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Auditions for "Marvin's Room"

Westfield Theatre Group, a department of the Westfield Woman’s Club is proud to announce auditions for Fall 2022!

Marvin's Room combines drama and comedy while exploring interpersonal relationships within a family faced with a series of crises and difficult life choices. With resonant and timely themes, Marvin’s Room casts a sensitive but often darkly humorous light on caregiving, aging parents, sibling rivalry, teenage rebellion, abandonment, mental health and terminal illness. The play evokes deep empathy and understanding, smiles of recognition and ultimately both laughter and sympathy for our shared human experience. Audiences may alternately laugh and cry, but above all they will emerge having a deeply affecting theatrical experience.

Frank Rich of the New York Times called it:
“…one of the funniest plays of this year as well as one of the wisest and most moving” in his review here: https://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/06/movies/review-theater-a-woman-s-power-to-banish-defeat-with-goodness.html

The play was staged twice off Broadway in the 90’s and in London’s West End, winning the Drama Desk award for outstanding play as well as individual Drama Desk actors’ awards, Drama Critics’ Circle and Obie awards. An Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated film version was released in 1996, and the production was revived on Broadway in 2017 to very favorable reviews.

PLOT SUMMARY: Bessie lives in Florida where she cares for her pain-ridden aunt and ailing father, Marvin, who is confined to his bed and unable to speak. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, her only hope is to contact her long-estranged sister, Lee, to see if their bone marrow is compatible for a transplant. Lee reluctantly makes the trip from Ohio, bringing along her two sons, one of whom, Hank, has just been released from an institution after a wave of arson. The sisters’ reunion is uneasy at best, with long buried recriminations coming to the surface even as love slowly overwhelms Lee’s veneer of selfishness and glib denial. Bessie’s challenge becomes reuniting Lee and Hank before he rejects her completely for her years of neglect. Beloved for its mordant humor and unflinching wisdom, Scott McPherson’s dark comedy allows us a moving view of one woman’s commitment to family and response to despair.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS: All roles are open, no roles are precast. Ages are stage ages, and genders refer to those to be played on stage. Actors of any ethnicity will be considered for all roles.

Bessie (40-55, Female): Unassuming and stoic, Bessie has spent her quiet life taking a backseat, first to her more outgoing and demanding sister, then as the only caretaker for her aunt and chronically ill father.

Lee (35-50, Female): Full of restless energy and a burning desire for something better, Lee is kinetic and somewhat manic. Life has not turned out as she planned and, as a result, she's weary and a little defeated, especially in her relationship with her son, Hank.

Ruth (65+, Female): Childlike and sweet, Ruth has spent her entire life in chronic pain from collapsed vertebrae. Although now cured, she has cultivated a helplessness that she uses to keep from having any responsibility other than watching her favorite soap opera.

Hank (17-18, Male) A lost boy on the verge of manhood and not sure of who he is or where he fits in, Hank is currently an inmate in a juvenile detention/behavioral health facility. He burned down the family house (accidentally?!) He tries very hard to project an aura of toughness but in reality, is actually quite sweet and kind. He is looking for the love that he doesn't get from his mother.

Charlie (10-15, Male) may be played by a child of any gender. Quiet, shy, and introverted, Charlie has learned not to make trouble to compensate for his more aggressive brother. Obsessed with reading he fades into books to avoid his uncomfortable home life.

Wally (50s-60s, Male) A doctor, he is kind and genuinely concerned with Bessie but may have lost his ability to be an effective doctor. He is overwhelmed running his practice alone having just lost his nurse and with his partner on vacation

Bob, Wally’s Brother (mature male, any age) – inept substitute receptionist at Wally’s office

Dr Charlotte – Hank’s doctor at his residential treatment facility, and Nursing Home Director (both roles adult male or female, any age) – roles may be separate or combined.

One of the supporting character actors may also play Marvin – Lee and Bessie’s bedridden father, unseen except as a blur behind a glass partition.

AUDITION INFORMATION: Auditions will be held at 28 Court Street, Westfield Ma, 01085 on Thursday June 23rd at 6:30pm and Sunday June 26th at 6:30pm. Call backs, if required, will be Monday June 27th at 6:30pm. Not all actors will be called back and it is not an indication as to whether or not you have been cast.

Performances will be held October 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd at 7:30pm and October 22nd at 2pm. All performances will take place at the Westfield Woman’s Club.

Please fill out this audition form before arriving. If you are unable to do so, we will have extra copies available at the theater. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VUDQWoh1b6NoqH0LUv0Yu2l-fhkowf5j/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=115092776112621067204&rtpof=true&sd=true)

Please come prepared to deliver a contemporary monologue of 1-2 minutes in length that includes some comedy. Memorization is encouraged but not required.
You will then be asked to read from sides for specific characters. These sides are available in advance here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1FOSVOHqs4EbfmyYDGow7ohjs3-oxwM2d?usp=sharing

There may also be some cold reads from the script. However– we are as interested in what you can do with the character with preparation as we are in cold reads, so please consider preparing to read for your chosen character.

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE: There will be a read-through during the Summer as well as some initial meetings for character discussion, which may be in-person or via Zoom depending on logistics. Rehearsals will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:30~9:30 PM and Sundays 2-4:30PM, starting the week of August 22. Not all actors will be called for all rehearsal times/dates. All actors may be asked to be present at certain rehearsals - even if not in the specific scene - where we will all workshop characters and interpretation as a contributing ensemble. Tech week starts Sunday October 9 – actors are expected to be available all nights during tech week except for a possible dark day on Wed or Thursday. There will be a pickup rehearsal between weekends on a day to be determined.

Directed by Michael Budnick

Westfield Theatre Group, A department of the Westfield Woman's Club, 28 Court Street, Westfield, MA 01086
P.O. Box 1512, Westfield, MA 01086-1512 • Phone: (413) 572-6838
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