MCLA THEATRE Season 23-24


Fall 2023



By Sophokles
Translation by Anne Carson

Performances November 3, 4, 10, 11, 12
Tech begins Saturday, October 28
First Rehearsal Monday,  September 11

Directed by Benedetti Fellow, Rudy Ramirez




By Maria Irene Fornés

Performances December 1, 2, 3
Tech begins Sunday November 26

First Rehearsal TBA

Directed by senior, Georgia Dedolph

These two short plays will be done together as one evening.



Venable Theater


Venable Theater
Call-back times will be announced with the call-back list after Initial Auditions. 

Audition Requirements


The initial audition for both shows will consist of a prepared dramatic monologue from contemporary or classical material. It does not need to be memorized. 

Call-backs will consist of a group movement audition specific to the show.

No experience necessary. The audition not only helps us determine your fit for casting, but also helps you determine whether this project is right for you. 

Call-back invitations will be sent by email following the initial audition. 

Preparation. Prepare your monologue ahead of time. Know the lines and analyze what your character says and figure out why they say it. Make choices about how your character is going to do what they do. Then practice out loud and on your feet, so that you can make it all the way through performing the monologue in the way that you planned without stopping.

What to wear? Look your best. Plain, simple clothing in neutral colors is best. Wear what you feel comfortable in, that’s appropriate, and that won’t be distracting. 

Cold reading. A cold reading is when you are handed a script and asked to perform a scene. Actors are given a side (an excerpt of material from the show), paired with a partner, and allowed a short amount of time to rehearse together. To prepare for cold-readings, be familiar with the show and study the characters.

Group movement audition. A group movement audition involves physical activity that works with your bodies’ own abilities, whatever they are. If asked to attend a group movement audition, please wear clothing appropriate for active movement such as dancewear or sportswear.

Day of Auditions. It is recommended that you show up early enough to fill out an audition form. Once we start the event, we want to begin right away.

Evaluation. The audition will be evaluated based on the following areas:

  • Ability to learn lines
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Ability to speak from memory
  • Emotional honesty
  • Vocal strength and variety
  • Ability to distinguish between personal and general space
  • Enthusiasm and focus
  • Creative and social cooperation with other performers
  • Ability to improvise (make it up as you go along, go with the flow)
  • Coordination, sustained movement, and ability to take risks onstage

*Please note that all roles are open to all ethnicities, identities, and abilities.


No registration necessary, just show up.

NOTE. All auditions are private. We find that students do their best and most honest work when parents and guests are not watching. In the room will be the directors, Rudy Ramirez and Georgia Dedolph, as well as the faculty advisor for Theatre Lab, Laura Standley.


MCLA Theatre’s season offers hands-on, real-world experience making theatre productions in a faculty mentored, professional setting. Students who audition and are cast participate as actors, while students who interview are assigned backstage crew or production area positions. While this course is required of theatre program students, it is also recommended for anyone interested in making theatre. This course may be repeated.

Any MCLA student may audition. Actors participating in the MCLA Theatre season must enroll in 3 credits of THEA 379-Theatre Production: Company.

The Theatre Program is 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’ theatre training. 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.

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.

About the Plays

By Sophokles
Translation by Anne Carson

About the Plot. Before the play opens, two brothers, Eteokles and Polyneikes, have waged war against one another for the throne of Thebes. The war is over, and Kreon, the king of Thebes and uncle of both men, has decreed that Eteokles will be honorably buried, but Polyneikes will be left unburied outside of the city. As the play begins, Antigone, the sister of Eteokles and Polyneikes, has vowed that she will bury Polyneikes and entreats her sister, Ismene, to help. Ismene refuses, so Antigone goes to bury her brother on her own. When Kreon discover what Antigone has done, he brings her before him. Antigone argues that Kreon's decree is an immoral desecration of her brother. Ismene tries to confess to the crime as well, but Antigone refuses her. Kreon has them imprisoned, and Haimon, Kreon's son and Antigone's fiance, comes to beg for her life. Kreon will not relent, and although he frees Ismene, he orders that Antigone be buried alive in a cave. Teiresias, a blind prophet, comes to warn Kreon that he will be punished for these actions, and Kreon goes to bury Polyneikes and free Antigone. Kreon finds Antigone already dead by her own hand, and Haimon and then Haimon's mother both commit suicide in turn. Kreon laments that his decisions have cost him everything.

Production History. ANTIGONE was written by Sophocles and first produced at the Festival of Dionysus in 441 BCE. In the centuries since, ANTIGONE has been produced countless times around the world, often in times and locations where people are staging resistance against authority and questioning the morality of laws. Perhaps the most famous version is Jean Anouilh's 1944 adaptation, performed in Nazi occupied France as a commentary on collaboration and resistance. In 2004, five short plays collected as THE ANTIGONE PROJECT were written by women in response to the Patriot Act, with playwrights including Tanya Barfield, Lynn Nottage and Caridad Svich. Anne Carson's translation was performed in Luxembourg in 2015 followed by a production in London. It also resulted in an adaptation by Carson called ANTIGONICK.

