Auditions for O Beautiful by Theresa Rebeck

Seeking a Large,  Diverse, Thoughtful, Empathetic and Courageous Cast • Over 20 Characters

O Beautiful

By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Michael Mufson
Performances OCT 5-14

Theresa Rebeck pens a theatrically inventive mash-up of contemporary American life and the history that got us to this politically polarized age. This fiercely funny story explores the lives of high school students, teachers, and their families as they cope in a world of real personal problems and extremist ideological rhetoric that gets so heated that Jesus, Saint Paul, Joan of Arc, John Adams, Patrick Henry, and Benjamin Franklin, among others, show up to weigh-in and mix it up.

Warning: This production contains controversial portrayals of Jesus and the Founding Fathers as well as mature themes and language.
Perusal Scripts available upon request: mmufson@palomar.edu

Performances are OCT 5-14, Fridays & Saturdays at 7 PM, Sundays at 2 PM and Thursday at 4 PM.

AUDITION INFORMATION

Open Call • Friday, August 24 • 6:30 PM • STUDIO THEATRE
Callbacks • Saturday, August 25 • 1 PM • STUDIO THEATRE

Please prepare  a 1 to 2-minute contemporary monologue – dramatic or comic

Rehearsals will be Monday – Friday 6:30 – 10:30 PM beginning August 27 and some Saturdays.

Technical Rehearsals will be Saturday & Sunday, September 29 & 30 10AM-10PM and October 1-4 • 5PM-11PM

Casting preference to actors with no schedule conflicts.

Participants are required to enroll for 2 units of college credit (TA 191 Rehearsal & Performance)


Character Breakdown:

General Context: O Beautiful is set within a mostly conservative, Christian community, and we meet characters from four different families struggling with basically all the “trigger issues” present in America today: teen pregnancy and abortion rights, gun control and gun violence, physical and cyber bullying, etc. Add to that controversy about who controls the high school curriculum and basic communication breakdown between the generations. On television, we’re presented with a Glenn Beck/Alex Jones type who (through the miracle of theatre) interviews some of the Founding Fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, trying to delve into their original intent, thereby forwarding his own agenda. Through it all, Jesus is available as a personal savior to all who invite him in, though it mostly seems that what they want is approval rather than counsel. Everything culminates in a town hall meeting that turns ugly with lots of rancor and very little listening. A prime example of what Civil Discourse is not.

 

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS:

ALICE FLETCHER: She has become pregnant from a date rape encounter and is struggling to make sense of her life.  She is intelligent, empathetic, outspoken and brave, but also confused and traumatized.

LENNIE RYAN: A sensitive young man who lacks confidence and does not fit in socially. He is an easy target for the Bullies.

LUKE SIMPSON: Bully.  Cool kid. Dating Gwen. Responsible for getting Alice pregnant but does not take responsibility.  Conservative Christian. Shames Alice for wanting an abortion.  Bullies Lennie.

GWEN TURNER: High School student. Cool kid. Dating Luke. Conservative Chrisitan. Bully.

ERIK WATERS: Hangs out with Luke and Gwen and participates with their bullying behavior, although he is generally not the instigator.:

PARENTS:

LINDA RYAN: Mother of Lennie.  Warm, loving and encouraging of Lennie. A bit naïve.  She is very concerned when her husband (Brian) starts to bring guns into their home.

BRIAN RYAN: Father of Lennie. Hangs out with the guys and is very susceptible to their peer pressure.  He is influenced by an “unnamable” fear that is currently pervasive in certain communities. He has recently begun to purchase guns.

ARLENE FLETCHER: Mother of Alice.  Kind and loving. Strictly Christian.

DON FLETCHER: Father of Alice. Tries to be a good father but is typically insensitive.

MARCIA TURNER: Mother of Gwen.  Conservative Christian.  Sees no flaws in her daughter.  Somewhat militant in her conservatism.

BRENDA WATERS: Mother of Erik.  Warm, loving and caring.  Fierce defender of her son.

JOE SIMPSON: Father of Luke.  Really into guns. Aggressive.

OTHER ADULTS:

TY JANALERIS: African American. In his first year of teaching History at the local High School.  His teaching becomes controversial because he insists on providing handouts to augment the prescribed text book.  He is a kind and stands up for the justice of his students.

SONDRA JANALERIS: Sister of Ty.  Wise and earthy.

SIMON WEST: Conservative talking-head on television.  Modeled after Glen Beck and quite simiar to Alex Jones of InfoWars.

MRS. LOOMIS: School Principal.  Caught between pressure from School Board, Parents and Faculty Union.

HISTORICAL FIGURES:

JESUS: Jesus relates and communicates as if he is another member of the community.  It is revealed later in the play that all the characters see and hear the “Jesus” that they wish to see and hear.  The actor playing Jesus must be a great listener, exude compassion and have some ability to mimic vocal rhythms and characteristics. Casting is open to all races, ethnicities, genders and ages.

PATRICK HENRY

ALEXANDER HAMILTON

THOMAS JEFFERSON

JOHN ADAMS

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

ST.  PAUL

ST. DENIS

JOAN OF ARC

OTHER PARENTS, TEACHERS, AND STUDENTS etc

 

for more information email mmufson@palomar.edu