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The Majestic Reader’s Theatre Spring Auditions Are Coming!


Here is the casting call for February. Below you will find information about our largest cast show, our smallest cast show and our most unusual cast. Also starting in March we will have three performances of each reader’s theater production. We are adding a Saturday show.

Auditions begin at 7:30 PM in the second floor Community Room of the Majestic Theatre Monday and Tuesday February 5th and 6th. Wednesday will be used for call-backs if needed. Scripts are available for check out now at the Majestic Theatre business office. The following paragraphs contain the performance dates, play titles, author, director, casting and a simple synopsis.

If you click here, you can grab a blank audition form that you can print out at home, fill in and bring with you to save time at the audition.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph Directed by Ajai Tripathi Show Dates and Times: March 24 and 25 at 3 & 7pm Synopsis: A tiger in the Bagdad Zoo tells the audience that most of the animals have fled to “freedom” because of the Iraq Invasion, only to be shot dead by soldiers. That night, two US soldiers, Tom and Kev, come to guard the zoo. While stationed in front of the tiger’s cage, Tom shows Kev a gun layered in gold he found during a raid of one of the Hussein family mansions. Carelessly, Tom places his hand near the cage and the hungry tiger bites his hand. Kev responds by shooting the tiger with the golden gun. There after the ghost of the tiger wanders about Baghdad seeking the meaning of life and making comments about the absurdities of war and most often haunting Kev’s dreams.

Most characters use strong language. The situations portrayed are tough. This is a war zone and life is not pretty. The show is for mature audiences only. Uday, Musa, and Hadia could be of Middle Eastern origin, or have that appearance.  If you know an Iraq war veteran who might do well in a reading please encourage them to try out.

Characters: Tiger: big (Tiger wears clothes. There is nothing feline about him.) After his first act death, the Tiger’s ghost roams the streets of Baghdad spouting philosophy and haunting first Kev then Musa.

Tom: American Marine, early twenties, older and wiser than Kev, unsmiling, tough

Kev: American Marine, early twenties; a rude insensitive racist.

Musa (Male): Iraqi, thirties; a conflicted translator trying to learn English by watching American films.

Iraqi Woman 1 and 2: People in the market, a leper and a prostitute.

Uday Hussein (Male): Iraqi, thirties; the ghost of Sadam’s son; strongly urges Musa to stop helping Americans.

Hadia (Female): Iraqi teenager, Musa’s younger sister who needs Musa’s protection.

Shakespeare in Love based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall Directed by Rachel Kohler. Show Dates and Times: April 28 and 29 at 3 & 7pm Synopsis: The play’s the thing, but the thing is, Will Shakespeare hasn’t got one. Oh, he’s got a title (Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter), but what’s in a name if there are no speeches to speak, trippingly or otherwise? Even fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe can offer no succor until a muse of fire appears in the form of Viola de Lesseps, a young noblewoman promised to another. Viola longs to be a player, but as all occasions do inform against a woman’s appearance on the stage, she must disguise herself as a boy. One pair of star-crossed lovers begets another, and Will Shakespeare ascends the brightest heaven of invention to write Romeo and Juliet.

CASTING NEEDS

Actors of any gender will be considered for all roles.

Doubling for 11 actors as follows: William Shakespeare Viola de Lessep Philip Henslowe Nurse / Molly / Mistress Quickly / Waiter / Boatman / Ned Alleyn Christopher Marlowe / Priest / Sam Ralph / Frees / Catling / Robert de Lesseps Adam / Lambert / Edmund Tilney Queen Elizabeth / Kate / Robin Peter / Wabash / Richard Burbage Lord Wessex / Hugh Fennyman Nol / John Webster Also looking for Elizabethan singers and recorder players.

William Shakespeare (called Will): Will Shakespeare is 29, and, in the alternate reality of Shakespeare in Love, he is a new and inexperienced playwright, having written only one play and struggling to write another, despite the fact that he’s already promised new plays to local theatre impresarios Philip Henslowe and Richard Burbage. He’s full of equal parts jealousy and admiration for his friend and fellow playwright, Christopher Marlowe. He longs for a muse to break him out of his writers’ block, and he finds one in the beautiful Viola de Lessep. Their star-crossed affair inspires him to write (and eventually star in) Romeo and Juliet.

Christopher Marlowe (called Kit): Kit Marlowe is also 29, Will’s senior by only three months. Educated at Cambridge, and already an accomplished poet and playwright, Marlowe’s work (which includes such amazing plays as Doctor Faustus, Tamburlaine, and The Jew of Malta) is incredibly popular. He’s a confidant writer, and he’s fond of his fellow playwright Will Shakespeare, cheerfully offering him help with everything from poetry to wooing. Sadly, his oeuvre will never be able to match Shakespeare’s in bulk, as his life is tragically cut short.