From the Director. It's no surprise that numerous productions of ANTIGONE are being staged around the country right now. ANTIGONE has a tendency to appear at periods of political uncertainty, and the themes—the right to mourn the dead, the question of how to respond to an unjust law—speak to the events of the past few years as powerfully as they spoke to the people of Athens in 441 BCE. Our production of ANTIGONE will open the play up to the interpretation of the ensemble: how does our group of actors connect this play to our moment across millennia, and how will we bring those connections to life? We will use a combination of expressionistic movement, naturalistic acting and whatever else we want to bring in the room to help tell the story of a woman ready to give her life to honor the dead.

"Why this play now?" ANTIGONE is a play about how we honor our dead. During the pandemic years, many of us were unable to gather and mourn those we lost, and in the times since, we have been compelled to forget, to put those times behind us, rather than grapple with the losses we experienced. At the same time, many people stood up in the name of the dead as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. ANTIGONE is a chance to talk about honoring those we've lost and standing up against unjust laws, even as it begs the question: we know who gets to determine laws, but who gets to determine justice?

Character Breakdown:

Pronouns listed below describe characters as scripted. Roles are open to any actor comfortable with them. None of these roles will be understudied.

ANTIGONE (She/her, any ethnicity). Daughter of disgraced parents. Sister to warring brothers. Determined.

ISMENE (She/her, any ethnicity). Sister of Antigone. Torn.

KREON (He/him, any ethnicity). King of Thebes. Uncle (on both sides) to Antigone and Ismene. Authoritarian.

GUARD (He/him, any ethnicity). Assigned to make sure no one buries Antigone' brother. Nervous.

HAIMON (He/him, any ethnicity). Pronounced HAY-mon. Son of Kreon and Eurydike. Antigone’s fiancé. In love.

MESSENGER (not specified, any ethnicity). Witness to horrible things. Shaken.

TEIRESIAS (He/him, any ethnicity). Blind prophet of Thebes. [Led by a boy].

EURIDIKE (She/her, any ethnicity). Wife of Kreon, mother of Haimon. Doomed.

CHORUS OF OLD THEBAN MEN (He/him, any ethnicity). The old men of Thebes. Here with questions and comments. Responsive.

Casting an ensemble of 6-12. Roles will be determined after rehearsals begin.

By Maria Irene Fornés

About the Plot. The play, TANGO PALACE, follows Isidore, a vicious “androgynous clown,” and Leopold, an “earnest youth” trapped in Isidore’s shrine room of the best of western tradition - things we think of as right and fancy and good and true. Leopold’s squirming body is reborn from a cloth sack at Isidore’s feet, as Isidore tries to charm the young artist with a tranquil serenade. Trying to get his bearings, Leopold is bombarded with an endless stream of notecards tossed at him by Isidore. Over and over, the gender non-conforming Isidore assaults him with instructions, thoughts, manipulations, trying to put words, gestures, ideas into Leopold’s mouth. When Leopold refuses, Isidore challenges him in every hyper-masculine way, donning the helmet of the Greeks, showing off intimidating sword moves, dancing the Tango. Isidore demands Leopold follow tradition or else, ordering him to parrot the words of a literal parrot, rejecting femininity in whatever way possible. Leopold can’t help but rebel as they arm themselves to the teeth, fight with swords, fight like bulls, fight to be civilized, intelligent, sophisticated, artificial. Stereotypes are battered to the ground as Leopold struggles to break free from the hell of a masculine dominated, artificial world and find true inspiration. 

DR. KHEAL, the only one-character play Fornés ever wrote, takes the form of a mock lecture given by a learned professor. Arriving at his lectern, Professor Kheal covers a chalkboard with a variety of topics, mocking the audience for their stupidity and incorrect answers. He pompously expands on all the great humanities questions: poetry, balance, energy, truth, beauty and love, hope… and, of course, cooking. He struggles with right and wrong, seeking the correct answers from his imagined class but never getting them. The little man who calls himself master, and who claims to know all, DR KHEAL represents the pillar of academia. He knows what’s right; what he says goes. He holds his audience/pupils to a ridiculous standard, abusing them, alienating them, and making them feel like many oppressed people have felt in traditional academic spaces. Like Tango Palace, Dr. Kheal confronts authority, questioning the very idea of right, wrong, balance, or truth. In modern life on the internet, our sense of what is fact and fiction seems knowable. With a google search, we think we can suss out the truth at a glance. DR KHEAL challenges this, arguing that perhaps what is impossible, what is unseeable, is the most beautiful - subjective truth. 

