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OPEN AUDITIONS: Majesticpiece Theatre presents The Rivals
MAJESTICPIECE THEATRE PRESENTS: The Rivals
By Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Directed by Karlissa Jones
Adapted by Rachel Kohler for the digital stage
Auditions due Monday, July 13 by 5 pm
To be performed Saturday, July 25 at 7:30pm on Facebook Live
Readthrough Thursday, July 16 at 7 pm
Rehearsal on Wednesday, July 22 at 7:00
Dress rehearsal Friday, July 24 at 7:00
From the director:
In 1995, I walked into a college theater audition, completely clueless about Sheridan. I was told, “It’s a comedy of manners similar to The Importance of Being Earnest”, by a theater friend. I was ecstatic to be cast as Lydia Languish and soaked up the study of Sheridan, Bath, the 1700s and became obsessed with Mrs. Malaprop.
As an English teacher, I often catch my students using Malapropisms and have to educate them on Sheridan and what came to be a favorite piece of literature. I had planned to submit this show to direct in my local community of Coos Bay, but with COVID shutting down live theater, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Majestic--after 10 years in the Albany/ Corvallis area as a middle school drama teacher, actor, director and board member at ACT.
The Rivals is a comedy of manners, set in 18th century Bath, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
The plot centres on the two young lovers, Lydia and Jack. Lydia, who reads a lot of popular novels of the time, wants a purely romantic love affair. To court her, Jack pretends to be "Ensign Beverley", a poor army officer. Lydia is enthralled with the idea of eloping with a poor soldier in spite of the objections of her guardian, Mrs. Malaprop, a moralistic widow. Malaprop is the chief comic figure of the play, thanks to her continual misuse of words (the term malapropism was coined in reference to the character).
Lydia has two other suitors: Bob Acres and Sir Lucius O'Trigger. Both pass gossip and notes through Lydia’s servant Lucy, causing confusion and leading to multiple challenges for Lydia’s hand..
As the play opens, Sir Anthony has arranged a marriage for Jack, but Jack demurs, saying he is in love already. They quarrel violently. But Jack soon learns through the gossip of Lucy and Fog that the marriage arranged by Sir Anthony is, in fact, with Lydia.
Jack's friend Faulkland is in love with Julia, but he suffers from jealous suspicion. He is constantly fretting himself about her fidelity. Faulkland and Julia quarrel foolishly, making elaborate and high-flown speeches about true love that satirise the romantic dramas of the period.
Please choose ONE of the following sides. Record a video on your phone or computer of you reading the side, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5PM on July 13. You can also contact me via facebook messenger. Feel free to include what role you’re interested in within the body of the email. Some guidelines:
- Perform while seated, trying to frame yourself from the shoulders up. This is what you’ll look like in the video chat during the performance, so we’ll want to see how well you can emote in this limited space.
- Props and costume pieces are encouraged! Whatever you have lying around. Just keep in mind that we can only see your torso and head!
- Actors of any gender, age, race, or ability are invited to audition for any role. We will be casting 13 performers and one Emergency Backup Actor, an understudy for all roles who can hop into the digital performance at any time to cover for another actor who might be experiencing technical difficulties.
- In order to participate in the performance, you’ll need a stable internet connection; a smartphone, computer, or tablet that can run Zoom; and a pair of headphones.
- If you have any questions, feel free to email and ask!
Sir ANTHONY ABSOLUTE - Jack’s father, traditional, promises Malaprop that Jack will propose to Lydia CAPTAIN JACK ABSOLUTE - Lydia’s suitor as poor “Beverly”, cannot woo Lydia because he is rich FAULKLAND - Jack’s friend, fretful and jealous, engaged to Julia Bob ACRES - buffoonish country gentleman, Lydia’s suitor Sir LUCIUS O'TRIGGER - impoverished and combative Irish gentleman, Lydia’s suitor FOG - Jack’s servant DAVID - servant to Acres THOMAS - Sir Anthony’s servant Mrs. MALAPROP - a moralistic widow, misuses language LYDIA LANGUISH - wants a purely romantic affair, needs aunt’s blessing to marry JULIA - Lydia’s friend, engaged to Faulkland LUCY - mischievous servant
Mrs. MALAPROP Observe me, Sir Anthony. I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman; for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning—neither would it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments.—But, Sir Anthony, I would send her, at nine years old, to a boarding-school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice. Then, sir, she should have a supercilious knowledge in accounts;—and as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries;—but above all, Sir Anthony, she should be mistress of orthodoxy, that she might not mis-spell, and mis-pronounce words so shamefully as girls usually do; and likewise that she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying. This, Sir Anthony, is what I would have a woman know;—and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it.
