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Audition Call for The Importance of Being Earnest!

February 09, 2017

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST: AUDITION CALL!

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South Hill Park are looking for community actors to take part in The Importance of Being Earnest which is being directed by Alastair Whatley. This is a play taking place in the Wilde Theatre in May 2017. The performances run from Wednesday 17th May – Sunday 21st May.
The set will be design by Victoria Spearing and the costumes by Anne Thomson.

 

The Importance of Being Earnest is not only Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece but it is also one of the finest plays ever written.

A delicious soufflé of high comedy, unforgettable characters and razor sharp wit masking a radical, irreverent satire exposing the myths of society.

 

Character Breakdown

 

Algernon

mid 20’s to mid 30’s

 

Algernon is a man of good tastes. Living in the better part of London with his manservant Laine to tend is needs, he is able to devote himself to Bunburying, a most serious pastime.

Algernon has a sharp wit and know the secret of life is to not treat anything too seriously. He is whimsical, impulsive, cowardly and great fun. He is a contradiction in terms and not unlike Wilde himself.

An actor with a sharp mind, good speed of thought and a sense of the absurd would go down a treat. Nobody too earnest.

 

 

John (Jack)

late 20’s to middle to late 30’s

 

Jack Worthing has an interesting history and a substantial fortune. Yet leads a double life building up debts (which he can well afford to pay) in London where he goes by the name of Earnest and woos Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen. Whom we adores. And who adores him…as long as he is Earnestly Earnest as Earnest.

Jack on the one hand is a solid, upright member of the British Establishment but beneath the veneer lies an orphan, a man who feels more at home pretending to be someone else than he is playing the role of Mr Worthing. He is a man of masks and faces and deep inner turmoil.

An actor who can be still, think quickly, sharply and indulge in high minded romance would be splendid. A little more earnest but never too serious.

 

Gwendolen

mid to late 20’s to early 30’s

 

Gwendolen comes from old money. Yet for all her privilege is trapped in the corsetry of Edwardian England. She lives under the cosh of Aunt Augusta, the indomitable Lady Bracknell.

She professes love for Earnest but seems more in love with his name than the man. In fact despite her confident appearance, this intelligent woman seems at sea in a world dominated by men and their whims and egos.

She is determined that she should out do them on all counts.

Fiery, headstrong and confident yet innocent she enjoys a rollercoaster ride through the play discovering the Importance of never being too Earnest.

 

Cecily

early to mid 20’s

 

Cecily is an heiress and the ward of John Worthing who lives in his country house tutored and bored in equal measure by Miss Prism.

She gets through the days with a healthy dose of imaginative flights of fancy inventing boyfriends and other such exotic creatures.

Her main object of desire is John Worthing’s (invented) black sheep brother who goes by the name of Earnest Worthing. Drawn to his wicked ways and immoral values which she knows causes her guardian so much trouble.

So when Algy comes on a Bunbury in the guise of Earnest she soon falls spectacularly love.

Cecily is great fun, wonderfully trivial and represents all the contradictions of the age in which she lives. She lives in the air not on the ground and has precious little contact with any sense of the outside world. Needs a very strong actress to imbue her with more backbone than the Edwardians allowed for.

 

Miss Prism

mid 50’s to early 60’s

 

Tutor to Cecily by day whilst harnessing much desire for the Reverend Chasuble. Miss Prism has a much more interesting past than outward appearances suggest.

As with all the characters, the inner life belies the trivial exterior landscape which they occupy. Miss Prism. A writer who has worked all her life in the big houses of society she has done the best her situation has allowed for.

 

Her inner life is given some expression through the play as the romance with Chasuble finally surfaces.

Miss Prism is akin to a teacher at school who perhaps did not have the full grasp of the disciplinarian. Her pupil of one runs amok, what she would be like with 20 more remains to be seen.

She has a heart of gold and an off kilter sense of humour.

 

The Reverend Chasuble

Mid 50’s to late 60’s

 

On the surface your typical Edwardian country parson. He is embroiled through the play in the plans for the rechristening of both male protagonist to the name of Earnest.

Yet a loneliness and sense of a life wasted seep up from the edges of a man easily described as comfortable.

An interesting actor is required to breathe life into the staid vestments of the very reverend Reverend. Too Earnest by half. A fastidious pedant to boot.

 

Laine

Male 40-70

 

Algernon’s man servant. Much put upon yet far smarter than his master. Worldly, exasperated and sparing in his language.

A very still, austere, ornament of a man is required. This is a surprisingly great role, but requires huge understatement.

Think Carson from Downton Abbey and multiply and you are on the right lines. Very Earnest.

 

Merriman

Male 40-70

Often doubled with Laine. Merman is the Butler to the Worthing Household.

 

Lady Bracknell

45-80

 

Her reputation goes well before her. The Indomitable Aunt. The original and best. A character who will outlive us all. She would no doubt have survived both world wars given the chance and still be living in her regal feathers taking afternoon tea at The Ritz (never the Savoy).Does not suffer fools or ill breeding. A snob seeping prejudice and rudeness out of every pore yet somehow we all suspect her heart breathes to a different beat.

Lady Bracknell defines Earnestness to her own fancy.

 

REHEARSALS

 

Weekday evenings from 6.30pm-10pm from 24th April 2017

Weekends from 10am-6pm from the 22nd April 2017

Production Week:

Monday  15th May 7pm-10pm – TECH

Tuesday 16th May 10am-6pm – TECH + 7pm-10pm DRESS

PLEASE DO NOT AUDITION IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO COMMIT TO THESE TIMES/DAYS

 

AUDITIONS

 

Auditions are by appointment, each lasting 15 minutes.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your allocated audition time, which will be given to you once you have emailed the contact below.

Please specify which role you would like to audition for when emailing Joe Malyan.

 

What to prepare:

 

Please can you prepare a 5-minute extract from the play in a character of your choice. It can be any extract – but ideally a duologue. You may also be asked to read another section by the director so be as familiar with the play in advance of the meeting.

 

Audition Date Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th March.
PLEASE NOTE: Auditions on Tuesday 7th March will only be between 12pm-4pm. 

Recalls on the 20th and 21st March.

 

If you are interested in taking part, please email Joe Malyan at joe.malyan@nullsouthhillpark.org.uk

 

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