A little midsummer pick-me-up is always bolstering. Artifice was the beneficiary when prepping the Arts section schedule thanks a darkly delightful trio.
Chickasaw Civic Theatre (CCT) will hold auditions on Aug. 12 and 13, at 6:30 p.m., for their production of “Baskerville,” set to run Oct. 11–20. Director Leonora Harrison is looking for actors aged 18 and up to fill five spots, three of which play a variety of roles.
For the unfamiliar, it is Ken Ludwig’s satirical version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” It premiered in 2015 and earned good reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.
More information is at cctshow.com and on CCT’s Facebook page.
As briefly mentioned in the last issue, Joe Jefferson Players (JJP) will hold auditions on Aug. 18 and 19, at 6:30 p.m., for their upcoming version of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to run Oct. 18 – Nov. 3. Callbacks and overflow auditioning will be Aug. 20 if needed.
Director Eric Browne wants a diverse cast of 25 to 30 performers. Those auditioning should prepare a classical dramatic monologue from “Macbeth” or any other classical play. Each performer is allotted 60 seconds for an initial audition.
Registration and detailed character descriptions are available on JJP’s Facebook page.
From a post on Mobile Theatre Guild’s (MTG) Facebook page, they will stage “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Oct. 25 – Nov. 3 at their Lafayette Street facility. No information was given for auditions but expectations are they would need to happen soon to start rehearsal work for the musical.
Why are these productions so encouraging? Look at the themes and dates.
“Baskerville” is based on the eeriest of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, replete with dank moors and giant, demonic hounds.
“Macbeth” is a murderous romp interwoven with the supernatural. It starts with three witches amidst thunder and lightning then follows ambition’s descent into depravity.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a well-known riff on horror tale staples folded into a countercultural pastiche. Its infectious tunes and film version fostered a cult following for nearly a half century now.
They’re all Halloween-appropriate plays running at the height of haunting time. Though you probably don’t recall, a late October 2018 Artifice made note of JJP’s “Young Frankenstein” and the play’s mid-winter run, that October would be best suited for productions like it and late-Summer 2016’s “Sweeney Todd.”
The column went on to say while Playhouse in the Park has been excellent with staging Halloween works each year – they’re running “Frankenstein” Oct. 25–27 this year – they’ve been alone furthering the spirit of the season, in a season made for spirits. More troupes should use it to their advantage.
Now it looks as though they have. Is this proof someone actually reads and heeds what’s written here? If so, let’s test the waters a little more.
This time of year some of our local community theatres hold their annual award ceremonies. JJP recently distributed Joeys. MTG hands out Zoghby Awards on Aug. 3.
What if we had something further reaching, more encompassing? Artifice would love to see a body give out awards for all performances by all companies in the Mobile Bay area, in both Baldwin and Mobile counties, youth categories and adult categories.
It would certainly gather more attention – think “Saenger Theatre and rotating klieg lights.” That could result in a bigger, wider public presence for community theatre likely to up the ante on future shows and ticket sales.
How do you manage it? You need nominators and voters able to see each production by each company. It wouldn’t have to be the Tony Awards’ 40-person nominating panel and 800 voters but certainly more than a handful.
That means you’d need to pay for their attendance at shows, maybe gasoline for them to get there as well. It’s only fair. That sounds like work for a nonprofit to me. So, the big hurdle would be the big bucks.
I’ve caught word someone in Mobile has bounced around the idea, but they’ve also got other grand schemes to keep their attention diverted right now. Most of it involves facilities construction.
Speaking of expenses, it would be great to see at least one stage play a year bringing together our very best professionals, equity cards or not. Artists know the best inspiration is proximity to intimidating talent and it could push aspirations plus build an audience for more. Once again: big ideas mean big bucks.
Mobile is a gardener’s delight. We’ll see if that includes a money tree.
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