Auditions for She Stoops To Conquer are going quite nicely so far with some familiar faces and a few new ones. This being Gorilla's first show to cast adults, Anna and I are getting very excited at the prospects of so much new blood joining the mix, along with old friends returning to work with us again. The first wave of readings was thoroughly invigorating!
While the new direction of the show is still gestating and will only take its true, full form once a cast is completely selected, I can say thus far that it's going to be a very character driven show. I think what turned me off to the play initially (it had the unfortunate fate of being read shortly after discovering Congreve's The Way of The World) was the portrayal of the characters as caricatures to facilitate the laughs. However, returning to the text Anna and I've continued to not only find depth in many of the roles worth taking seriously, but something we all-together never anticipated: a familiarity with these characters that could allow this to become a fairly personal project.
There was always the historical context to be juxtaposed to our current economic climate, but beyond that I anticipated, from the sidelines, that it would prove somewhat a challenge to convey the context of such a comedy that's jokes are very rooted in another place and time from our own. (Imagine remaking Juno with the same script... only a couple hundred years later, and expecting people to laugh at "Oh my blog!") This I suspect is the sentiment that leaves it seldom put on the way shows like The Importance of Being Ernest and School for Scandal are. Yet, what we found in rereading the text and working with the first wave of auditioning actors was that the relationships and family dynamics in Stoops have aged surprisingly well, and for a couple born and raised in Albemarle and Buckingham, these British characters of almost 300 years ago--even with their servants and class systems--read with a curiously Virginian flavor to them at times. What will come of these observations, you'll just have to wait and see! What Anna and I are certain of for now is that the show is funny, and we believe that through making our audience care about the characters, we can make it hilarious.
Auditions are continuing to the end of the month. If you're interested in participating, there are still rolls to be filled! Please go to Gorilla's auditions page for more information.