Audition: Arsenic and Old Lace
By Joseph Kesselring
Read Through - 02/12/13, Auditions - 04/12/13
Performance Dates 08 - 12/04/14
Arsenic and Old Lace is a dark comedy written in 1939 that opened on Broadway in 1941. Frank Capra made it into a film in 1944 starring Cary Grant. It's the story of Mortimer Brewster, a young theatre critic who lives with his two aunts, and his mad brother who believes he is President Theodore Roosevelt. What Mortimer doesn't know is his sweet, old aunts have an unusual hobby - poisoning potential lodgers! His life is further complicated by the arrival of his other brother, Jonathan, who is a serial killer on the run with a drunken plastic surgeon called Dr. Einstein (no, not that Einstein). As things hot up for Mortimer it seems there are bodies hidden everywhere, and he fears he can no longer marry his lovely fiance as it would appear madness is so rife in his family tree that it is practically an heirloom! More than that, Jonathan has discovered that he and the aunts are on a level body count, and is looking at Mortimer as a way to increase his score!
The entire production takes place in the parlour of the aunts' boarding house and has a wealth of parts such that there is something there for everyone! It requires a minimum of 6 actors, 3 actresses, and has 3 roles that can be played by either gender. There is also the potential for a further 2 minor male roles if you feel like you'd like to try appearing on stage, but don't want to learn too many lines.
Rehearsals will be on starting early January.
Abby and Martha Brewster - described as 60s females, (but there is a degree of room for flexibility on this as makeup can assist in this regard so anyone over 40 could do these roles). The two sisters are described as sweet old ladies. They look prim and proper and are kind to children and animals. And have 12 dead bodies buries in their cellar.
Mortimer Brewster - 30s male, there is no fixed description for Mortimer aside from the fact that he is a drama critic. Mortimer is the straight man of the piece, saddled with the difficult task of trying to keep a straight face amidst the mania of the rest of his family.
Teddy Brewster - 40s male, is convinced he is President Teddy Roosevelt and is described as having a large black moustache in the style of the President so an existing moustache, a willingness to grow a moustache or at the least a willingness to have one glued to your face for 5 nights in April would be a bonus.
Jonathan Brewster - flexible age male but at least 30s. Described as tall and sinister looking, any resemblance to Boris Karloff would be a distinct bonus!
Dr. Einstein - again a male part which is flexible on age. Described as looking like a somewhat ratty, defrocked priest, Dr. Einstein is a skilled plastic surgeon with an unfortunate penchant for the bottle.
Elaine Harper - 20-30s female, Elaine is Mortimer's fiance, described as attractive and surprisingly chic for a minister's daughter.
Revered Harper/Lt Rooney - male roles 40-60s, these are two smaller parts that can be played by the one or two people as one appears in the first act, and the other in the second act. Reverend Harper is Elaine's father and is a respectable looking minister, while Lt Rooney is a long suffering and over-worked police lieutenant.
Mr. Gibbs/Mr. Witherspoon - male roles 50-60s, two more small parts that can be played by one or two people. Mr Gibbs is a prospective lodger who narrowly avoids a glass of wine fortified with arsenic. Mr Witherspoon is the head of a sanatorium who unfortunately decides he will try the wine!
Officer O'Hara - a medium size role that can be played by either gender and at any age. PC O'Hara is a beat officer who would much rather be a playwright.
Officer Brophy and Officer Klein - two smaller roles that can also be played by any age or gender, Officer O'Hara's long suffering colleagues.
There will be a read through for the play at the Oakwood Centre on 2nd 2013 at 7:30 p.m. This will be a SOCIAL EVENT where you are more than welcome to bring a bottle or some snacks if you so wish (discreetly through the foyer please). We'll read through the play, swapping roles to give everyone a chance to try the characters on. If you're interested in auditioning, this is an ideal opportunity to come and get a feel for the roles. If you've never tried acting before, then this is an ideal taster to try it out in front of a small friendly crowd. If you just feel like a pleasant evening with a bunch of thespians, then think of this as just a chance for a spot of fun!!
Auditions will then be held at the Oakwood Centre at 7.30pm on Wednesday 4th December 2013. If you'd like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me!
Otherwise I look forward to seeing everyone at the read through!
Ben May - Director