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Performing Arts

Upcoming Auditions

CLOUD9

SPRING DANCE FESTIVAL

Will be held:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 25th

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26th

Venable Theater, Venable Building, 2nd Floor, 375 Church Street, North Adams, MA

 
 
INITITAL ACTING AUDITIONS
FRIDAY, January 25th 
Venable Theater 5:00-8:00pm
 
DANCE AUDITIONS
SATURDAY, January 26th
Venable Theater 1:00-4:00pm

Audition Requirements

ACTORS: 

Please prepare:
1 monologue from a British play written between 1970-present (can be from Cloud 9 if you like) with a British accent. 
Choose a piece that is important to you; we are looking for emotional honesty and a strong commitment to what you are doing. At the audition itself, you may be asked to work on your piece improvisationally, so be sure to memorize your monologues in an exploratory way rather than by rote.

Call-backs for Cloud 9 will be held Saturday, January 26th after the Dance auditions.

DANCERS: 

No need to prepare anything or to bring a resume. Auditions will begin with a 1/2 hour warm-up followed by 6 different choreographers presenting a short phrase. Each choreographer will teach a bit of their work to see if you match with what they are looking for. The range of dance styles is wide, so all kinds of dancers are needed!  Please contact Tom Truss if you have questions, or are interested and need to make other arrangements.

About the Plays, Etc.

CLOUD 9   Unexpected trysts. Gender swaps. Role reversals. Power plays. Victorian repression clashes with liberal expression as we follow a British family from colonial Africa to London in the 1970s. Caryl Churchill’s provocative comedy explores the ever-changing world of sexual politics as it asks what it takes for each of us to reach our own Cloud 9.
 
SPRING DANCE Showcases 7 to 10 dance works created by emerging MCLA Performing Arts student choreographers, as well as faculty and alumni. All dancers are welcome. Are you classically trained? Contemporary? Jazzarina? Street dancer? Tapper? Improviser? Whatever kind of dancer you are, this is the place for YOU!
 

General Information

Auditions for Performing Arts productions are open to all MCLA students and community members. 

Students who audition and are cast in Performing Arts season productions must register for 1 credit of Theatre Practicum THEA 372. This is the course for all season performance and production related activities for the semester. Theatre Practicum operates on the company model, which means that students who participate on one show are expected to work in some capacity on the other show. Students may repeat this course for credit.

Please note that you need to attend Production Interviews if you plan to participate in Theatre Practicum shows in any capacity during the semester.

Theatre Program Students are expected to attend production interviews each semester, as well as audition if they choose. Theatre Students who are not cast are expected to participate in a production capacity on season productions. 

We are committed to inclusive casting which promotes diversity in the casting of roles where race, ethnicity, gender, age, and the presence or absence of a disability is not essential to the development of the play or characters. All students are encouraged to audition. Theatre Program students are not given preference in casting decisions.

The audition process is part of the students’ training, and all best efforts will be made to inform students of the director’s process, and to encourage them to maximize their preparation and participation. The aim of casting is to select the most able student for a particular role, while also taking into consideration the relevance of the nature of the role to the student’s continuing development as an actor.

Performing Arts tries to audition all shows for a semester at one time. The directors for each show, together with the Theatre faculty decide on casting.

Guest artist actors are occasionally used in some roles and are always pre-cast. Guest artist actors enhance the training process by providing professional level models for students to learn from through observation. Pre-casting of students in roles will not occur.

Auditions are usually held in Venable Theater on the second floor of Venable Building. Break a leg!

HOW TO SIGN UP

Sign-up Sheet for Initial Auditions. On the day before the initial audition, a sign-up sheet will go up on the Theatre Program call-board across from Venable Theater. Actors, sign up for an initial audition slot as soon as possible. Please remember to also attend production interviews.

Day of Auditions. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled audition time to check in with the monitor.  Returning actors, please bring a headshot and resume.  For questions about this, please contact Laura Standley

Call-Backs. If called back for a role, you will be asked to come to a show-specific group audition. These group auditions will consist of cold-readings from the script, and perhaps (depending on the show) movement, dance, singing and/or improv auditions. Persons called back will be posted on the Theatre Program call-board with detailed directions about what to prepare.

