Tragedy: Holding Auditions

EmmaStaff Writer

This Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10, auditions for TRAGEDY: A Tragedy will take place in the Rob and Judy Gardner Theater here on campus. Students who are interested in auditioning must sign up and prepare a 45-50 second monologue to perform for the play’s director, Professor Henry MacCarthy.

“Everybody’s welcome to audition, regardless of major, class standing, experience… [etc],” MacCarthy said. He emphasized that anyone interested is encouraged to audition– theater is for everyone regardless of experience.

MacCarthy said that when students ask him what they should choose for a monologue, he always tells them the same thing: “I want you to show me what you do best.” MacCarthy said. It doesn’t matter what kind of piece a student is reading, because “everybody’s here to learn.” 

“I’m always impressed by actors who are very comfortable with who they are as people. And that they have energy,” MacCarthy said. Energy is a very important piece for the professor. He said he is looking for students who are not only engaging as performers, but engaged themselves. “…Because it is a learning process, it is an investment, [and a time commitment],” MacCarthy said. The director wants to make sure that students who are cast are all not only talented, but are committed and passionate about the project.

For those seeking guidance for auditions, Seniors Lillian Kline and Sam Peters held an audition workshop on Wednesday, September 7th, 6:30pm to 8:30pm. “Anyone can come to run monologues, ask questions, [etc],” Kline said. This opportunity allowed for students to practice their audition skills, and receive some mentorship from experienced students.

For TRAGEDY: A Tragedy, MacCarthy stressed the importance of building a collaborative, synergistic ensemble. MacCarthy described his approach to the casting process as not only seeking talented actors as individuals, but finding the right group of people as a whole, that can work together, and take risks together.

“Everybody’s here to learn. What I’m looking for is actors/performers that are not afraid of taking risks,” MacCarthy said. He described the audition and callback process as one of exploration, and growth. Throughout the process, MacCarthy will have students try out different ways of performing sides, act out scenes with different groups of people, and encourage the students to learn whether they are ultimately cast in the show or not.

The show, while named TRAGEDY: A Tragedy, is labeled by MacCarthy as a comedy. According to the Gustavus website, the play is a tragically hilarious play for the fake news era.”

Junior Carter Learned, stage director for TRAGEDY: A Tragedy, says the show is funny, yet has many profound moments that he believes will really make audience members think. “It’s a satirical take on the American news media,” Learned said.

The play is written by Obie Award-winning playwright Will Eno, who MacCarthy speaks highly of. “I love the stories that he tells, how he uses language, the rhythm of his pieces…it’s very smart humor…he can say some extremely profound things,” MacCarthy said. He explained how this combination of humor and thought-provoking content is what makes Eno’s plays so captivating. “When you leave the theater…you discover things,” MacCarthy said. Audience members have the opportunity to gain new perspectives, and see things in a different light after sitting in the audience.

“His characters to me are so human, they’re fascinating people…he writes about regular people and finds beauty in the regular things they do.” MacCarthy said. He described how Eno’s plays are like a mirror for audience members– in it, they can see themselves. According to MacCarthy, this is a very powerful aspect of this show as it highlights real-life issues.

TRAGEDY: A Tragedy will take the stage to perform in early November.