About the Playwright. Maria Irene Fornés (1930-2018) was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1951. Her first produced play, Tango Palace, was written in 1963 and her last, Letters from Cuba, was finished nearly four decades later, in 2000. She has written over 40 plays, won an unprecedented nine Obie Awards, and her play, What Of The Night? (1990) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. For decades Fornés was sidelined by critics as avant-garde because she didn’t follow traditional playwriting rules, but now, theatre artists are working to change the narrative. Fornés didn’t like labels, but she and her plays have been described by many as groundbreaking, diverse, centering women characters, experimental, difficult, lesbian, feminist, award-winning, life-changing. She was “the mother of Latinx playwriting”, a leading LGBTQIA+ forerunner, a genius. This play will be produced as part of a year-long, campus-wide series of events honoring her in conjunction with the Fornés Institute’s Celebrando Fornés/Celebrating Fornés 2019-2020, a national initiative that seeks to raise awareness of Fornés’s impact on theatre and uplift her legacy. Here's a link to the Fornés Institute for more information:

Production History. TANGO PALACE was first produced in November 1963 under the title There! You Died, directed by Herbert Blau with the Actors Workshop at San Francisco’s Encore Theatre. It has been professionally produced only a few times since, with the latest being a 2010 staged reading at the New York Fornés Festival at Cherry Lane theatre. DR KHEAL was first produced in April 1968 in two simultaneous productions: one at the Village Gate, as a benefit for Cafe Cino, and one at the New Dramatists Workshop. Later that year, it was performed again at the Theatre-in-Progress festival at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, directed by Gordon Rogoff. Rarely staged, the most recent production was also in 2010 at the New York Fornés Festival where it was also performed with Tango Palace.

From the Director. TANGO PALACE, by Maria Irene Fornés, is a fantastical and comedic exploration of what it means to be human, inhuman, or more than human. The play is an exploration of truth, and the eternal struggle of the sensitive, emotional, undesirable parts of humanity vs. the desire for civilization, sophistication and the artificial. It’s about authority and resistance, free thought and rebellion. Leopold seeks escape, but is trapped; every word he is expected to say is predisposed and written out for him. DR KHEAL traps its audience in a deluge of commandments on humanity. In both plays, a seemingly all-knowing authority figure teaches us how things are “supposed” to be - how to be civilized, how to exist in the “right” way in the world. Often accused of being carried away by passion and inspiration, artists find they can’t fit in or conform to what is expected of them - can’t follow what is written on their cards. Bringing these plays together highlights these ideas, offering a feminist message about the survival of tenderness and feminine qualities in a patriarchal world. 

"Why this play now?" In 2023, artificial intelligence is a looming threat. We are coming to terms with what it means to be human, what role the artistic process and art itself plays in humanity. The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) is engrossed in an ongoing strike. One of their major points of contention is protesting scripts written by artificial intelligence, with the fear being that this easy tool would eliminate the desire for writers entirely. The character of Isidore represents the controlling artificial intelligence figure, a villain like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL, the ultimate authority figure. Isidore doesn’t understand, and even condemns, Leopold’s faith, his desire for more than what is written for him. Dr. Kheal, like Isidore, is obsessed with the way things are meant to be, with the “right way.” By the end of his lecture, he sees that beauty and love are impossible to explain in this black and white way. Art brings beauty into the world, something that isn’t explainable or tangible, but still necessary. Beauty falls through the cracks; beauty isn’t productive. TANGO PALACE encourages free thought and rebellion. We must be uniquely ourselves now more than ever, and allow ourselves to create what we need. TANGO PALACE confronts artists, as Leopold struggles with the choice to compromise inspiration and passion for what is desired from him. Is selling your art selling your soul?

Character Breakdown:

Pronouns listed below describe characters as scripted. Roles are open to any actor comfortable with them. None of these roles will be understudied.

ISIDORE (he/him, any ethnicity). An androgynous, omnipotent clown. Though scripted with he/him pronouns, Isidore is described by the playwright as “a mixture between man and woman.” In original drafts of the play, Isidore was a literal computer spitting out lines on cards! Isidore does not understand Leopold’s humanity and expects him to conform to tradition. An intensely physical character who dances, fences, bullfights, and explores many other styles of physical comedy in pursuing his goal to get Leopold to be traditional or else!

LEOPOLD (he/him, any ethnicity). Leopold is an “earnest youth” stuck in the eternal battle of humanity vs. machine. Straightforward and realistic, he is the artist, torn between his obsession with  the authority figure, Isidore, and his need to escape the “shrine room” and think for himself. An intensely physical role, Leopold dances, wrestles, bullfights, and tries to clown his way free of Isidore’s control so he might reach true authentic inspiration.


Venable Theater

All students enrolled in THEA 379 are required to interview for production positions on both shows in the season.

Sign-ups are on the callboard. Come choose a time-slot for a short interview with production faculty and staff. No preparation necessary.


For questions about the Production Interviews, contact Michaela Petrovich at 

For questions about Auditioning, contact Laura Standley at