Sunday, 14 July 2024

College seeks actors, dancers for Havel's Temptation

UKIAH – The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department will hold auditions on Monday, Aug. 27 for the upcoming fall 2007 production of Temptation, Vaclav Havel's adaptation of the classic legend of Faust.

Mendocino College theater professor Reid Edelman will direct the production, with choreography by dance instructor Sandy Metzler.

Havel, an acclaimed statesman and playwright, wrote Temptation in 1986 while imprisoned for protesting human rights abuses in Czechoslovakia under the Communist regime.

His plays, outlawed in his own country until 1989, have been celebrated internationally. According to director Reid Edelman, “the play is a haunting absurdist comedy, similar in style to the works of Tom Stoppard and Eugene Ionesco. In a time when our own civil liberties are being redefined, Havel's examination of bargains made in the names of security and progress are disturbingly relevant.”

In 1989, Havel led the “Velvet Revolution” which peacefully ousted the Communist Regime from power. He was elected president of Czechoslovakia in 1990 and of the Czech Republic in 1993.

Temptation is a modern retelling of the classic Faust legend in which a doctor yearns to master all knowledge but finds that, in order to do so, he must promise his immortal soul to Mephistopheles, the spirit of hell.

Strangely, while in prison, Havel was given various versions of Faust to read. He adapted the legend into a darkly funny play set in a modern scientific institute in an unspecified totalitarian country.

This haunting tale with a demonic sense of humor will run in the college's Center Theater Oct. 26 through Nov. 4.

Interested performers should arrive at the college's Center Theater at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27 and plan on staying until 10 p.m. The initial audition will include physical and vocal explorations, ensemble exercises and readings of scenes from the play. No preparation or experience is required; however, all performers should wear comfortable movement clothes (sweat pants and t-shirts are ideal).

Some performers will be invited to attend additional call-back auditions on Tuesday, Aug. 28 and / or Wednesday, Aug. 29.

The cast will include 15 performers, including dancers and actors. The roles include:

  • Foustka: male, 20s-40s, a scientist at the institute. His occult investigations get him into some serious trouble.

  • Vilma: female, 20s-40s, a scientist and Foustka's lover.

  • Fistula: male, 20s-40s, a seedy demon with smelly feet.

  • Director: male, 40s-60s, the director of the scientific institute.

  • Deputy: male, 20s-40s, assistant to the director.

  • Marketa: female, 17-23, a secretary at the institute. Young, naïve, foolishly falls in love with Foustka. A variation on Shakespeare's Ophelia.

  • Kotrly: male 20s-40s, a scientist.

  • Neuwirth: male, 20s-40s, another scientist.

  • Lorencova: female, 20s-40s, another scientist.

  • Petrushka: female, 20s-30s, silent shadow to the deputy.

  • Houbova: female, 40s-60s, Foustka's landlady.

  • Dancer: male, 20s-30s, a professional tango dancer.

  • Messenger: male, 20s-40s, mysterious.

  • Two lovers: male and female, 18-25, the embodiment of pure and true love.

Rehearsals will begin in September and continue until the show opens on Oct. 26. Performances will run through Nov. 4.

Several college courses are associated with the production, and all performers will receive college credit.

In addition to the performance opportunities, numerous backstage production positions are available. Crews are needed to build scenery, props and costumes, as well as to work as stage managers, light and sound operators and run-crew.

For those with a particular interest in learning to build costumes, there will be a costume construction course taught by Kathy Dingman Katz. This class will meet Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

For those with an interest in learning to build and paint scenery, there will be a stagecraft course taught by David Wolf and Dan Stockwell. This class will meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Perusal scripts are on reserve now in the Mendocino College Library on the Ukiah Campus.

For additional information about auditions, or to join the backstage production team, contact Reid Edelman at (707) 468-3172.


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