Cold reading. A cold reading is when you are handed a script and asked to perform a scene. In call-backs you will be given a side, paired with a partner and allowed a short amount of time to rehearse together. To prepare for cold-readings, be familiar with the plays (read the whole thing!) and study the characters you think you are right for.

Clothing. For initial auditions, standard audition attire is required. Actors, come dressed for an acting audition, considering the role you are auditioning for and dressing with the essence of the character in mind. Dancers, wear dance clothes that you can move in. Remember the audition is to showcase your acting talent, not your wardrobe! Stay away from clothing that will distract from your audition. For actor movement auditions, you will be asked to dress in clothing appropriate for participating in physical activity.

NOTE. All auditions are private. During initial auditions, performers are brought into the theatre space one at a time. We find that students do their best and most honest work when parents and guests are not watching. In the space will be the directors and designers, as well as any stage management, assistant director or design students.

Questions? Need access to scripts for preparation or advice about auditioning? Contact: Laura Standley Laura.Standley@mcla.edu

Casting Breakdown for Cloud 9

In a recent NYTimes review of the play, the playwright, Caryl Churchill, was described as "one of the wisest and bravest playwrights on the planet." They said she "understands the idea that sex is endlessly fluid, no matter the time, place or culture in which it is practiced." They went on: "m ore than three decades ago — when “trans” as a prefix most commonly meant something to do with automobiles [Ms. Churchill]  dared set up camp in that hazy frontier land where the boundaries of gender and the rules of attraction blur and dissolve."
  
The play begins in British Colonial Africa during what the playwright calls "Victorian times," and is a parody of the rigid rules associated with Victorian society. Clive, the colonial administrator and head of household, tries to rule both the land and the family, made up of his wife (played by a man), his daughter (represented by a doll), and his son, Edward (played by a woman). The rest, Betty's strict mother, her repressed governess, her manservant, Joshua, and the family visitors, Harry the explorer, and Mrs. Saunders the liberated land-owner, all run amok breaking all the rules and loving where they should not with hilarious results. The second act shifts in place and tone to 1979 London, where the same characters played by different actors, and who have aged only twenty five years, attempt to negotiate the ecstasy and tragedy of their  new-found freedoms.  Using cross-gender casting and role-doubling, Caryl Churchill explores the politics of sexuality and sexual identity by taking a satirical and biting  look at how   oppression is connected to Victorian colonialism, and how far we've come since the 70s .
 
Cast: 4 men, 3 women: 7 total
More women may be cast depending on role-doubling.
All doubling subject to change, but every actor will play at least two contrasting roles.
 
Clive/Cathy: Clive is a colonial administrator in Africa in the Victorian period, a strong patriarchal figure who is becoming overwhelmed by the pressures of his job and family. Cathy is a five-year-old girl in 1970s London.
 
Joshua/Gerry: Joshua is Clive’'s African manservant who is torn between his racial identity and the needs of serving his white English bosses. Gerry is a working-class gay Londoner in 1970s London.
 
Betty/Edward: Betty is a traditional Victorian wife and mother figure. Edward is a sexually-confused young man in 1970s London.
 
Edward/Betty: Edward is Clive and Betty's nine-year-old son whose innocence is challenged by the sexual politics of his family. Also plays Betty: the Act One character 25 years older in late 1970s London--who struggles with her own liberation and her children’'s sexuality.
 
Maud/Victoria: Clive’'s mother-in-law, a battle-axe of a woman who is blunt with her opinions. Victoria is Edward'’s sister who is stifled by an overbearing husband in an unhappy marriage in 1970s London.
 
Ellen/Mrs. Saunders/Lin: Ellen is a repressed family governess in colonial Africa. Mrs. Saunders is an independent and confident woman who runs an African farm on her own. Lin is a working-class lesbian woman raising a child alone in 1970s London.
 
Harry/Martin: Harry is a handsome, intrepid, repressed homosexual Victorian explorer. Martin is Victoria'’s husband struggling with a crisis of masculinity in 1970s London.

Need help or have questions contact Professor Laura Standley