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Sun 13 Mar 2016, 1:00pm–6:00pm

Where: Napier Little Theatre, 76 McGrath St, Napier

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Theatreworld

"Eugenia" is written by New Zealand Playwright, Lorae Parry and is Inspired by the book “Eugenia” by Suzanne Falkiner. This drama moves from the past to the present in presenting a view of the life of Eugenia Falleni who dressed and lived as a man and was accused of murdering his wife in Sydney in 1920.

The Director is Anne Corney.

The play is set in Wellington in 1916 and 2016. The play is not a musical but involves music and dance.

Who Was Eugenia Falleni?
In her early teens Eugenia began to live and dress as a man. She worked as a cabin boy on a ship bound for Sydney, during which time she was raped by the ship’s Captain and subsequently became pregnant.

Calling herself Harry Crawford, she had a daughter (Josephine) who was raised by foster parents. As Harry, Eugenia worked at numerous places and in numerous capacities and married Annie Birkett.

In 1917, after four years of marriage, Annie reportedly learned of Harry’s concealed gender and subsequently went missing. Annie’s body was found, three years later, battered and burned and Eugenia was subsequently charged with her violent murder. During the three years Annie went missed, Eugenia married a second time.

After a sensational trial (“the man-woman” case) Eugenia was sentenced to death. On appeal her sentence was commuted to life with hard labour and she served 11 years at the State Reformatory for Women, Long Bay, Sydney.

Eugenia died in 1938, aged 59, from injuries sustained when she accidentally stepped in front of a car.

This is a fabulously challenging play and has some fabulous roles for women. The actors can be any age. The following is a list of the characters:

1916 Eugenia (an Italian woman who lives as a man, Jack Martelli)
2016 Georgina Matheson (Deputy High School Principal)

1916 Violet Donovan (an Irish housekeeper)
2016 Iris Robinson (High School Drama Teacher)

1916 Rosa Bassani (an Italian landlady)
2016 Lily Thompson (High School student)

1916 Ruby Baker (a Cockney boarder)
2016 Victoria Stevens (High School student)

1916 Vincent Duggan (a Cockney. Violet’s ex-lover)
2016 Cooper (High School Principal)

1916 Pub Joe (a Cockney boarder)
Finn (a brick-hill foreman)
Wallace (a Detective)
2016 Murray (High School student)

Eugenia Falleni aka Harry Crawford was 5’ 4” and is described as good looking with dark brown hair precisely parted on the left, small but strong body, charming.

Annie Birkett, Harry’s first wife, and who is characterised by Violet Donovan was 5’ 7”, slim, kind and gentle.

Anne would, therefore, like to Eugenia to be shorter than Violet.

Music / Singing:
Everyone will be required to sing “Bella Ciao” either in English or Italian.

One or both men are required to play two verses of “Bella Ciao” on the guitar.

Eugenia is required to play one verse of “Bella Ciao” on the mandolin.

Everyone will be given a phrase of the Tarantella to dance.

Actors auditioning for the role of Victoria should prepare a 60 second dance routine - any style, any routine, any music.

Anne is looking for actors who can hold a tune and move well, or singers who can act and move well or dancers who can hold a tune and act.

Production Dates are from Wednesday, 15th June to Saturday, 25th June, with a matinee performance on Sunday, 19th June.

An audition appointment will be required as actors will audition in groups of three or four.

For more information, an audition appointment and a copy of the script, please contact Anne at:

Phone: 843-9197 (home)
Mobile: (021) 0237-6397