Auditions

AUDITIONS 
MCLA THEATRE
THEATRE LAB

LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS

A developmental workshop adaptation of the 1969 novel by Ursula K. Le Guin
from Laura Standley and the students of Directing class

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21 5:30-8:30pm 
Venable Dance Studio

Audition Requirements

ACTORS: The audition will consist of a group movement audition followed by a cold-reading of sides from the play. The movement audition not only helps us determine your fit for casting, but also helps you determine whether this project is right for you.

No experience necessary. The movement works with your bodies’ own abilities, whatever they are. 

Preparation. Come prepared to participate in movement exercises and improvisations. Please dress in clothing appropriate for physical activity. 
Footwear. Street shoes are not allowed in the dance studio, so if you do not want to be barefoot, rehearsal shoes are necessary. Dance sneakers or jazz shoes are recommended. No flip‐flops. No socks. 

Cold reading. A cold reading is when you are handed a script and asked to perform a scene. After movement, some of you will be given a side (an excerpt of material from the play), paired with a partner and allowed a short amount of time to rehearse together. To prepare for cold-readings, be familiar with the play (see information below) and study the characters you think you are right for.

Day of Auditions. It is recommended that you show up early enough to fill out a form. Once we start the event, we want to get started right away. Sides will be made available the day of the audition for actors to familiarize themselves with the scene. If you would like to receive a copy of the sides, email Laura Standley at Laura.Standley@mcla.edu

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

Ability to learn lines
Ability to follow directions
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 and abilities. 

HOW TO SIGN UP 
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 Directing class instructor, Laura Standley, and the students of Directing THEA 479. 

GENERAL INFORMATION 

MCLA Theatre’s THEATRE LAB show is a collaboration between the official courses Directing THEA 479 and Theatre Production THEA 379, and the wider MCLA community. "Behind-the-scenes" production/tech personnel come from students enrolled in THEA 379, while direction and performance facilitation comes from the instructor and students involved in THEA 479.

Any MCLA student may audition. Actors participating in the Theatre Lab show do not need to be enrolled in THEA 379.

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, 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. 

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 PLAY

Adapted from Ursula K. Le Guin’s groundbreaking 1969 science fiction novel, LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, is an unusual science fiction story - without lasers, damsels, or chosen ones - that is not about the fate of the galaxy, but about how war grows out of the hatred of people. How it happens because of fear — fear of the other. The story imagines a man from our world dropped into a gender-less society; one without sexual shame, gendered double standards, or rape; where everyone can conceive and families are made of people who can be both mother and father. His only task is to make a cultural bridge and his assumptions about gender confuse him. This man, who also happens to be black, finds himself stuck between bureaucracies, a mad king, and warring nations who don’t have time for some alien. He doesn’t understand the non-binary-ness of these people and mistakes them for men. His main objective is not to set up a military base, but to establish the open exchange of knowledge. He wants people to agree to talk to each other, and listen to each other, and learn from each other’s differences, and to achieve this, he and his friend have to literally drag their burden across a frozen wasteland, uphill; and they have do it together or it won’t be done. It’s not about what’s easy. It’s about what’s right. The show is a physical theatre multi-media experience about recognizing, accepting, and loving people for who they are.

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

We are looking for probably 5-9 versatile and diverse non cis-male performers who will portray an ensemble of the genderless people of Gethen/Winter. Highly motivated performers with strong movement, partnering, communication, and improv skills to inhabit the following:

KING ARGAVEN XV, the mad king of Karhide 

STORYTELLER, reader of the Harth Tales of Gethen

TIBE - Pemmer Harge rem ir Tibe, cousin to Argaven and usurper of Estraven

FAXE, the Weaver of the nine foretellers, leader of the Handarra

ASHE - Foreth Rem Ir Osborth, former kemmering of Estraven, Celebate of the Foretellers

COMMENSAL OBSLE - One of the 33 Commensals of Orgoreyn, a nation warring with Karhide

COMMENSAL YEGEY - Another of the 33 Commensals of Orgoreyn

COMISSIONER SHUSGIS - Orgoreyn's District Commissioner of Entry-Roads and Ports 

And also double cast as foretellers, zanies, indwellers, agents, physicians, inspectors, superintendents, politicians, commissioners, dignitaries, refugees, guards, villagers, and anyone else.

The following roles are cast: 

GENLY AI — First Envoy of Gethen/Winter 

ESTRAVEN — Therem Harth rem ir Estraven, Prime Minister of Karhide, friend of Genly

MUSICIANS

We are also looking for musicians interested in creating original music with us, especially brass horn and percussion players/drummers. If you are interested in collaborating with us as a musician, please stop by the audition, and let us know.