Auditions for “The Winter’s Tale”

Auditions will take place on:

Wednesday 23rd October, 7:30pm Club Room, Otford

Sunday 27th October, 10:30am Club Room, Otford

As a director, I always cast age/colour/gender-blind wherever possible. However, because of the importance of genetic offspring and inherited traits between certain characters, there are some that cannot be played any other gender than scripted without significant explaining needing to be added to the text, and certain physical features that need to match up. As such, where ‘required’ the gender is noted in bold italics.

All actors will play the same characters sixteen years apart (unless their character dies in the first half or wasn’t born yet in the first) so age is by default ‘playing age’ only. Oh, and Clown who is an infant in the first half and a teenager in the second.

Currently I’m thinking Bohemia might be northern English accents and Sicily southern English – but I’m open to any and all interpretations. The important thing is a naturalistic delivery, especially in the ‘Past’ section. The farcical ‘Present’ can be a little more declamatory GCSE Shakespeare, but the human drama of the tragedy must be spoken as if it were written today. It is therefore vital that you understand every single word. My ‘interpretations’ of the audition pieces are available upon request, or you can direct yourself to the various Shakespeare language interpretation websites such as “Shakescleare” or “No Fear Shakespeare” for some quality interpretations.

 

AUDITION ROLES BY SIZE OF PART

LEONTES – 531 lines – Male (can’t be female) – Lord of Sicily – Older adult (must be believably same age as Polixenes) – Plays himself two ages, sixteen years apart
Spends most of his time falling deeper and deeper into jealous miasma, believing his wife to be having an affair, only to repent and then dedicate himself to preserving love where he finds it. Showing the difference between these emotions – chronicling the descent into madness, the ‘come to’, and the change of ways vital to ensure he is seen as nasty when nasty, but sympathetic when reformed. Large part. His jealousy drives the tale. Some great speeches and a veritable thesaurus for the word ‘whore’. Some combat. Uses a wheelchair in the ‘present’.

PAULINA – 293 lines – Female (can’t be male) – Hermione’s lady’s maid and loyal servant to Sicily – Adult – plays herself two ages, sixteen years apart
Along with Camillo, one of two characters who consistently have their heads screwed on straight. Sees through her master’s miasma, and does her best to keep the family together. Almost succeeds, but can’t stop Leontes in time to save Mamillius – but she has a plan up her sleeve for Hermione. Married to Antigonus. Very sympathetic character, but with a mischievous streak.

CAMILLO – 269 lines – Male (could be female as CAMILLA) – A most honest servant of both Sicily and Bohemia – Adult – plays himself two ages, sixteen years apart
The puppetmaster of the second half, helping to reconcile the estranged brothers of Leontes and Polixenes. His quick thinking saved Polixenes’ life sixteen years ago, but it cost him exile from his home which he loves. An honest fellow. Perhaps too honest for his own good.

POLIXENES – 220 lines – Male (can’t be female) – Lord of Bohemia – Older adult (must be believably same age as Leontes) – Plays himself two ages, sixteen years apart
Along with Hermione, the focus of the brunt of Leontes’ rage – thankfully, he escapes before Leontes can enact his plan to have him killed. In the present, he follows his son, Florizel, to a festival to catch him in the act of flirting with a Shepherd girl unacceptable for his social station. Eventually relents and realises true love will out, and reconciles with his old friend. Quite old fashioned. Almost faints at the word ‘dildo’.

HERMIONE – 170 lines – Female (can’t be male) – Lady of Sicily – adult of age to be pregnant – ‘past’ only
Leontes’ wronged wife, falsely accused of adultery. Most of her lines are fantastic speeches she makes in her defence during her kangaroo court trial. She is not very emotional: she speaks how she is not one to weep. But she knows her mind and loves her husband and feels no shame in putting him in his place as he starts spreading false rumours of her infidelity. Unfortunately she can’t convince him of her innocence in time, but she has some great moments as she tries.

PERDITA – 157 lines – Female (can’t be male) – A Shepherd’s daughter, Clown’s sister, a seamstress – 16 years old (playing age) – ‘present’ only
The tomboyish daughter of a Shepherd. She is a bit rough around the edges. Sports bra, dungarees, preferably short  or rough hair – always engaging in play fights and pranks with her brother, Clown, or drinking and singing bawdy songs at the local pub. Changes costumes on stage to adopt a disguise, so briefly seen in underwear. Ideally would accompany herself during her songs with an instrument of some kind – guitar, uke, banjo, accordion, concertina, etc.