Viola de Lessep (also called Thomas Kent): Viola, likely a rich merchant’s daughter, is in her late teens or early twenties, and she is both completely mad for the theatre and completely fictional. She’s a Will Shakespeare fangirl, and she knows all of the words of Two Gentlemen of Verona by heart. She wants nothing more than to run away from her upcoming arranged marriage to the loathsome Lord Wessex and join a company of players, but women are not by social custom permitted on London’s public stages. So she disguises herself as Thomas Kent and auditions for Romeo and Juliet, catapulting her into the early modern theatre world and into a doomed affair with the playwright himself. Viola is cast as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, but for reasons too complicated to go into here, she ends up playing Juliet instead.

Lord Wessex: The (also fictional) Lord Wessex is a nobleman of middling rank in search of a rich and beautiful bride, and he’s found one in Viola de Lessep. Viola’s father is more than thrilled about the match, and Wessex finds Viola’s opinion on the matter to be rather less important. Wessex is used to getting what he wants when he wants it, and he views Viola as his property. He also hates the theatre because he’s just an all-around terrible human.

Hugh Fennyman: This (fictional) financier lent Philip Henslowe a good chunk of change, and he’s willing to go to great lengths to get his loan repaid. Not trusting Henslowe to deliver on his promised profits from Shakespeare’s latest play, Fennyman shadows Henslowe during every rehearsal to keep an eye on his investment, but he ends up becoming quite invested in the process in spite of himself. He even takes a cameo role as the Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet.

Philip Henslowe: Henslowe, age 43, is a giant in London’s early modern theatre scene. The owner of the Rose playhouse and the manager of the Admiral’s Men (as well as Ned Alleyn’s father-in- law), Henslowe finds himself in a bit of a predicament, owing a sum of money to the disreputable Hugh Fennyman. He’s got to get a play staged so that he can pay back his debts, but young Will Shakespeare doesn’t seem to be finishing his new play fast enough. A pragmatic man, Henslowe remains calm in the face of every theatrical crisis, certain that it will all turn out fine in the end.

Richard Burbage: Burbage, age 26, is one of the first superstar actors of the early modern stage. His father, James Burbage, owns the (creatively named) Theatre, the first purpose-built playhouse in London, and the family also has a timeshare agreement with the owner of the Curtain, the playhouse located nextdoor. In the future, Shakespeare will write roles like Hamlet and Richard III for Burbage to play, but in the world of the play, Burbage is waiting impatiently for Shakespeare to finish what will become Romeo and Juliet. Burbage is currently part of the Lord Strange’s Men, a company that has worked with Henslowe and Ned Alleyn and their company, the Admiral’s Men, but after a messy breakup, Burbage definitely does not want to share Shakespeare’s new script.

Edward Alleyn (called Ned): Alleyn, age 27, is the other big acting name in early modern London. Burbage may have pioneered some of Shakespeare’s greatest roles, but Alleyn did it first with Marlowe’s. He is part of the Admiral’s Men, which is run by his father-in- law, Philip Henslowe. A tall man with a commanding presence, Ned is a big deal, and he knows it. However, he also knows great art when he sees it, and he’s able to respect Shakespeare’s work without letting his ego get in the way. In Romeo and Juliet, Ned plays Mercutio.

Edmund Tilney, Master of the Revels: Tilney, age 57, is a born courtier. His father was a courtier under Henry VIII, and Tilney grew up privileged by his royal connections. In 1579, he became Elizabeth I’s Master of the Revels, an executive position in the English royal court that oversaw festivities and entertainments for the queen. Because all playing companies in London operated under the patronage of the aristocracy, he was also in charge of approving scripts and censoring objectionable content. In the world of the play, he appears to be allergic to fun, and he shuts down Romeo and Juliet rehearsals after reports of scandalous female actors.

Queen Elizabeth I: Elizabeth Tudor ascended to the throne of England in 1558 after a rocky decade of political and religious upheaval. She was then 25, and her reign ushered in one of the longest periods of peace and relative prosperity that England had ever seen. She is now 60, and most of the other characters in this play have never known another ruler. An exceedingly clever and strong-willed woman and a stunningly successful queen, she steadfastly refused to marry, thus retaining her independence as reigning monarch and cementing her place in the popular imagination as the Virgin Queen. It is only appropriate that she would serve as the deus ex machina of this play.

