Auditions for "The Book of Will"

antique map of old London, England

 

Audition registration is open for Lauren Gunderson's "The Book of Will" directed by Evan Mueller.

Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, January 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Performing Arts room 399. Callbacks are January 8.

Auditions are open to all current Western students. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required.

Synopsis

Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like "Romeo and Juliet." But without Henry Condell and John Heminges, we would have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays forever!

After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the First Folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They’ll have to borrow, beg, and band together to get it done. Amidst the noise and color of Elizabethan London, "The Book of Will" finds an unforgettable true story of love, loss, and laughter, and sheds new light on a man you may think you know.

Character Breakdown

We will be casting 10 actors and 3 understudies.

  1. Henry Condell
  2. John Heminges
  3. Richard Burbage / William Jaggard / Horatio
  4. Elizabeth Condell / Emilia Bassano Lanier / Fruit Seller / Marcellus
  5. Rebecca Heminges / Anne Hathaway Shakespeare
  6. Ralph Crane / Barman / Compositor / Francisco
  7. Alice Heminges / Susannah Shakespeare
  8. Ed Knight / Isaac Jaggard
  9. Marcus / Boy Hamlet / Crier / Bernardo
  10. Ben Johnson / Barman 2 / Sir Edward Dering

Descriptions of Primary Roles

  • Henry Condell – feisty, charismatic, confident & hopeful friend and actor, husband to Rebecca.
  • John Heminges – reasonable, careful, thoughtful & serious friend and financial manager; husband to Elizabeth.
  • Richard Burbage – seasoned lion of the stage, famous across England, loud and proud.
  • Alice Heminges – knows everyone, strong, smart, and loving, works in the tavern, John and Elizabeth’s daughter.
  • Boy Hamlet – young pretentious actor.
  • Ben Johnson – poet laureate of England, a friend/rival of Shakespeare.  ‘an amazing drunk’, comically pompous and playfully arrogant, surprisingly weepy.
  • Elizabeth Condell – savvy, fun, intelligent friend, wife to Henry.
  • Rebecca Heminges – strong, busy, loving, has weathered much but loving of her friends and family, wife to John.
  • Ed Knight – stage manager for the King’s Men, self-serious and particular.
  • Ralph Crane – humble scrivener of the King’s Men, quiet and introverted, but also quick and sure with a surprising confidence.
  • William Jaggard – successful but shady publisher of books, confident in his ability to get what he wants, a bit of a snake.
  • Isaac Jaggard – Sensitive and serious, an artist at heart, but also practical, son to William
  • Marcus – nosy but honest, a printer’s apprentice in the Jaggard’s print shop.
  • Emilia Bassanor Lanier – fiery and independent Italian woman, a lover of life, a feminist.
  • Anne Hathaway Shakespeare – strong willed, sly and intelligent, a survivor, Shakespeare’s aging and ailing wife.
  • Susannah Shakespeare – serious, well-behaved, and uptight, daughter to Anne.

Content Disclosure

  • This play depicts death, loss, and grief.
  • This play depicts verbal intimidation, threats of aggression, strong language, profanity, and bullying; including bullying directed at a character’s speech disorder.
  • This play depicts physical displays of affection between characters, such as hugging, handholding, kissing on the cheek, and similar physical contact which is affectionate in quality.
  • This play depicts both consensual flirtation, and what may be interpreted as sexual harassment or unwanted flirtation.
  • This play has moments of alluding to or discussing sexual intimacy.
  • This play depicts characters who drink alcohol to excess.
  • As ensemble members, all actors in this play will engage in robust movement and physical expression.

Character Actions Disclosure

Character actions disclosure

Act

Page Number

Scene

Characters

Action

1

12

2

Ensemble

Most characters are shown drinking, Example, Stage direction: “[…Alice keeps the beer coming.  They are drunk, hilarious compatriots.]”

1

13

2

Burbage

An example of verbal threats and intimidation: BURBAGE: “I’m going to have to kill that kid.  First, I’m going to kill the hack that pirated our play, then I’m going to kill the pimple that played my part, and just for shits and giggles I’m killing Ophelia too.”

1

19

2

John

Speech disorder: “[Getting upset, which triggers his stutter].  JOHN: “Just l-l-leave it, I said, leave it.”

1

19

2

Ensemble

Bullying.  Stage direction: “[The barmen explode into laughter and mock John’s stutter.]”

1

38

7

Rebecca, John

Kissing.  “REBECCA: “I love you.  Get to work. [Rebecca kisses John and goes.]

1

44

8

Henry, Elizabeth

An example of consensual flirtation, and possible kissing.  HENRY: “And now I need to kiss my beautiful wife.”  ELIZABETH: “Nothing in your way that I see.  [he chases her off.]”

1

25

5

Alice, Ben

An example of unwanted flirtation.  Dialogue: REBECCA: “Move away from my daughter, Ben.  I like your plays but not your reputation.”