FLORIZEL – 148 lines – Male (could be female) – The Prince of Bohemia – late teens/early 20s – ‘present’ only
The foppish son of Polixenes who falls for a girl below his station (Perdita) so adopts the disguise of a shepherd to woo her without his father noticing (spoiler: he notices). Quite charming in a posh, princely way. Idealistic and happy to cast aside all primness and properness to chase after the woman he loves. He quite enjoys the shepherd life, and is willing to give up royalty and be a full time commoner. Changes costumes on stage to adopt a disguise, so briefly seen in underwear.

ANTIGONUS – 125 lines – Male (could be female as ANTIGONE) – Servant to Sicily and partner to Paulina – older adult – ‘past’ only
Put upon older servant to Leontes, and devoted husband to Paulina. He’s not afraid to challenge his master when he speaks badly of Paulina, but willing to suffer any abuse or task himself. Sympathetic character – does all he can to save Hermione and her unborn child, but doesn’t quite manage.

SHEPHERD – 116 lines – Male (can’t be female) – A Shepherd, and father of Clown and Perdita – Older adult (must feasibly have a twenty year old son) – plays himself two ages, sixteen years apart
A shepherd. He falls for Florizel’s disguise and thinks him just another (albeit odd) shepherd. Very proud of his two children – one a champion sheep shearer, and the other an artistic and musical prodigy. He is eager to ensure Florizel will look after his little girl, but also resolute that love is the most important thing, and if the young man can promise to love her, he is happy… until threatened by Polixenes

CLOWN – 98 lines – Male (can’t be female) – A Shepherd’s son, Perdita’s brother, a sheep shearer
A simple sheep shearer, but very good at his job. He and his sister have a friendly rivalry, but they love each other very much and always looking out for each other. He joins in with her pranks and silly songs (even though he doesn’t quite understand the rude bits) and is friendly with her new boyfriend. He also knows a little secret or two about her… He donates his clothes to Florizel to aid in his escape, so seen in underwear for about half a scene.

FIRST LADY/OFFICER – 56 lines (9/47) DUAL ROLE – A rather forward woman who quite fancies Mamillius/A forensic scientist – Female (could be male as ‘first gentleman’) – any age, as long as could feasibly be involved with Mamillius – ‘past’ only
As lady, one of two women who cavort with the young prince, eager for a taste of royalty. Potentially quite a sexy role in the ‘cavorting’, for any actor so inclined. As officer, a DNA expert and forensics officer who aids Leontes to discover the true parentage of his unborn child and to prove his wife’s unfaithfulness. These two roles could be re-split should enough people audition.

SECOND LADY/OFFICER – 53 lines (11/42) DUAL ROLE – A rather forward woman who quite fancies Mamillius/A forensic scientist – Female (could be male as ‘first gentleman’) – any age, as long as could feasibly be involved with Mamillius – ‘past’ only
As lady, one of two women who cavort with the young prince, eager for a taste of royalty. Potentially quite a sexy role in the ‘cavorting’, for any actor so inclined. As officer, a DNA expert and forensics officer who aids Leontes to discover the true parentage of his unborn child and to prove his wife’s unfaithfulness. These two roles could be re-split should enough people audition.

MAMILLIUS – 32 lines – The Prince of Sicily – Male (can’t be female) – mid to late teens – ‘past’ only
A young prince, who’s not really bothered by the whole royalty element. He just likes reading and romping with young ladies. But he dotes upon his mother, and is loath to hear his father badmouth her with no evidence. He defends her honour. Potentially quite a sexy role in the ‘romping’, for any actor so inclined. Drunk in one scene (acting – not real life please) and very, very ill in another. Some combat. Dies on stage (spoilers).

TIME – 30 lines – The physical personification of Time – Any gender, any age
With wings, scythe and hourglass, Time announces to the audience how time in the play works – how it is not beholden to the classical unities, and we’re going to be travelling to two times and two places. Needs to be absolutely electric. Magnetic. Godly. Very otherworldly. Mind bogglingly handsome/beautiful, and completely engaging in their delivery. Must captivate from first movement. Small role, but very memorable. Opens and ends the play.

YOUNG CLOWN – 0 lines – Clown as an infant – any gender – ideally young primary school age (playing age)
Clown, the Shepherd’s son, is about 20 in the ‘present’. In his appearance in the ‘past’, he is still a small child. No lines, but wanders onto the stage, playing with his teddy bear. He discovers a parcel of fairy gold, then his father – the Shepherd – wanders on after him, worried sick, but relieved he’s found him. Shepherd then brings Young Clown and the fairy gold off stage. Very small role, no lines, but huge adorability factor, and a great opportunity for a young child who wants a first taste of the stage with nothing too strenuous. Could be played by multiple children – different each night – to ease workload for parents.

 

ALL AUDITION PIECES ARE AT THE END OF THE ATTACHED PDF

 

Audition information - Winter's Tale

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Auditions for “The Winter’s Tale”
                   

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Auditions for “The Winter’s Tale”

Auditions for “The Winter’s Tale”

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