ETCetera Stage – Andronicus
Last summer, the Elite hosted a table-read of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, adapted by Bill Walthall, and presented as an (almost-)ALL-female show. After this successful table-read, we will now attempt to mount a full production.
The concept of the production:
A virus kills nearly half of the world’s population, indiscriminate of race and age, but ultimately wiping out eighty percent of the male populace. As female victims fall soon after contagion, male nationalists rise to power across the globe. Conflict embroils the world, becoming brutally tribal. Modern weaponry quickly destroys the power and communication infrastructures, plunging humanity literally into a new Dark Age within months. THEN the virus takes its toll on the male populace; its victims become symptomatic and succumb after a year of incubation.
Time passes and modern weaponry runs out, giving way to older, more brutal warfare. Tribes with the strongest warrior women and most procreative men expand into city-states. In a reborn Roman Empire, the aging male Emperor dies, leaving a power vacuum. The Emperor’s two sons vie for rule, as the Senate votes to place the mantle of power onto the shoulders of Rome’s greatest general. Newly victorious after a decade-long war with the Goths, she returns with both war’s spoils–including the enemy’s queen and her three children–and evidence of its destruction–the remains of four more of her own warrior children.
Because of coronavirus concerns, auditions and (at least the early) rehearsals for Andronicus will take place in a completely different way. There will be a Google Form for auditioners to register for the audition and enter their information (background, role choices, conflicts, etc), then there will be an option for auditioners to upload their auditions from their computers or phones. Actors without tech or uncomfortable with tech can still register, but since many of the rehearsals (especially in the early going) will be via ZOOM, priority will be given to those actors with submitted self-tapes.
Callbacks, if necessary (it is more probable that this production will be cast directly from the videos), will be Thursday, March 26 (time TBD using ZOOM)..
Rehearsals for the short term will be an all-tech affair, on ZOOM.
“Think of it this way,” says director Bill Walthall. “We’re in a brave new world here. It calls for brave new ways of thinking and approaching the problem. Language and character will come first, movement later. Sure, it’s ass-backward, but let’s experiment and see what happens. And what else are you going to do, locked up in your rooms?”
The concept here is to do an (almost-)ALL-FEMALE cast for the play. The plan is to have every role save for Aaron to be performed by a woman. Aaron, in my head, MUST be an African-American male–for any number of reasons (but primarily: 1. the role is specifically written black; 2. the character will be presented as a touchstone for alienation).
This does not negate, however, the portrayal of some characters as male; there are a few roles that probably should be male, but most roles can be portrayed as any gender.
That being said, here’s what I see for the characters:
- TITA ANDRONICUS – a noble Roman general (thus must have the hardness of a weathered warrior); played FEMALE; to be played as at least 50 years old (no maximum); open race
- LAVINIA – Tita’s young (and only surviving) daughter, held from battle by her mother; played FEMALE; younger than 20 years old; open race
- LUCIA/IUS – Tita’s warrior child, and her second in command; has own child (Young Lucius); played FEMALE (though I would accept debate on this); older than 30 years old; open race
- MUTIUS – one of Tita’s four surviving warrior children (dies in first scene); could be played ANY GENDER; 20-30 years old; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Young Lucius and Ensemble]
- MARTIUS – one of Tita’s four surviving warrior children (gone after fifth scene); could be played ANY GENDER; 20-30 years old; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Goth 2, Messenger and Ensemble]
- QUINTUS – one of Tita’s four surviving warrior children (gone after fifth scene); could be played ANY GENDER; 20-30 years old (must be believable as Tita’s child); open race [NOTE: actor may also play Goth 1 and Ensemble]
- YOUNG LUCIA/IUS – Tita’s grandchild, Lucia/ius’ child; could be played ANY GENDER; to be played as younger than 13 years old; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Mutius and Ensemble]
- MARCUS – Tita’s older brother, a non-combatant but a tribune and political power-broker; could be played ANY GENDER (though I’m leaning male); older than 50 years old (must be believable as Tita’s older sibling); open race
THE OTHER ROMANS
- SATURNINUS – the late Emperor’s elder son; played MALE; younger than 30 years old; open race
- BASSIANUS – the late Emperor’s younger son (and betrothed to Lavinia); played MALE; younger than 30 years old; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Alarbus and Ensemble]
- AEMILIUS – a Roman noble; could be played ANY GENDER; open age; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Nurse and Ensemble]
- MESSENGER – could be played ANY GENDER; open age; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Martius, Goth 2 and Ensemble]
- NURSE – could be played ANY GENDER; older than 25 years old; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Aemilius and Ensemble]
- TAMORA – the captured Queen of the Goths (a combination of strength, regality, and sensuality); played FEMALE; 40-55 years old; open race;
- ALARBUS – Tamora’s eldest surviving child; could be played ANY GENDER; 20-25 years old; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Bassianus and Ensemble]
- DEMETRIUS – could be played ANY GENDER (though I’m leaning male); 18-25 years old; open race
- CHIRON – could be played ANY GENDER (though I’m leaning male); younger than 20 years old; open race
FIRST GOTH – a free Goth general; could be played ANY GENDER; older than 30; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Quinus and Ensemble]
- SECOND GOTH – a free Goth soldier; could be played ANY GENDER; open age; open race [NOTE: actor may also play Martius, Messenger and Ensemble]
- AARON – Tamora’s Moorish slave and lover; played by a male as MALE; older than 20 years old; African descent
Click on the BOLDED character names above for individual character sides.
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