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Posts Tagged ‘Silent Laughter’

Audition Notice: SILENT LAUGHTER

Tuesday, 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.

Our 2018/19 season: A bounty for theatergoers

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Wheaton Drama proudly announces its 2018/19 season, bookended with starkly different musicals and featuring two comedies and a provocative drama.

Here’s what’s in store for our audience:

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a family-friendly musical based on the Roald Dahl book, tells of a boy named Charlie who, along with four other children, get to tour the inner workings of an extraordinary candy manufacturing plant—guided by the mysterious genius Willy Wonka himself. Will the array of sweets and treats prove too great a temptation for the young visitors? (Sept. 14 to Oct. 7, 2018)

Silent Laughter, Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s homage to silent comedy films, teems with slapstick and sight gags and features lovable lovers, greedy villains and an array of stock characters. Audiences familiar with the works of Charlie Chaplin, Mack Sennett, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd will howl with laughter, and those just discovering the genre will see just how much fun they’ve been missing. (Nov. 16 to Dec. 9, 2018)

Our annual holiday show is still TBA. (Dec. 13 to Dec. 16, 2018)

W;t, the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Margaret Edson, focuses on a brilliant professor whose perspectives on life evolve after she is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite the poignancy of the storyline, the play brims with gentle humor and offers uplifting insights into the human condition and the importance of recognizing and appreciating those around us. (Jan. 18 to Feb 10, 2019)

Murdered to Death affectionately spoofs murder mysteries in the vein of Agatha Christie. Intrigue abounds as homicide and side-splitting humor intertwine as guests gather at an English manor house. Certainly there would be multiple suspects, but multiple detectives trying to crack the case? Don your deerstalker, grab your magnifying glass and guess along with them as to whodunit. (March 22 to April 14, 2019)

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is master composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s take on the classic Victorian tale of vengeance, justice and injustice, and pie fillings. Rife with dark humor, unforgettable characters, desperate love, unbridled lust, and a gripping score, the show will have audiences alternately gasping and cheering from start to finish. (May 17 to June 9, 2019) Update: Rights for this show have been secured.

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