Switchyard Theatre Company is casting their upcoming production of PRESENT LAUGHTER by Noel Coward. Show runs February 23 thru March 5, 2023, at the PSI Theatre at the Durham Arts Council, Durham. Directed by Nadia Bodie Smith, produced by Charlie Machalicky. A stipend is available.
We are seeking an ethnically diverse mix of performers to bring a new take on this traditional British comedy. English accents are not required; we are more interested in what unique qualities, vocal skills and personalities that performers will bring to the roles. The post-Harlem Renaissance period saw interesting evolution in Black theater in the US and abroad, and our production will incorporate this rich history while remaining true to Coward’s legendary wit and larger-than-life characters.
PRESENT LAUGHTER is a classic comedic farce, with fast-paced dialog and action carrying over-the-top characters.
Garry Essendine, world renowned actor, is preparing for a theatrical tour to Africa to distract himself from impending middle age. In the weeks before the tour is to begin, he is beset by a series of fans and admirers – an unhinged young playwright, a besotted society starlet, and his manager’s wife who is determined to seduce him – who threaten to take the spotlight. One crisis leads into another as his quirky entourage try to keep him focused and the business in order – and a secret affair, once exposed, might tear apart his closely-knit family of friends.
The following roles are open to actors of any race, gender or ethnicity except where noted. NOTE: Actors must be vaccinated for COVID-19, and present a vaccination card prior to being seen for in-person auditions or considered for a role.
Garry (male, early 40’s, black) – Charismatic, classically trained, talented and keenly aware of it. Fond of dressing gowns. Prone to dramatic speeches. Feels that he is long-suffering in the service of his friends but in truth relies on them completely for his sense of self.
Monica Reed (female, 30-50) – Garry’s efficient secretary and business assistant, friend and confidant. Sharp-witted, acerbic. May have been attracted to Garry in the beginning, but is now perfectly happy to be an indispensable part of his business and life. Is not drawn in by Garry’s drama.
Liz (female, 30-40, black) –Ex-actress, theatrical producer, and Garry’s ex-wife. Their love and relationship has evolved beyond a traditional marriage. Charming, attractive, well dressed but not elaborate. Owns every room she walks into. Can stand up to Garry and anyone who threatens his success.
Morris Dixon (male, 40-50s) – Garry’s preferred director/producer, slightly younger than Henry. Tall and good looking. In love with Joanna. Self involved, passionate, creative and romantic, with a fondness for sherry. Should be very physically distinct from Henry.
Henry Lyppiatt (male, 40-50s) – Garry’s personal manager, business man and core member of the production team. Dapper and neat, pompous and oblivious. Married to trophy wife Joanna, much to the chagrin of his friends. Possibly bisexual. Should be very physically distinct from Morris.
Fred (male, age flexible, black) – Garry’s valet. Working class but aspires to be a true “upper class” butler. Jovial, uncomplicated view of life.
Miss Erikson (female, age flexible) – Garry’s eccentric housekeeper. Mystical and spiritual. Strong character actress with “a tranquil madness.”
Lady Saltburn (50-70s) – A wealthy dowager and patron of the arts. Majestic and effusive society woman. Aunt of Daphne.
Auditions will be held in person on Saturday, November 12th, from 1-4pm in the Black Box Theater (room 103) at: Farrison-Newton Communications Building, North Carolina Central University, 501 E. Lawson St., Durham NC 27707. Alternatively, actors may submit a video audition, uploaded to YouTube or other video hosting service.
Actors should prepare a 1-minute monologue that shows their personality (or evokes the description of the character).
You may also use one of the character monologues listed here (you may be asked to read one of these at auditions/callbacks as well). If you are submitting a video audition, you may include one of these in addition to your regular monologue.
Callbacks will be held in person on Saturday, November 19th, from 1-4pm in the Black Box Theater (room 103) at: Farrison-Newton Communications Building, North Carolina Central University, 501 E. Lawson St., Durham NC 27707. Actors will be provided sides beforehand and paired up to read together. We anticipate announcing the cast by Wednesday, November 23rd.
Dates: 12/11/2022 – 2/22/2023. 2-4 weeknights depending on actor availability, and one Saturday/Sunday afternoon per week.
Week 1-2: Virtual via Zoom
Week 3+: one of several locations:
Raleigh Founded, 2409 Crabtree Blvd, Unit 107, Raleigh NC 27604
Farrison-Newton Communications Building, North Carolina Central University, 501 E. Lawson St., Durham NC 27707
February 23rd through March 5th, 2023
PSI Theatre at the Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris St., Durham, NC 27701
Email firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 919-926-9906 with any questions!