A drama by Scott McPherson
Directed by Annette Winter
WHEN: Sunday, November 13, and Monday, November 14, 7 – 10 PM
WHERE: The Barn Theatre, 32 Skyline Drive, Montville, just minutes off Route 287, Exit 47. Click here for map/directions
Callbacks: Date and time to be determined (by invitation only).
Performance dates: January 13 to February 4, 2012 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). Presented through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.
SYNOPSIS: Sisters Bessie and Lee, estranged since their father’s stroke nearly 20 years ago, are brought together under unexpected circumstances. Bessie, who has been caring for her ailing father Marvin and Aunt Ruth, learns that now she too is sick and turns to her sister for help, bringing to surface long-buried resentment and overwhelming love. This critically acclaimed, award-winning play goes on a transcendent journey and, what appears to be a serious drama about dying, quickly becomes a very funny comedy about living.
Cast Requirements: Select character descriptions listed. For additional character information, please check our Facebook page, or visit www.barntheatre.org.
Bessie: (Female, 40s-50’s) Bessie has been caring for her sick father and aunt for over 20 years. Actions make character, and Bessie's actions are almost without exception selfless and loving. She cares for Marvin and Ruth both physically and emotionally, devising the mirror and light diversion for her father, and sharing Ruth's interest in soap opera. There are moments of ambivalence towards Lee when her sister first arrives from Ohio, but Bessie can never bring herself to be directly harsh or explicitly hurtful. It is difficult not to see Bessie as a kind of saint. Despite all the demands levied by her family, despite her own onrushing death, she remains steadfastly loving to everyone around her, an unselfish believer in the blessings of life, however minimal they may seem.
Lee: (Female, late 30s-40’s) In contrast, Lee is younger, rambunctious and self-absorbed Lee declares herself right off the bat in her first scene in the "mental institution.” After being told by Dr. Charlotte that there is "no smoking anywhere on this floor" she declares, "I'll be very quiet then," and lights up. With a single action, she reveals herself as a rule-breaker, intent on her pleasures regardless of the prohibitions. Unlike Bessie, whose life for twenty years has been unvarying in its focus on Marvin and Ruth, Lee still talks about her life finally really getting started. While Bessie has lived in the same house undisturbed for twenty years, Lee has had her house burned to the ground by her crazy son. Where Bessie has had a single, unfulfilled love, Lee seems to have had a string of relationships, all somewhat rocky, and none enduring.
Hank: (Male, 16-21) Hank has burned down his mother's house, which is a pretty telling action for any character. It suggests, at the very least, that he is angry with his mother, and dissatisfied with the sort of home that she has provided. Burn down the house, and you eradicate the past that has made you miserable. Of course, such symbolic actions aren't magic: they can't erase or even change the past. But they do express feelings and desires pretty clearly.
Ruth: (Female, 65-90) Ruth describes herself with a fair amount of clarity--and honesty--as "a silly old woman dressing up for a TV show.” After years of pain and immobility, her life has been reduced to watching television, and living vicariously through its characters. But there is more. Above all, she has Bessie, to whom she always turns for comfort and help. When they embrace, with Lee standing apart and watching their loving attachment, we see the human link that keeps Ruth alive.
Charlie: (Male, 10-14) Charlie is the boy who is doing poorly in school because he reads too much; whose mother begs him, "Charlie, please don't read. You're at Disney World.” Brief strokes, but enough to conjure up a whole person. Like his brother, he seems to want to be "someplace else," and the way he gets there is through books.
Please arrive within the first hour of the audition to register. All roles are available. Casting is open, and newcomers are welcome and encouraged.