The Penelopiad and GHOST PIXCELLS Audition Notices
1. The Penelopiad
This is a notice that Auditions for Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad are coming up SEPTEMBER 8th-10th!
- Auditions: Wednesday, September 8th, 6pm-10pm – Alexander Stage
- Callbacks: Friday, September 10th, 6pm-10pm - Alexander Stage
How to audition:
- Familiarize yourself with the play.
Copies of the play can be accessed via the attached google doc (you will need to request permission to view).
The description of the play is below:
Written by Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood (author of "The Handmaid's Tale), and based on her novel of the same title, "The Penelopiad" is a poetic, feminist re-imagining of Homer’s epic poem, "The Odyssey," from the point of view of Odysesus' wife, Penelope, and her twelve maids, whom Odysseus killed in a rage. Written in both poetry and verse, the play utilizes singing and dancing as well as acting by the performers. All actors, except Penelope, play multiple characters and genders. The text calls for women to play all the roles.
Penelope, the wise and patient wife of the ancient Greek hero Odysseus, has passed beyond the veil of death. From Hades - the land of the dead - Penelope can see everything about her past and present, including her historical reputation as a "perfect wife." However, she is haunted (literally) by the deaths of her twelve maids, slaughtered by Odysseus under false pretenses. Begging the audience not to follow in her footsteps, Penelope-- and her maids -- struggle to retell the story of "The Odyssey" from their point of view, through a series of visions spanning their lives with scenes, songs, and dances.
*PLEASE NOTE: This play deals with frank discussions of sexual violence and assault. The physical depictions will not be realistic but will be done through choreography and tableau.
Our expectation is that when you arrive at your audition, you will be well-versed in the script and have read it entirely. If you have questions about how elements of the script will be depicted, the callback is your time to ask. Your attendance at the callback is your agreement to play any role in which you are cast, and to perform the required elements of the play. If you have questions, please ask before casting is complete.
- Sign up for an audition slot on the attached spreadsheet.
Please sign up for a 5-minute timeslot on the attached spreadsheet! You will be expected to arrive to your audition time 10 minutes early to fill out your audition form and warm-up.
- Prepare and memorize ONE monologue of your choice AND a song.
Please memorize and prepare one monologue of your choice between 60 – 80 seconds long. The monologue may be either classical or contemporary, but should demonstrate the following:
o Understanding of a dramatic text
o Your strengths as a performer
o Some kind of physicality / movement*
*If you have dance experience and would prefer to show a 30 second piece of choreography (acapella) after your monologue, this is also an option.
You should also plan to sing one of the following songs: The National Anthem, Happy Birthday, or Amazing Grace.
*PLEASE NOTE: When you enter the audition room you should slate with your name and pieces. If you are unsure what this means, please feel free to reach out to me!
- Any other talents?
Are you a Singer? Dancer? Play an instrument? Beatbox? We would love to know!
There will be space on your audition form to indicate if you have any other performance skills. We are looking for a diverse ensemble with strengths in various areas of performance. If you note a skill on your audition form, please be prepared to share it with us in the room.
***A few notes about casting: The Penelopiad deeply explores gender dynamics and the voices of those historically marginalized due to their gender. As such, the entirety of the play is performed by an ensemble of maids who don multiple characters throughout the show. Actors must be comfortable playing multiple roles of varying genders as written in the script.
Female, Trans/Nonbinary, and Genderfluid actors are all welcome to audition.
Additionally, there is also a high probability that many (if not most) actors will be flying over our stage using harnesses or bungees. You will be asked to sign off on your comfortability with this on your audition form. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
The double casting listed here is from the original production performed at the Swan Theatre. Depending on those cast, these doublings may be shifted to fit our ensemble.
The titular character and the narrator of the play. She is daughter to King Icarius, mother to Telemachus, and wife of the famed Odysseus. Though traditionally lauded for her modesty and devotion, Penelope strives to change the perception of her own narrative, demonstrating her wit, cunning, and courage.
