Audition Notice: WIT

October 20th, 2018

Wheaton Drama (WDI) proudly announces auditions for the Pulitzer Prize winning drama, “Wit”, by Margaret Edson.  Directed by Lisa Dawn and produced by Mike Boyna.

Auditions will be held Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th starting at 7pm, with callbacks as needed on Tuesday, November 13th.  Auditions will be held offsite at 112 N Wolf Rd, Northlake IL. To request an audition, please fill out the audition form and email it to WDIWitAuditions@gmail.com, along with your preferred audition date.  The date and scheduled time for your audition will be emailed back to you, along with sides for you to prepare and directions to the audition site. Walk-ins are welcome but will only be seen as time allows.

Performances of “Wit” will take place January 18 through February 10, 2019; Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm.

Audition Form available for download here: Wit Audition Form


Synopsis:  

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned scholar and professor of English who has spent her life studying and teaching the metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.  During the course of her illness – and during her stint as a patient in an experimental chemotherapy program – Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and the audience.

“[A] brutally human and beautifully layered play…you feel both enlightened and, in a strange way, enormously comforted.” – The New York Times

 

Characters:  

NOTE: All characters in “Wit” are open to all ethnicities.  Age preferences are listed*

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D. (Age 50’s) – The play’s main character and narrator.  As a professor, she is infamously tough, and as a scholar she is unrelenting in her pursuit of knowledge.  But as her disease and its painful treatment progress, she begins to question the single-minded values and standards that have always directed her, finally coming to understand the aspects of life that make it truly worth living.  You’ll also find that she contains elements of…humor.

Harvey Kelekian, M.D. (Age 50’s) – Chief of Medical Oncology and not only responsible for Vivian’s treatment but all of the medical fellowships, including that of Jason Posner.  Vivian and Kelekian are like-minded peers who speak different languages.

Jason Posner, M.D. (Late 20’s) – A medical fellow in Dr. Kelekian’s Oncology unit responsible for much of Vivian’s care.  Coincidentally, he was once a student of Vivian’s. Much like Vivian, his passion for research far outweighs his interest in personal connections.  

Susie Monahan, R.N. (late 20’s-30’s) – Vivian’s primary care nurse.  Though not considered “book smart” by scholarly standards, she shows Vivian that there is more to life than what can be taught in a classroom.  

E.M. Ashford, Ph.D. (Age 50-80’s) – Professor Ashford is Vivian’s college professor/mentor.  Though Ashford passed on to Vivian her unrelenting work ethic and thirst for knowledge, she also urged Vivian to find balance in life through personal connection – which she gives to Vivian in her time of need. Ashford is first seen at age 50 in a flashback, and then again at age 80.

Mr. Bearing (Played by the same actor as Kelekian) – Vivian’s father seen in a flashback from Vivian’s early childhood during the moment she acquired her passion for words.

Lab Techs, Clinical Fellows, Vivian’s students, Code Team (Age 20-30’s, preferably 2M, 2F) – Each of four actors will play four distinct characters, one from each of the above groups. These are roles that drive the action and represent aspects of Vivian’s journey, past and present, continually.  Seeking actors well versed in characterization and improv.

“Wit” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Services, Inc., New York, NY.

Casting Announced: SILENT LAUGHTER

October 3rd, 2018

Wheaton Drama, Inc. (WDI) announces the cast for the next show in its 2018-2019 season, “Silent Laughter” by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore (“Love, Sex and the IRS,” “Confessions of a Dirty Blonde,” “The Senator Wore Pantyhose”).  An homage to the slapstick days of early silent movies, “Silent Laughter” is the story of Billy, a hapless schnook in New York, 1917.  Not just a retread of pie fights and pratfalls (although they are certainly present), “Silent Laughter”takes up the challenge of presenting death-defying Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin/Harold Lloyd style gags, with a bit of Laurel & Hardy and Musty Suffer.

“Silent Laughter” will run November 16 through December 9 at Wheaton Drama, 111 N. Hale Street, Wheaton, IL.  For reservations and information, go to www.WheatonDrama.org.

Director: Craig Gustafson  Production Manager: Elyse Willis.  Stunt Choreographer: Andrew Trygstad.