LUCY Ha! ha! ha!—So, my dear Simplicity, let me give you a little respite.—[Altering her manner.] Let girls in my station be as fond as they please of appearing expert, and knowing in their trusts; commend me to a mask of silliness, and a pair of sharp eyes for my own interest under it!—Let me see to what account have I turned my simplicity lately.—[Looks at a paper.] For abetting Miss Lydia Languish in a design of running away with an ensign!—in money, sundry times, twelve pound twelve; gowns, five; hats, ruffles, caps, etc, etc.---numberless!—From the said ensign, within this last month, six guineas and a half.—About a quarter's pay!—Item, from Mrs. Malaprop, for betraying the young people to her—when I found matters were likely to be discovered—two guineas.—Item, from Mr. Acres, for carrying divers letters—which I never delivered—two guineas, and a pair of buckles.—Item, from Sir Lucius O'Trigger, three crowns and a silver snuff-box!—Well done, Simplicity!
FAULKLAND What grounds for apprehension, did you say? Heavens! are there not a thousand! I fear for her spirits—her health—her life!—My absence may fret her; her anxiety for my return, her fears for me may oppress her gentle temper: and for her health, does not every hour bring me cause to be alarmed? If it rains, some shower may even then have chilled her delicate frame! If the wind be keen, some rude blast may have affected her! The heat of noon, the dews of the evening, may endanger the life of her, for whom only I value mine. O Jack! when delicate and feeling souls are separated, there is not a feature in the sky, not a movement of the elements, not an aspiration of the breeze, but hints some cause for a lover's apprehension!
Sir ANTHONY So you will fly out! can't you be cool like me? What the devil good can passion do?—Passion is of no service, you impudent, insolent, overbearing reprobate!—you play upon the meekness of my disposition!—Yet take care—the patience of a saint may be overcome at last!—but mark! I give you six hours and a half to consider of this: if you then agree, without any condition, to do every thing on earth that I choose, why—confound you! I may in time forgive you.—If not, zounds! don't enter the same hemisphere with me! don't dare to breathe the same air, or use the same light with me; but get an atmosphere and a sun of your own!.—I'll disown you, I'll disinherit you, I'll unget you! and damn me! if ever I call you Jack again!
ABSOLUTE 'Tis just as Fog told me, indeed. Whimsical enough, faith! My father wants to force me to marry the very girl I am plotting to run away with! He must not know of my connection with her yet awhile. However, I'll read my recantation instantly. My conversion is something sudden, indeed—but I can assure him it is very sincere. So, so—here he comes. He looks plaguy gruff.
DAVID This honor seems to me to be a marvelous false friend: aye, truly, a very courtier-like servant.—Put the case, I was a gentleman (which, thank God, no one can say of me;) well—my honor makes me quarrel with another gentleman of my acquaintance.—So—we fight. (Pleasant enough that!) Boh!—I kill him—(the more's my luck!) now, pray who gets the profit of it?—Why, my honor. But put the case that he kills me!—by the mass! I go to the worms, and my honor whips over to my enemy.
LYDIA Then, sir, let me tell you, the interest you had there was acquired by a mean, unmanly imposition, and deserves the punishment of fraud.—What, you have been treating me like a child!—humoring my romance! and laughing, I suppose, at your success! So, while I fondly imagined we were deceiving my relations, and flattered myself that I should outwit and incense them all—behold my hopes are to be crushed at once, by my aunt's consent and approbation—and I am myself the only dupe at last!—[Walking about in a heat.] But here, sir, here is the picture—Beverley's picture! [taking a miniature from her bosom] which I have worn, night and day, in spite of threats and entreaties!—There, sir [Flings it to him.]; and be assured I throw the original from my heart as easily.