Audition: The Tempest

Audition Dates:                     Sunday 11 March 6.00pm

                                             Monday 12 March 7.30pm

Recalls:                                 Tuesday 20 March 7.30pm

 

Performance Space:             150-seat theatre and open air at Putney Old Burial Ground

Performance Dates:              Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 June at 7.45pm (inside)

                                               Saturday/Sunday 7/8 and 14/15 July at 3pm (outside)

Rehearsal Period: Rehearsals will take place from mid-April at 7.30pm for two or three evenings on Monday to Thursday, as well as around three hours' rehearsal on a Sunday. On rare occasions there may be a need to rehearse on Saturdays and to rehearse on different days and times.  Most actors will be called for two or three rehearsals a week until the final few weeks, when actors should be prepared to rehearse on up to four days a week. 

 

Audition preparation

Please try arrive around ten minutes before the scheduled audition start time to fill in an audition form. Bring your diary so that you can let us know on your form about any dates during the rehearsal process when you are unavailable.

If you have skills in music, dance, mime, magic, circus etc, please inform the director at the auditions as these will confer an advantage in casting. 

Links to the audition pieces will be published online shortly (on this web page) Before the casting you will be asked to prepare the speeches and dialogues appropriate to the character(s) for which you would like to read, although you are not expected to learn them.

To facilitate planning we would appreciate it if you email the director, Stuart Watson before the audition date to tell us which audition you will be attending and which role(s) you would like to read for. However, don’t let that prevent you from attending if your decision to audition is made at the last minute. If you have any questions (about your suitability for a role, for example), cannot make the official date, or are having difficulty accessing the audition pieces then feel free to email.

stuart_watson@tiscali.co.uk

 

Please note: This is an amateur production. You do not need to be a member of Putney Theatre Company to audition, but actors and crew will need to become members of Putney Theatre Company to take part in the show (£20 a year), and actors must pay a £20 show fee.

 

The play

Aboard a foundering ship tossed by a violent storm the terrified passengers await their watery doom – but they will not die today. Instead the sorcerous tempest casts them away upon the shore of the strange and remote island of the wizard, Prospero, who they once betrayed, there to discover whether their mysterious host intends revenge or reconciliation. Shakespeare’s late, great masterpiece of love, freedom, treachery and forgiveness is replete with monsters, magic, music and wild comedy. 

This will be a fast-paced, high-energy production with an emphasis on clear storytelling and entertainment. Not all of the action in The Tempest is comedic, but the play is a comedy, and we will look to discover the fun, and where possible the funny, in each scene with the aim of engaging a wide audience including young people and those new to Shakespeare. The text will be cut (although only slightly, it is one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays) to keep the running time down to around two hours, so that it will be suitable for performance both in the theatre (where there will be five evening performances) and in the open air (where there will be four matinees spread over the following two weekends).

Through magic Prospero manipulates the people, creatures, objects and even the environment of the island. The sorcerer is the play’s puppet master, and we will explore the possibilities of puppetry in creating the strange beings and manifestations of magic that are central to the action of the play.

 

Roles

The Tempest is a magical fantasy and numbers a sorcerer, an airy spirit, a “savage and deformed slave”, nymphs, “strange shapes” and even goddesses among its characters. In that context almost any permutation of casting in terms of age or gender is possible, so we have avoided specifying playing ages or genders. Any of the characters could be played by a male or female actor, (including Prospero – or “Prospera”, perhaps)and there is significant scope for flexibility in characters’ ages. Where a gender-specific pronoun (“he”), or a family relationship (“brother”) is used in the character descriptions below assume that you could substitute “she” or “sister”. Casting will also be colour-blind. 

It is possible that some characters may be represented by puppets with actors providing their voices. Several roles may be doubled, and as well as the named principal roles below we will need an ensemble of actor-puppeteers to play smaller roles in addition to manipulating and providing voices for the puppets.

Puppeteers: If you have puppeteering experience, or are just very enthusiastic about getting involved in the puppetry aspect of the production, but you would prefer not to appear as an actor then please contact the director.

Musicians/singers: If you are a skilled musician or singer and would like to get involved in the production, but you would prefer not to appear as an actor then please contact the director.

Ensemble: A number of actor-puppeteers will be required to personate characters including Adrian, Francisco, the master of the ship, the boatswain, mariners, Iris, Ceres, Juno, and various other nymphs and spirits. 

Prospero: A powerful magician, formerly Duke of Milan, but usurped by his brother and now cast away upon a remote island. The play’s central character, speaking almost a third of the lines.

Miranda: Prospero’s young daughter, a child when he was exiled 12 years ago, who has grown up on the island and never seen another human being.

Caliban: The island’s only native, a “savage and deformed” creature, offspring of a (deceased) witch, Sycorax. Caliban now acts as Prospero and Miranda’s servant and is resentful of his servitude.

Ariel: A powerful “airy spirit” rescued by Prospero from Sycorax’s curse and bound to his service. Ariel longs for Prospero to release him. 

Alonso: King of Naples, enemy of Prospero. He is returning by sea from the wedding of his daughter to the King of Tunis when Prospero summons a storm that causes his ship to founder near the island. Alonso is grief-stricken by the apparent loss of his son in the wreck.

Antonio: Prospero’s usurping brother and ally of Alonso, shipwrecked with him.

Sebastian: Alonso’s untrustworthy brother, who plots with Antonio to kill Alonso and take his crown.

Gonzalo: A noble old counsellor who assisted Prospero at the time of his overthrow, now shipwrecked with Alonso. Mocked by Antonio and Sebastian.

Ferdinand: Son of Alonso, separated from him in the wreck, but not drowned. He meets Miranda and they fall in love.

Stephano: A drunken butler, also washed ashore after the wreck.

Trinculo: A jester, companion of Stephano. They plot with Caliban to murder Prospero.

 

Backstage opportunities available include:

Puppeteers (not strictly a backstage role, but you don’t have to be an actor to do this - see above)

Lighting operator

Sound operator

Set construction

Costume assistants

Make-up artists

Hair and wigs assistant

 

Please get in touch with stuart_watson@tiscali.co.uk if you are interested in getting involved.