FEST is holding auditions for its Fall production “The Heiress”, by Ruth & Augustus Goetz (and based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James), directed by Sarnia Jane Schüßler
Audition dates & venue:
Tuesday 7 June, 19:00-22:00: Saalbau Bockenheim, Schwälmer Straße 28, 60486 Frankfurt.
Saturday 11 June, 15:00-18:00: Saalbau Bockenheim, Schwälmer Straße 28, 60486 Frankfurt.
Wednesday 15 June, 19:00-22:00: Saalbau Bockenheim, Schwälmer Straße 28, 60486 Frankfurt.
Saturday 18 June, 15:00-18:00: Saalbau Bockenheim, Schwälmer Straße 28, 60486 Frankfurt.
After discovering that his bride-to-be is going to be disinherited, a handsome young fortune hunter jilts her on the night of their elopement. Years later, when the woman’s fortune is secured, the man returns again and asks for her hand, but his erstwhile sweetheart has other plans for him …
We will try to send audition scenes in advance. There is no need to memorise them, but try not to be glued to the paper either. In most cases there will be 2 scenes for each character.
Look at the character breakdowns above, and please audition for whichever character(s) you think you are best suited for.
You may be asked to do a form of British or American accent.
No parts are paid or pre-cast. Please note that for insurance reasons, everyone on cast & crew must be a member of either FEST.
The ages of the characters given above do not necessarily need to be exactly reflected in the cast members – please feel free to audition for a part even if your age does not exactly reflect that given above.
If possible, please contact us at [email protected] and indicate which date and time you would like to audition. Please also contact this address if you cannot make any of the dates but would still like to audition.
Rehearsals will be held generally one or two weekday evenings and on Saturdays. Not all the cast will be needed for every rehearsal. While we will try to be as flexible as possible in working out the schedule, once it is set we ask for 100% commitment!
Any further questions?
Please email us at [email protected] (queries will be answered only in the evenings).
We look forward to seeing you at the auditions!
Mid-1800s, New York’s Washington Square. Catherine Sloper is a plain, painfully shy woman whose emotionally detached father, Dr. Sloper (a wealthy widower), makes no secret of his disappointment in her (“she is an entirely mediocre creature”). His recently widowed sister, Lavinia Penniman, comes to live with them and he asks her to encourage Catherine to become more social and graceful. When Catherine meets the charming Morris Townsend, she is taken by the attention that he lavishes upon her, attention she so desperately seeks from her father.
Catherine falls in love with Morris, and they plan to marry. Dr. Sloper tries to break the engagement as he believes Morris is only courting Catherine to get her substantial inheritance – a suspicion that is confirmed by Morris’s sister. Desperate, Dr. Sloper insists that Catherine join him for six months in Europe in the hope she will forget him there, although he originally planned to go alone. While they are in Europe, Morris visits Mrs. Penniman at the Sloper home and settles into a luxurious lifestyle.
On their return, however, Catherine and Morris are determined to get married, and she does not care that her father threatens to disinherit her. Shocked by her father’s cruel disdain, Catherine agrees to elope with Morris – but not before she tells him about her father’s decision. Morris does not show up at the appointed time to collect her, and Catherine is heartbroken.
A few years later – after Dr. Sloper’s death – Morris returns from his travels with nothing. Again, he professes his love for Catherine and claims he did not turn up as he could not bear to see her destitute. Catherine reservedly grants her forgiveness and Morris boldly proposes again, saying the he needs her love and Catherine tells him they will elope that night. He rushes off to get his things, saying he will collect her within an hour.
However, after he leaves, Catherine tells Mrs. Penniman that she intends to reject Morris so that he will never return. She calmly orders the maid to bolt the door, leaving Morris locked outside, shouting her name. In response to Mrs. Penniman’s questions as to how she can be so cruel, Catherine simply answers: “I have been taught by masters”. The play closes with Catherine silently ascending the stairs while Morris’s despairing cries echo unanswered through the darkness.
The Characters in order of appearance
Maria (the Parlour-maid): 20-30 years old. She likes working for Dr. Sloper – she is fond of him, and does her job well. She is sincere and honest. Her fondness of Dr. Sloper provides a contrast to his relationship with his daughter, Catherine.
Dr. Austin Sloper: 50-60 years old – “A distinguished, middle-aged man, impeccably dressed and pleasant in manner”. He blames Catherine for her mother’s death during childbirth and expects her to be like her mother who was graceful and charming. She is none of those things, however, and he dismisses her on many occassions. He is quite bitter, but also a generally well-liked man. He has a good relationship with his sisters, and one of them – Mrs. Penniman – now lives with him.
Mrs. Lavinia Penniman (Dr. Sloper’s sister): 50- 60 years old. She is recently widowed and is now staying with her brother. She is aware of the difficult relationship between Dr. Sloper and Catherine and tries to help both of them. Catherine confides in her and opens up to her. Lavinia is completely taken in by Morris and – although she knows Catherine is not as breathtaking as Morris says – she is happy that such a handsome man is interested in her. She is thrilled when Catherine falls in love with him, and enables them to get together. She is a jovial person, sincere, friendly, and easy to be around. She is a romantic at heart, and obviously misses her husband.
Catherine (his daughter): 25-30 years old – “a healthy, quiet girl”. She is honest and has no affectations. Her father is disappointed in her and she knows this. She is painfully shy and awkward, especially in company or with her father. She opens up to Mrs. Penniman and confides in her. She does not know how to react when Morris begins to show an interest – she is confused, but she quickly falls in love with him. However, during the play, Catherine becomes colder and very lonely.
Mrs. Elizabeth Almond (his sister): 40-50 years old – “a handsome woman in her forties”. Also Dr. Sloper’s sister, she often visits the Sloper house to see Lavinia or her brother, and often with her daughter, Marian. She has a pleasant character and also tries to help Dr. Sloper see he is being unreasonable with Catherine.
Marian Almond (his niece): 20-25 years old – a pretty, charming young lady “the most popular girl in her year”. She is very fond of Catherine and shares all her secrets with her. She is friendly and sincere and has a very easy air about her – all a contrast to Catherine’s awkwardness. At the beginning of the play, she is newly engaged, and marries during the time the play spans.
Arthur Townsend (Marian’s fiance): 25-30 years old – a friendly chap, engaged to Marian and visiting Dr. Sloper for the first time. He is a banker in the city,
and Dr. Sloper states “well, he isn’t very lively, is he?”. He brings along his cousin, Morris, to the meeting, introducing him to Catherine. (N.B. Auditions will probably not be held for Arthur individually, but if you want to audition for him alone, you can note this down on your audition form.]
Morris Townsend (Arthur’s cousin): 25-30 years old. Morris is a charmer, but also a rather likeable chap. He twists Mrs. Penniman round his finger, but Dr. Sloper sees straight through him. He spent all his own inheritance “enlarging his capacities” in Europe and lives with his sister. Although one would like to believe that he does indeed have some feelings for Catherine, it is also plain that he is after her money, and is very clever in going about it. He is handsome, outgoing and eloquent.
Mrs. Montgomery (Morris’s sister): 40-45 years old – a slightly harried woman. She has five children and lives alone (her husband died). Morris has lived with her since he was 16, and returned to live with her after spending all his money on travelling etc. Mrs. Montgomery loves her brother, but is also honest and not very sympathetic. She won’t speak badly about him, but won’t lie to Dr. Sloper, either.