Play Description & Characters
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Diane Samuelson
Paris, 1920. In a world turned upside down by WWI, Paris became a beacon of light, a place where those from different backgrounds and socioeconomic classes could come together and indulge in the excesses of what would come to be known as “The Crazy Years.” Still grieving from the losses of the war, France turned to American, and especially African American, culture in order to move forward. Some deeply resented this change, while many others zealously embraced it. This approach to Shakespeare’s classic comedy asks the question: How, after life-altering events, can we sort out what we are from who we used to be?
Please prepare a 60-90 second classical monologue (comedic or dramatic), and a short (under 2 minute) demonstration of one or more of the following: singing, dancing, playing an instrument, tumbling, combat – stage or martial arts.
For characters with specific skill requirements, experience is preferred. However, those with little or no experience but a strong willingness to learn will also be considered.
The role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek has been cast.
Viola (F, Mid 20s-Early 30s, African-American): A jazz performer shipwrecked in France, where the color of her skin and the perceived qualities that suggest make her a fascinating commodity. Dancing and music skills
Sebastian (M, Mid 20s-Early 30s, African-American): Viola’s twin, also a jazz performer. Dancing and music skills
Orsino (M, 40s, Caucasian): A crippled WWI veteran suffering from PTSD, he is the living embodiment of the war’s effects on France.
Olivia (F, 40s, Caucasian): A once beautiful woman now past her prime by society’s standards. Her father and brother both died as a result of WWI, and Orsino’s persistent attentions only remind her of that.
Malvolio (M, Mid 30s-Late 40s, Caucasian): A German hiding in France. He does not fit in, which makes him a target of anger and ridicule. Ballet or ballroom dancer, German accent
Sir Toby Belch (M, Mid 30s-Late 40s, Caucasian): Olivia’s opportunistic cousin. Only happy when he’s getting his way, Toby is the spirit of chaos. Preferably under 5’2”, tumbling/gymnastic skills
Maria (F, Mid 20s-Mid 30s, Caucasian): Technically Olivia’s assistant, but in reality Toby’s right hand. She knows Malvolio is German and has waited for the right opportunity to bring that information to light. Preferably under 5’2”, tumbling/gymnastic skills
Antonio (M, 30s-40, Caucasian): An openly gay former sailor. He is somewhat old fashioned and earnest, but eager to leave old ways behind.
Feste (Strongly prefer Transgender Woman or Feminine M, Mid 20s-Late 30s, Caucasian): Depending on the actor cast, Feste will either be a drag queen performer OR a transgender woman who, because of her cultural/temporal context, cannot be out about her gender identity, and so uses drag as a (more) socially acceptable way of expressing her femininity. Dancing and singing skills
Fabian (M, 20s-30s, Caucasian): A perpetual survivor, Fabian follows whomever he thinks is on top at any given moment. Preferably over 6′, gymnastic/tumbling skills, ability to lift actors playing Sir Toby or Maria.