Auditions: “Clybourne Park”

February 11 through February 15, 2017

Auditions for ‘Clybourne Park’

Auditions for the fifth production of our 2016-2017 season, ‘Clybourne Park’, will be held:

  • Saturday, 2/11, 10:00am
  • Wednesday, 2/15, 7:30pm

The play is written by Bruce Norris. The production will be directed by Kirk White.

All roles are open. Sides will be provided.

Performances are May 5th, 6th, 13th, 19th, and 20th at 8PM, and May 14th and 21st at 3 PM

Auditions will be held at Circle Playhouse, 416 Victoria Ave, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Synopsis:  This Pulitzer Prize Winning Play is a complex and nuanced exploration on the lengths to which “good people” will go to resist change.  The play is divided into two acts, each 50 years apart:

  • Act 1: 1959—Russ and Bev, middle class white Americans, are in the process of selling their Chicago Suburban home to an African American family (The Youngers from A Raisin in the Sun, for you trivia buffs). As this Chicago suburb is all-white, everyone shows up to try and convince them not to sell. As the act moves forward, secrets from all parties are brought to light and we learn that the reason Bev and Russ are leaving is that their son committed suicide in the house following his service in the Korean war. Russ is disgusted with their so-called “friends” and lashes out on the lack of empathy regarding their son. He reads his son’s suicide note and throws everyone out of the house. Nothing is resolved.
  • Act 2: 2009—Fifty years have passed and the neighborhood is now predominately African American. The house has also fallen into disrepair. A young white couple, Steve and Lindsey, have purchased the house and, to proceed with their major renovation project, must meet with the local housing board and get approval.  Lena and her husband, Kevin resist the proposed changes and push for the preservation of the property. Debates on contracts and regulations quickly disintegrate into tension as each side becomes convinced that  his/her race or sexual orientation is under attack.  An ill-timed diatribe on Political correctness escalates into an all-out free for all where everyone turns on everyone and nothing gets resolved.

Seeking seven performers to play multiple roles:

  • RUSS/DAN:   Male, Caucasian, late 40s.  ACT 1: RUSS: Broken over the death of his son, withholding a deep anger.  volatile. Think Walter White without the Meth.  There’s  a fuse lit in him when the curtain rises, find the moments when he tries to put it out.   ACT 2:  DAN: Contractor just trying to do his job who quite literally digs up the past.  He has no tangible connection to the players…so find the moments when he relates to unexpected sources.
  • BEV/KATHY: Female, Caucasian, 40s. ACT 1: BEV: Russ’ wife. Also broken but her hope keeps her alive… She believes this although sometimes the strain of carrying on for her AND her husband is too much.  Find those cracks.  ACT 2:  KATHY. Lawyer with a connection to two of the characters from Act 1…she used to live in the neighborhood but moved out when it de-segregated. If this is the case, how was her upbringing?  What are her beliefs?   Seeing the neighborhood turn to ruin JUST AS HER FATHER ALWAYS SAID IT WOULD had to have affected her…where are the moments when this is undeniable? Does she fight this or embrace it?
  • FRANCINE/LENA: Female, African American, 30s.  ACT 1: FRANCINE: Housekeeper for Russ and Bev.  Tries to keep out of it. Wants no part of it…not because of any systemic fear or wanting to maintain her “place” but because she’s afraid if she starts, she won’t be able to stop ACT 2: LENA.  Representative of the Homeowners Association.  Fights against the renovation, NOT because of the historical ramifications of the neighborhood…but for her own past.  She’s perhaps in over her head and there are definite moments when she feels the room is swallowing her whole…so where are the moments when she lashes out?
  • JIM/TOM/KENNETH: Male, Caucasian, late 20s.  ACT 1: JIM: Local pastor…asked by the Homeowner’s association to convince them not to sell…but does he have his own agenda? He’s good natured and perhaps genuine, but where are the moments when he’s working an angle?  ACT 2:  TOM:  Legal representative of the Historical interests in keeping the renovation from happening…he tries to move things along but in the end, has his own issues with the current home owners as well.  He’s all business… until it gets personal.  ALSO DOUBLES AS: KENNETH, Russ and Bev’s son from the 50’s for the play’s CODA.
  • ALBERT/KEVIN: Male, African American, 30s. ACT 1: ALBERT: Francine’s husband. His desire to help out, without fully understanding what is actually going on in the house, leads to conflict with the Mrs. He’s a good man caught in an unwinnable circumstance…but where are the moments he almost cracks?  ACT 2: KEVIN: Lena’s husband.  Tries to move things along. He’s a fascinating character as on the surface he seems to be saying the right things but there is something underneath his deliberate polite façade; something that boils over near the end of the act. What is that something? Why is it there?
  • KARL/STEVE: Male, Caucasian,  30s. ACT 1: KARL:  Neighbor to Russ and Bev and all in a tizzy over his property values after failing to convince (A Raisin in the Sun’s) the Youngers from not going through with the purchase.  The things he says could easily lend to turning him into the obvious villain of the act….find the moments where he’s the most logical. Give him a conviction of his cause that makes others look crazy for arguing with him.  ACT 2:  STEVE:  The new homeowner wanting to make renovations.  He plays the role of the “reversely” discriminated victim and once again, can easily be painted in broad strokes of buffoonery. He says the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Find the moments where his argument is compelling despite chewing on his foot…and then let it go wrong; horribly wrong.  Cringe worthy wrong.
  • BETSY/LINDSEY:  Female, Caucasian, late 20’s. ACT 1: BETSY:  Karl’s pregnant wife. She’s also deaf (sign language knowledge a plus). She gets dragged into the middle of everything…but doesn’t resent this. Perhaps she doesn’t get included often. Perhaps her husband always asks her to stay in the car. Find her moments where she communicates her frustration at this…even when trying to be gracious to her hosts.   ACT 2: LINDSEY:  Steve’s wife.  Also Pregnant.   She has a nerve permanently engaged and is concerned not just with getting her way, but with other’s perception of her.  She wants the crown and Ms. Congeniality.  Find the moments when those two desires are in conflict and she has to make a choice…do I get what I want or make people like me.

If you have any questions, please email us at circleplayersnj@gmail.com.