Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When are auditions for Crimes of the Heart?

Who's asking: Various Lucky Stiff cast members and others

I think I've mentioned that I'll be directing Gaslight Theater's production of Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley this summer. Show dates are August 16-18 and August 23-25; performances are at Hallowell City Hall.

Auditions are now scheduled for Sunday, June 24 at 1:00 p.m. and Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. The cast is four women and two men, playing characters between the ages of 20 and 30.

Crimes of the Heart, if you've never seen the play or the movie, is the story of one bad weekend in the lives of the Magrath sisters. Lenny, a spinster turning 30, has spent her life taking care of their grandfather, who's about to die. Babe, the youngest, has just shot her abusive husband in the stomach after he discovered that she was having an affair with a teenager. Meg, the middle sister, has come home from Los Angeles, where her dreams of stardom have failed. The play is a comedy, but a black one, in the way you have to laugh because -- as the play explains -- it's really not fair to kill yourself.

The play's full of challenges, but the three I worry about most are 1) whether I'll even allow the actors to try Southern accents; 2) where I'm going to get Coca-Cola in glass bottles, a key prop; and 3) how I'm going to create the illusion of flaming birthday candles in a building that doesn't allow any kind of fire. I've already ordered the appropriate Acting with an Accent CD, but suggestions are welcome.


JIM LAMB said...

You can fake the accent. There are many accents in the South and I don't know if anyone in Maine will know the difference. I remember my first summer at the academy, I thought my classmates were making fun of me talking that way.

Then there is the old Norfolk accent which has been submerged by the flood of refugees from the North like me. And your Grandparents and your cousin Fritz spoke with that distinctive Charleston accent that went straight back to the seventeenth century and sounds more Down East or Nova Scotia than Southern.

As for Coca-Cola in the old six ounce bottles, I have some that you can "borrow" if you visit me this summer. I want them back though still unopened!

I'm still moving, but making progress. I can put you up for a few days if you give me warning.

Love, Dad

AnswerGirl said...

I know, Dad, but _I'll_ know the difference...

Might need to take you up on the Coca-Cola bottle offer. I'm sure whatever's in them isn't drinkable!

Claire said...

I know at least a couple stores in Montreal where you can get glass-bottled Coke, if you can't find it anywhere else.
Oh, and speaking of soda, Carolyn had a question for your blog: How were root beer floats invented?

AnswerGirl said...

Mmm, root beer floats. Good question.

Claire, I might well need to go to Canada for these bottles, because at least one actress does need to drink out of them.

Anonymous said...

If you feel like a road trip, you could look at places like Elmer's Barn or that funky antiques place on 202 near the Monmouth/Leeds Town line. I have seen bottles in both of those. they would require washing. for a further road trip: I know around Reston when I was there 2 years ago a lot of the Latin- Markets sold Mexican Coca-cola in Glass bottles. The Mex Restaurant in Ellsworth sells Mexican coke in glass bottles as well so it is in Maine somewhere. But I am sure you wouldn't mind a canadian road trip either


Anna said...

Is the fact that the characters are from the South integral to the story? If not, I'd skip it. I'm afraid you'll come to despise your cast after hearing bad southern accents night after night after night.

When my car died in Washington, Maine in 1998, I bought a coke in a bottle out of the machine at their general store on 17.

Kendra said...

Oh my gosh! I looked up to see when Crimes of the Heart auditions were [sometimes they post them other places before on the actual Gaslight site] and I found this.

I'm only 15 [almost 16.] So, I don't know if that'll make me not able to audition. But, just a suggestion about the accents. [I don't know if my opinion much matters.] I'd try finding people flexible with their voice. People who would easily be able to copy what they hear on dialect tapes and what not. I'd try it out - and if people aren't able to do it the way you want. Just don't have them do it.

AnswerGirl said...

I hope you'll try out, Kendra. Some older people look younger, some younger people look older, and I think the audition process itself should be fun and useful for everyone who comes out.

As for the accents, I don't want them to be a distraction for anyone -- not the actors and not the audience. If we can't get to a point where the accents both feel and sound natural, I'd rather do without.

Except for the mention of Hurricane Camille, the story could just as easily be set in Gardiner, ME as in Hazlehurst, MS.