ODYSSEUS / MAID (M / F)
Husband to Penelope and father to Telemachus. He is the main protagonist of Homer’s Odyssey, renowned throughout the Greek world for his intelligence, strategy, and courage. Though he and Penelope share a genuine bond, Penelope is often overshadowed by her husband’s deeds.
TELEMACHUS / MAID (M / F)
The son of Penelope and Odysseus. He is spoiled and impulsive due to his royal upbringing and coddling from his nursemaid, Eurycleia.
HELEN / MAID (F / F)
Penelope’s cousin, famous throughout the Greek world for her divine beauty. Though men in the play fawn over her, Penelope characterizes Helen as inconstant, vain, and cruel.
MELANTHO / MAID 1 (F / F)
One of Penelope’s Twelve maids and her closest confidante. She is one of Penelope’s chief defenders against the Suitors.
MAID 2 (F)
One of Penelope’s Twelve maids, her most trusted servants.
ORACLE / MAID 3 (F / F)
A fortune-teller who foretells of Penelope “weaving her father’s shroud,” prompting Icarius to forsake her.
ANTICLEIA / MAID 4 (F / F)
Queen of Ithica, mother to Odysseus and wife to Icarius. She is characterized by Penelope as aloof and cold, concerned with decorum.
NAIAD MOTHER / MAID (F / F)
Penelope’s mother, a water nymph largely absent for Penelope’s upbringing. She introduces the motif of water, reminding her daughter to be steadfast and yielding.
EURYCLEIA / MAID (F / F)
First Odysseus’ then Telemachus’ nursemaid in the palace of Ithica. She is known for being a busybody and a gossip, spoiling Telemachus to Penelope’s chagrin.
ANTONIUS / SUITOR 1 / MAID (M / M / F)
One of the most lecherous suitors. Aggressive, boorish, and crude, he seeks Penelope’s hand in marriage in Odysseus’ absence.
ICARIUS / SUITOR 2 / MAID (M / M / F)
Father to Penelope. He attempts to dispose of her early in life, becoming outwardly affectionate towards her when she is rescued.
LAERTES / SUITOR 3 / MAID (M / M / F)
King of Ithica, father to Odysseus, husband to Anticleia. He is more passive than his son, allowing him (and later Penelope) to run the kingdom.
The following are the production and performance dates for The Penelopiad. For this production to be successful, we will expect actors to attend frequent, regular rehearsals as follows. Not every actor will necessarily be called to every rehearsal.
*PLEASE NOTE: All actors will be expected to list any/all conflicts with the following schedule in advance on their audition forms. Barring exceptional circumstances, the only conflicts that will be excused are those listed on audition forms. Large conflicts may impact casting decisions.
Auditions: Wednesday, September 8th, 6pm – 10pm
Callbacks: Friday, September 10th, 6pm – 10pm
First Rehearsal: Monday, October 18th, 6:30pm – 10pm
Weekly Rehearsal Schedule
Monday – Friday, 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Tech Week: Thursday, December 1st – Wednesday, December 8th*
*Actors may be working longer hours during this period, specifically on Saturday, December 4th
Thursday, December 9th, 8pm
Friday, December 10th, 8pm
Saturday, December 11th, 2pm
Saturday, December 11th, 8pm
Sunday, December 12th, 2pm
The production team of The Penelopiad is requiring all actors cast in the show to be fully vaccinated (and provide appropriate verification to Whitman’s administration). Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about this.
We also may (depending on campus policy) be masking for the duration of rehearsals. We will be providing mask spacers for easier breathing to those cast. The stage management team is committed to collaborating closely with actors to ensure that they feel safe and supported during this period of transition into physical spaces.
It is unknown as of now whether actors will be required to wear masks during performance. We will be chatting with those cast about our contingency plans during our first rehearsals.
Whitman College is further requiring all audience members to be masked AND fully vaccinated.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me by email at email@example.com
2. GHOST PIXCELLS
Each Choreographer will make original work with their cast. There are no predetermined parts, skill or genre requirements, or preparations needed for the audition. Just show up-you will learn the material at the audition. Casting notifications will be made by the afternoon on Friday (Sept 10).