Talents for "The Elephant Man" Play
Location: Dayton, OH
Ethnicity: All ethnicities
Auditions for "The Elephant Man" by Bernard Pomerance.
Production dates: Mar 17-Apr 2, 2017.
Seeking 6 men. Please see detailed descriptions of the roles below.
If you cannot make the audition times, please call to schedule an alternate time.
Bernard Pomerance's Tony Award-winning classic, THE ELEPHANT MAN, is based on the real life of Joseph Merrick, an afflicted 19th century British man who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit. When the renowned Dr. Treves takes Merrick under his care at the London Hospital, he is astonished by Merrick's brilliant intelligence and unshakable faith. Treves introduces Merrick to the beautiful actress, Mrs. Kendall, who is struck by his loneliness and understanding. Soon all of Victorian high society becomes fascinated by Merrick. But with Merrick's new life comes new complexity for all involved, and a "normal" existence begins to seem all but impossible.
Auditions will consist of readings from the script.
All characters will use British accents; those with multiple roles will use multiple accents. Please take your best shot at the accent at auditions.
Race is not relevant.
A resume and headshot, though not required, are preferred.
Please provide a list of all known conflicts between Jan 25 & Apr 2, 2017
Audition selections will be available for download beginning in late December. Follow the link to our website for selections.
Familiarity with (but not memorization of) the selections is requested at the audition; cold readings demonstrate your ability to read; we would like to see something of your ability to create a character.
Please do bring a list of all conflicts and a resume if possible.
Actors, especially those seeking the roles of Merrick, Treves, are encouraged to read Treves's own brief account of his time with Merrick, a primary source for the play, in THE ELEPHANT MAN, AND OTHER REMINISCENCES found in the attachment.
It provides insight into Treves, Merrick, and Merrick's relationship with others, including women, of whom the play's Mrs. Kendall is a composite.
Title character; plays early to middle twenties, but actor could be older. Physically and emotionally demanding role; spends much of his stage time contorted in body and face (no prosthetic make-up will be used). Deeply intelligent, soulful, and lonely, all of which must be expressed without many of the physical tools actors normally use. The real Treves wrote: "One thing that always struck me as sad about Merrick was the fact that he could not smile. Whatever his delight might be, his face remained expressionless. He could weep but he could not smile." A greatly challenging and rewarding role.
Note the playwright's caution: "No one with any history of back trouble should attempt the part of Merrick as contorted. Anyone playing the part should be advised to consult a physician about the problems of sustaining any unnatural or twisted position."
Frederick Treves (rhymes with leaves):
Identified in the text as age 31 at the beginning of the play, so should appear less than middle-aged. Merrick's physician, who "rescues" him from his life as a freak show attraction, and works to give him a more normal existence. Morally upright, always tries to do the right thing, though not always sure what that is, and becomes less certain as the years within the play progress. Treves own self-possession degrades even as Merrick's grows.
Carr Gomm & Conductor:
Age 40 and up. Carr Gomm is the administrator of the London Hospital, where Treves brings Merrick. Practical, a bit cynical, but welcoming to Merrick and Treves even as he uses them to raise the hospital's prestige and financial condition.
Actor also plays Conductor, who helps bring Merrick from Belgium back to England. Somewhat condescending, but helpful towards Merrick.
Ross & Bishop How:
Two highly contrasting roles played alternately by the same actor. Age 35 and up. Ross is Merrick's manager (and manipulator) on the freak show circuit; conniving type who abandons Merrick and then has the gall to return and seek Merrick's help.
The Bishop meets Merrick at the hospital, is astounded at Merrick's depth, and tries to save him, in his (the Bishop's) own image.
Lord John, Snork & Pinhead Manager:
Again contrasting roles. Age 35 and up. Lord John is a pompous, upper class, con man running a Ponzi scheme.
Snork is a lower class, hospital orderly who befriends Merrick.
The Pinhead Manager cruelly manages a freak show act in Belgium (see Pinheads, below)(can use Belgian accent).
Belgian Policeman, London Policeman, Will the Porter:Age 25 and up. Brief scenes from Merrick's travels; each with a different voice and accent. Actor will also appear in crowd scenes and voice-over.