The Supermarket Sisterhood
Cast: 5 Female / 2 Male, (plus female extra’s)
Length: 2 Acts (110 minutes)
As if the daily skirmishes with farcical customers and the dim-witted men in their lives, wasn't enough, the women who operate the checkouts at the Discount Co supermarket are now facing a new boss and the prospect of losing their jobs due to newly installed automated checkout aisles. If the women are going to endure these challenges they're going to have to fight together and take things to a whole new level. Hilarious, madcap humor to tickle your funnybone and stir your heart.
The play is set at the checkout counters at the DiscountCo, a small suburban supermarket that has seen better days.
Barbara: Aged in her early 60’s, Barbara has been at DiscountCo for her entire working life. A mother to now grown up children, she divorced a long, long time ago. Barbara’s life has not been an easy one, and as a result, she has developed a hard shell. Barbara is resistant to change and has found some comfort in the routine of the life she leads. Holds a flame for Mr. Everson, but, due to her past, she is wary of complicating her predictable life with a relationship.
Michelle: Can be played as late 20’s through to early 40’s. Michelle took time out from her University studies and never returned to them. Her threats of going back to University have become less and less convincing with each passing year. Michelle tends towards being highly-strung and susceptible to anxiety. Engaged to Rob who also works at the supermarket.
Aisha: Mid 20’s to early 30’s. An immigrant with a Master’s Degree in the field of technology, Aisha is only at the supermarket while she looks for a higher paying job in I.T. Her English, though accented, is excellent. Aisha has a sunny and fun loving personality but is not without ambition. Aisha’s ethnicity has purposely not been defined in the script to widen the casting possibilities for your production. You may wish to rename Aisha (and references to Uncle Ravi and Panya) to a name appropriate to the ethnicity of your character.
Rob: Appropriately aged to match his fiancée, Michelle (late 20’s to 40’s), Rob is a butcher at the supermarket. By nature, Rob tends to be down to earth, happy to go with the flow, and avoiding of conflict. Rob, however, is not a pushover, and, when sufficiently motivated, will rise to the occasion. Rob is on the same social football team as Brian.
Mr. Everson: Aged 65, Mr. Everson is the recently retired former owner of the supermarket. He has dedicated his life to the supermarket, and now that he is retired, he is looking for adventure. His sense of propriety has stopped him from pursuing the relationship with Barbara he would have liked.
Brian: 20’s to 30’s, visits Aisha every day who he is desperate to impress. Unknown to Brian his social skills are lacking at times and this can make him appear a little mean spirited and unintelligent. He is, however, neither of those things. Aisha understands this better than the others. Brian is on the same social football team as Rob.
Susan: In her 60’s Susan is a busybody and regular customer, along with her best friend Sharon, at DiscountCo. Susan tends to dominate Sharon.
Sharon: In her 60’s, Sharon is best friends with Susan (they are inseparable) and a regular customer at DiscountCo. A busybody.
Other Customers: The play calls for various other customers who can be played by 3 or more actors depending on to what degree (if at all) you double the roles.
Royalty / Performance Fee:
$75 per performance (USA)
For Royalty / Performance Fee information in other locations please contact our theatrical agents. Contact details are listed below under "Theatrical Agents".
The Supermarket Sisterhood
All is not well at Discount Co. The suburban supermarket has seen better days and, ominously, the long-time owner has just sold out to a bean-counting accountant who has fresh ideas on how to turn a profit.
It is all going to have a serious impact on the lives of the checkout chicks – doyenne Barbara (Kim Williamson), the neurotic Michelle (Susi Jansen), and Indian migrant Aisha (Tamanna Khurana).
When the new owner – who is only ever heard intoning instructions to staff in a dull monotone over the store intercom in the menacing style of Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984 – decides to install automatic self-service tills, the checkout chicks declare war in a desperate bid to save their threatened jobs. Complicating the picture are the customers, among them former owner Jim Everson (David Guy), the love-struck Brian (Quentin Pidduck), boisterous twin terrors Susan (Allison Stewart) and Sharon (Jane McKenna), as well as Michelle’s boyfriend from the meat department, Rob (Chris Traill). Poor Barbara cannot imagine life outside Discount Co, having worked there for 35 years – “I am the original checkout chick,” she tells us – so when her cunning plan to engage “Sven” to undermine the new “robots” turns to disaster, she comes up with an even more drastic solution. But even she cannot foresee the twists that fate has in store.
Detour’s talented playwright and director Devon Williamson has taken a topical issue and turned it into an enjoyable comedy with poignant touches, which delighted a packed first-night audience at Detour on Wednesday.
The Supermarket Sisterhood is Williamson’s eleventh full-length comedy and this production, with the help of a strong cast who clearly relished their parts, will confirm his reputation as one of New Zealand’s funniest playwrights.
The show runs until April 16.
Bay of Plenty Times
Reviewed by Paul Chapman
The Supermarket Sisterhood
I’ve found myself re-thinking using supermarket’s self-checkouts after seeing Detour Theatre’s latest comedy The Supermarket Sisterhood.
This light-hearted look at the stresses faced by the staff of small suburban supermarket Discount Co. is a hilarious show that also offers a poignant observation of life faced by the average Kiwi.
Written by Tauranga playwright Devon Williamson, it features his trademark wit, gift for the wonderfully absurd, and unorthodox wordplay that’ll leave your cheeks sore from excessive smiling.
Featuring a stellar cast of local actors, the show’s led from the front by checkout chicks Michelle (Susi Jansen), Barbara (Kim Williamson) and Aisha (Tamanna Khurana) who shine brightly throughout the show. I enjoyed watching their lovely chemistry onstage together, but all three can hold the stage on their own too.
They’re supported by butcher Rob (Chris Trail), former supermarket owner Mr Everson (David Guy), and love struck shopper Brian (Quentin Pidduck) who all provide an excellent foil for the checkout chicks and feature in a number of hysterical and poignant moments throughout the show.
Leading the madcap collection of supermarket regulars that includes Lisa Thorne, Maggie Kelly, and Georgia Thorne are Susan (Allison Stewart) and Sharon (Jane McKenna) who are a real joy to watch when they threw themselves into their characters with absolute wild abandonment.
Well done to the cast and crew of Detour Theatre – I’d definitely shop at Discount Co. again.
The Weekend Sun
Reviewed by David Tauranga