). 

The Effect is set during a clinical trial where paid volunteers test new pharmaceutical drugs in hopes of finding a cure for depression. Under the supervision of Dr. Lorna James, two patients, Connie and Tristan, are tested in more ways than one. Their attraction to each other becomes increasingly passionate and out of control as the dosage of the drug gets higher. The question is whether the growing intensity between the two is a side effect of the drug or real. Throughout the trial, opposing views within the medical profession are presented through Dr. James, the physician in charge, and the Pharma company doctor Toby Sealey. The sudden and illicit romance between Connie and Tristan forces the supervising doctors to face off over the ethical consequences of their work.


Connie (mid to late 20s)
An inquisitive, mildly depressive, psychology student. Connie believes that love is a construction of the mind. She believes love is rational, practical, circumstantial and comes and goes. This is also illustrated in Connie’s belief that it is the drug’s effect on the brain that is causing the feelings between her and Tristan. English accent required.

Tristan (mid 20s to early 30s)
A flirty and unrestrained straggler. Tristan believes that the heart controls love and his feelings. He believes that what he feels is part of his identity and cannot be created or fabricated by the brain. Irish accent required.

Dr. Lorna James (late 40s to mid 50s)
Resident psychiatrist for trial. Intense and strong in her view of the world as that of something honest and realistic Has suffered from depression in the past, which in part informs her belief that that depression is caused by external factors and therefore cannot be treated with drugs. English accent required.

Dr Toby Sealey (mid 40s to early 50s. Younger than Lorna).
A confident and driven man who is unjustifiably optimistic and deeply invested in the success of this clinical trial. A ladies’ man, smooth talker, manipulative. English accent required.


Sunday 2 October @ 4.00pm – 8.00pm
Monday 3 October @ 7.00pm – 9.30pm

Audition Venue: Factory 8, 417-419 Warrigal Road, Cheltenham
Please note: Auditions are by appointment only.

Audition pieces will be provided ahead of time. There is no requirement to memorise your audition pieces, but it will be expected that you have read the entire play and display a level of familiarity and understanding of your role.


Performance Venue: Shirley Burke Theatre, 64 Parkers Road, Parkdale
Season Dates: 17, 18, 19*, 23, 24, 25**, 26* February, 2, 3, 4 March

*Sunday matinee **Saturday matinee and evening 


Rehearsal Venue: Cheltenham Girl Guides Hall, 1 Glebe Avenue, Cheltenham 

Rehearsals will be Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm, and Sundays (time TBD). An initial read-through for all cast and crew will occur during the week beginning 23 October.

Rehearsals will begin Tuesday 8 November, with a break for Christmas between 23 December and 7 January. Rehearsals will resume on Sunday 8 January. 

Production week will include a rehearsal on Monday 13 February in addition to the regular Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday rehearsal schedule.

Successful cast members must be available for the rehearsal period as well as all production dates. At the audition, auditionees will be asked to advise of any rehearsal dates where they are unavailable. 

For enquiries or to make an audition time, please contact director Claire Abagia via email at


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