Nurse: An older, pleasant woman of indeterminate but possibly lofty age, Viola’s kind and loyal Nurse clearly takes her inspiration from the same character in the actual Romeo and Juliet. Undoubtedly, she served as Viola’s wet nurse, a standard practice in the aristocracy. Although she is Viola’s servant, their relationship is much closer. Viola’s mother is never mentioned, so it’s probable that she is dead (possibly in childbirth, a depressingly common occurrence in the early modern era), and the Nurse likely fills this place in Viola’s life.

Robert de Lessep: Viola’s (fictional) father is very wealthy man, probably a London merchant. The city of London was an exploding metropolis and bustling port, an international center of commerce. Many merchants became much richer than many members of the aristocracy, so it was becoming increasingly common for young noblemen to marry the daughters of rich merchants, trading a title for financial gain. De Lessep seems perfectly content to barter his daughter into the aristocracy with no concern towards her wellbeing. He’s not a great person.

John Webster: This character is the punchline to the nerdiest joke in the play. Webster, age 13, is a morbid little snitch of a boy who likes to read plays and is mostly memorable because he gets to say the word “bubbies.” After tattling on Will’s affair with Viola in our play, he grows up to be a playwright best known for writing two extremely dark and morbid Jacobean tragedies that involve lots of murder, adultery, and incest. He’s a weird kid with some issues. He plays Abraham in Romeo and Juliet.

Sam: Sam is one of the troupe’s boy actors assigned to play women’s roles. He, like most boy actors, is likely apprenticed to one of the adult actors in the troupe. He might be based on the actor listed in the First Folio as Samuell Crosse, but Sam is a pretty common name, so it’s hard to say. This Sam is a polite, talented young performer on the precipice of puberty, and he picks a very awkward moment to tumble over the edge, almost ruining the performance of Romeo and Juliet.

Nol and Ralph: These gentlemen are adult actors who seem to regularly work with Henslowe’s company. Ralph is apparently a drunken sot, but Nol seems to be a good sort. In Romeo and Juliet, Nol plays Samson (and Benvolio in rehearsal), and Ralph plays Juliet’s Nurse.

Robin and Adam: Two adult actors who audition for Henslowe. Robin is a big fan of Marlowe (and who isn’t?), and Adam talks a little too fast, but they still get cast because Henslowe needs actors more than he needs good actors. In Romeo and Juliet, Robin plays Lady Capulet and Adam plays Gregory, a Serving man, and Benvolio.

Wabash: Wabash is Henslowe’s stuttering tailor who has been promised a role in a play in return for settling some of Henslowe’s debts. He ends up playing the Prologue in Romeo and Juliet, and through the magic of the theatre, is cured of his stutter in the nick of time.

Peter: An adult actor who works with Alleyn. He plays Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet.

Lambert and Frees: Early modern thugs of indeterminate age, precursors to our modern thugs. They are large men, not overly intelligent, and they are eager to do their boss Fennyman’s bidding with gusto, especially if that bidding involves hot coals and knives.

Divers Others: Short cameos that include whores, boatmen, priests, guards, and dancers.

Sea Marks by Gardner McKay directed by Don Taco. Show Dates and Times: May 27, 2018 at 3 & 7pm Synopsis: Sea Marks is the tender story of a fisherman, Colm, living on a remote Irish island who has fallen in love with a woman he’s seen only once. Colm begins the play with a long monologue. “I live by the sea. I have always lived by the sea. I can’t know what it would be like living anywhere else.” However he eyed a pretty girl from Liverpool, Timothea, at a recent wedding and begins correspondence via the post. (The time of the play is in the distant past, before e-mail.)

Timothea writes back. The letters begin formal and short until they grow longer and more personal. Timothea becomes enamored with Colm’s poetic musings about life by the sea. Shortly, two lonely people take a chance on love and they are living together in Timothea’s flat. The conflict arises when Timothea publishes Colm’s letters without his permission. Colm doesn’t share her literary ambitions or her interest in city life. Colm must decide to stay or return to his isolation on the island. Does holding on to a way of life mean stagnation? Or should we all be encouraged to easily flow wherever and seemingly become whatever.

Characters: Colm Primose: An Irish fisherman from the western islands

Timothea Stiles: A lady, not much younger than Colm, who was once from Wales.

We hope to see you at auditions!

#auditions #readerstheatre

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The Majestic Theatre is a branch of the City of Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department, dedicated to bringing a wide range of artistic productions and arts education programs to the citizens of Corvallis.

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