 

THE CAST

Billy (The Hero) – Jake Murphy

Ruth (The Heroine) – Mackenzie Grattan

Billy’s Pal (Billy’s Pal) – Peter Lemongelli

Lionel Drippinwithit (Billy’s Arch-Enemy) – Matt Hellyer

Sarge (Billy’s Nemesis) – Steve Schroeder

Max the Thug/Brewster Thickwad III/Maitre D’/Newsboy – Sage Brown

Max’s Dame/Lovestruck Woman/Office Girl/Cop/Prisoner/Recruiter/Old One-Armed Man/Enemy Soldier/Bridesmaid – Amanda Fisher

Man With Fruitcake/Lovestruck Man/Worker/Cop/Prisoner/Soldier – Dave Amato

Priest/Vendor/Janitor/Dowager/Butler/Old Bearded Man – Ken Kaden

Singing Waiter/Drunk/Fat Lady/ Worker/Cop/Prisoner/Soldier/Baker – Andy Kanturek

Register NOW for Late Fall Kid’s Workshop!

September 30th, 2018

STUDENTS “ACTING IT UP” AT WHEATON DRAMA

1st Grade Through 8th Grade Classes

A six week workshop designed to strengthen the acting “muscle”. Through acting games and exercises, each week students will work on a different aspect of acting technique such as movement, voice, characterization, pantomime, plus others. Teamwork, focus and listening are added benefits in this acting workshop. Students will also work on a short 15 min skit to apply the skills learned and will perform at the end of the last class. Session will be posted throughout the year as they become open for registration (roughly a month before the class starts).

All sessions will be on Tuesday afternoons at these times:

Grades 1 – 4:  4:00 p.m. until 4:55 p.m.

Grades 5 – 8:  5:00 p.m. until 5:55 p.m.

Tuition: $100 per session per child

Registration: www.wheatondrama.org/order-tickets/

 

Dates:

Late Fall Session: October 30 – December 11 (Make Up December 18 – Note no class November 20 due to Thanksgiving) Registration Now Open!

Winter Session: January 8 – February 12 (Make Up February 19)

Spring Session: March 5 – April 9 (Make Up April 16)

Late Spring Session: April 30  – June 4 (Make Up June 11)

 

Note: Classes are subject to change based on enrollment. Registration for each class will be open one month before the class begins. If there are not enough students enrolled in any given session then the class may be cancelled. Notification of a cancelled class will be sent out one week prior to the start of class and all money will be refunded. Registration for classes close the sunday before class begins.

 

Staff: All staff are certified teachers who go through extensive background checks each year.

 

Contact Elyse Willis for more information at wdieducation@gmail.com  or call 630.260.1820 and leave a message about registration.

Audition Notice: SILENT LAUGHTER

September 11th, 2018

Wheaton Drama, Inc. (WDI) announces auditions for the next show in its 2018-2019 season, Silent Laughter by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore (Love, Sex and the IRS, Confessions of a Dirty Blonde, The Senator Wore Pantyhose).  An homage to the slapstick days of early silent movies, Silent Laughter is the story of Billy, a hapless schnook in New York, 1917.  Not just a retread of pie fights and pratfalls (although they are certainly present), Silent Laughter takes up the challenge of presenting death-defying Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin/Harold Lloyd style gags, with a bit of Laurel & Hardy and Musty Suffer.  If you love this type of comedy, now is your chance to perform it.

What to expect at auditions:

“DELIGHTFUL! An affectionate amusing tribute to the heyday of silent film comedy with romance, high and low jinks and a climactic pie fight.”– The New York Times

“A tour-de-force! Hilarious! Clever! This is one crowd-pleaser where you needn’t feel embarrassed to be part of the crowd. Van Zandt directs the uproarious proceedings with precision and flair. An ensemble of 10, which executes gifted mime, balletic pratfalls, and operatic emotions, all with brio.”– The Village Voice

“An adoring salute to the golden age of film and an innovative twist on live theater! You won’t hear a single word uttered in Silent Laughter, but the show offers quite a bit to see and hear.Silent Laughterdisplays a wholly original brand of ‘musical theater.’ There is considerable sophistication and subtlety in this production.” – Associated Press

“An imaginative, respectful, reverential stage recreation of the slapstick antics of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mack Sennett’s Keystone Kops, and the rest. Cleverly devised. The silence may be on stage, but the laughter is in the audience!” – Two River Times

Craig Gustafson is directing.  Production Manager: Elyse Willis.  Stunt Choreographer: Andrew Trygstad.

To get a feel for what the show will be like, check out the commercial for the original off-Broadway production:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fPxYPWtJDI, or start watching all the Buster Keaton silent films you can find; especially Sherlock, Jr.

In order to best utilize the time of actors auditioning for Silent Laughter, auditions are by appointment only at Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale Street in downtown Wheaton.