2

61

1

John, Alice

An example of affectionate physical contact, stage direction: “[John runs to her (Alice), grabbing her in a desperate, huge hug.  They hug and hug and hug.]”

Moments of Violence

There are no choreographed moments of violence in this play.

Instructions for your audition

  • Choose one monologue, no longer than 2 minutes in length, show appropriate.
    • We are interested in contemporary monologues done with a British accent (any accent from England will do!) – but the accent is not required! 
  • Make sure to fill out the online form and sign up for an audition slot
  • Deadline to sign up is Friday, January 6 at 10 p.m. If you need to change your audition time or if you missed the deadline please reach out to Production Manager, Savannah LeCornu (lecorns@wwu.edu) to see what options might be available to you.
  • Audition: Auditions will be held from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. on Saturday January 7 in PA 399.
    • The day will be broken up into 5 minute slots.
    • You will only need to sign up for one of these slots.
  • Callbacks: Callbacks will be held in PA 399 on Sunday January 8th from 10am-2pm. The callback list and schedule will be announced via email on the evening of Saturday, January 7th after auditions. Students are responsible for checking their emails for information about callbacks. Sides from the script will be provided for the call backs, and actors who are called back should expect to work for an extended period of time on multiple sides with multiple pairings.
  • Vaccination Requirement: With the support of the department and the WWU Covid-19 Support Team, this production requires all student performers to be vaccinated, regardless of exceptions/waiver status. Participants will be expected to prove their vaccination status by either presenting their physical vaccination card or a clear and readable photograph of the front and back of the card.

Why we ask for certain information to audition

Questions on this form include opportunities to share information about your identity, including gender, race and cultural background. Your answers help WWU prioritize authentic, appropriate casting as called for in each script. Please share only what you feel comfortable sharing.

Our department is committed to anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices in all areas, including casting. Our goal is to create a casting process that is welcoming, absent of intimidation, and serves those auditioning as well as the creative team in the full exploration of the material in an environment of mutual trust.

In reference to the character descriptions below – these are descriptions of the characters as identified in the script and in collaboration with the creative team. They are not meant to be exhaustive of who should play these roles and we seek to cast expansively and intentionally. We are striving to make our production and audition practices inclusive of performers of all races, ethnicities, national origins, gender expressions, body types, and abilities.

We also recognize that these characters are written on the binary (use he/him or she/her pronouns) and we invite gender non-conforming, genderqueer, transgender, and non-binary actors to submit for any roles they identify with.  We also welcome performers of all abilities and are prepared to provide any reasonable accommodations and resources needed in order to cast performers with disabilities.  (Thanks to the Actors Theatre of Louisville for their language and inspiration in this statement).

Some questions on this form involve disclosing what you are comfortable with as a performer.  Show specific questions are below and you will also be given a longer, more detailed disclosure form to fill out the morning of auditions. You will be asked to return this form by 2 p.m. on Audition Day.

Additionally, there are some resources made available here to inform you of Western Washington University’s procedures and protocols for moments of intimacy in our productions.

Audition Resources

Below are links to very useful Word documents which are resources to inform you of Western Washington University’s procedures and protocols for moments of intimacy in our productions.

Production Dates

Please read thoroughly.

Rehearsal Dates

April 24 through May 18, Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Tech Rehearsal Dates

Longer call times. May 19 through May 25.

Performance Dates

May 26, 27 and May 31 through June 3. Note: Two-show days on May 27 and June 3, performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Strike

June 4 and 5. Time TBA.

List of rehearsal dates and times

Detailed rehearsal schedule
Date Day Time

April 24th

Monday

6-9pm

April 25th

Tuesday

6-9pm

April 26th

Wednesday

6-9pm

April 27th

Thursday

6-9pm

April 28th

Friday

6-9pm

May 1st

Monday

6-9pm

May 2nd

Tuesday

6-9pm

May 3rd

Wednesday

6-9pm

May 4th

Thursday

6-9pm

May 5th

Friday

6-9pm

May 8th

Monday

6-9pm

May 9th

Tuesday

6-9pm

May 10th

Wednesday

6-9pm

May 11th

Thursday

6-9pm

May 12th

Friday

6-9pm

May 15th

Monday

6-9pm

May 16th

Tuesday

6-9pm

May 17th

Wednesday

6-9pm

May 18th

Thursday

6pm-10pm

May 19th

Friday

5pm-10pm

May 20th

Saturday

10am-2pm, 4pm-8pm

May 21st

Sunday

10am-2pm, 4pm-8pm

May 22nd

Monday

6pm-10pm

May 23rd

Tuesday

6pm-10pm

May 24th

Wednesday

6pm-10pm

May 25th

Thursday

6pm-10pm

Audition Form

Webform

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Status message

Audition registration has closed. Please contact the department with any questions.

Authored on

Dec 12, 2022 12:28pm

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