When asked what actors will have to do for auditions, director Gustafson’s response has been, “Monologues.”  Well… not exactly.  When you apply for an appointment, you will be sent audition sides unrelated to the show.  “These will be dialogue scenes,” explains Gustafson.  “People talk to each other in silent movies; we just don’t hear them. What I will be looking for is how you physicalize the scene; how visually expressive you can be.” Additionally, stunt choreographer Andrew Trygstad will have exercises to gauge how physically adept the actors are.  Dress to allow movement.

The process is as follows:

Beginning on September 16 (and not before): to schedule an appointment, please e-mail SilentWDI@comcast.net.  State your name and which day you would like to audition.  Attaching a headshot and resume is acceptable but not required.  Audition sides will be sent to you when your appointment is scheduled.

  1. Actors will be scheduled for October 1 or 2.If all slots fill up on those dates, other dates will be added.
  2. Actors will be assigned a call time, either 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, 9:00 or 9:30 p.m.
  3. Actors will be assigned to a group and will spend 30 minutes in the audition.
  4. Walk-ins will be seen onlyif there are any cancellations or open slots, so making an appointment is strongly encouraged.
  5. Those cast or called back will be called by noon on Wednesday, October 3.Actors who are not cast or called back will be contacted by e-mail.  If necessary, callbacks will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3.

Performances of Silent Laughter are November 16 – December 9, 2018.  Shows are Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm.  There will be no performance on Thanksgiving. Auditions, rehearsals, & performances will take place at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111, located at 111 N. Hale Street, Wheaton, IL 60187.

For tickets and information, please visit http://www.wheatondrama.org.

Silent Laughter is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

 

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS

Cast size is eight men and two women.  All actors must be able to perform dexterous physical comedy. Any actor cast as someone other than those listed below will play many characters.  Many, many characters.  It is truly an ensemble show with major comedic moments for all.

 

BILLY – The Hero.

RUTH – The Heroine.

BILLY’S PAL – Billy’s Pal.

LIONEL DRIPPINWITHIT – Billy’s Arch-Enemy.

BREWSTER THICKWAD – Billy’s Boss and Future Father-in-Law.

MAX THE THUG – Billy’s Cellmate and Foxhole Buddy.

SARGE – Billy’s Nemesis.

And a Cast of Hundreds.

 

If you have any questions, contact Craig Gustafson at SilentWDI@comcast.net.

Best of Luck to our 2018 Scholarship Winners

August 14th, 2018
Congratulations to Wheaton Drama’s 2018 Scholarship recipients: Katherine Schaber and Richard Gieser.

Katherine Schaber is a graduate of Hinsdale Central High School and is attending Boston University School of Theatre to pursue a BFA in Theatre.  She dedicated her time to training in acting, dance, voice, and stage combat in both private lessons and workshops at the Goodman, Drury Lane, and Chicago Shakespeare.  An active member of both her theatre department and forensics team, Katherine excelled in all areas of performing.

Whether starring as a lead or strengthening the core of the ensemble, Katherine maintained continuous involvement in her high school and community youth theatres.  She often served as dance captain in musical productions and has done extensive costume and wig design–including creating 25 wigs for The Little Mermaid.  With her youth theatre, she served as an intern and was responsible for 35 younger performers, choreographing musical numbers, and completing management duties.
She has begun to dip her toes in student film work and appeared in the 2017-18 season’s Rigoletto with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Her teachers and directors speak of her “true passion for theatre,” “great heart,” and “extreme commitment” in ensemble-driven productions, emphasizing the respect she has earned from her castmates.  She has a desire to seek out performance, non-performance, and educational opportunities alike, and she views art as “our best chance to restore peace and understanding” by evoking “a sense of empathy within the oppressors” and by giving “hope to the oppressed.”

Richard Gieser is a graduate of West Chicago Community High School and is attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to major in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences.

Richard has played many roles on an offstage during his high school career, trying his hand at set construction, light and sound board operations, and house management, and acting.  He became an event coordinator for the winter radio play, which led to his workshop presentation at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival regarding benefit shoes to fund-raise for a cause.
Richard also expanded his repertoire into writing, dramaturgy, and directing as well as engaged in course work and workshops in drama, stage combat, and dialects.  He various leadership roles in the Wego Drama Club, including president during his senior year.  Beyond theatre, he exhibited leadership roles in Student Ambassadors, National Honors Society, Film Club, and Technical Staff.  With his high school theatre troupe, he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Outside of school, Richard is active in the community, serving as a volunteer for the Carol Stream 4th of July Parade and assisting with the community-wide food drive.  His teacher remarked upon his strong academic development and desire to take on independent study.  He described Richard as humble, well-rounded, and service-oriented.  Richard views the arts as an opportunity to promote collaboration between artists and to provoke critical thinking in the community.
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