The audition process for this show will be unique in that we are both looking for a talented group of actors and those who might serve in a cooperative touring company that, if established, would be collectively managed by the actors and production staff. Actors must demonstrate not only talent and ability to portray a character, but also demonstrate a desire to work in a collective, an aptitude for leadership and management, and a willingness to commit to the process.
Actors will portray—sometimes without the benefit of scripted lines—the brightest political and literary thinkers in American history. Actors will be intimate with the biographies of these well-known historic figures and be able to answer deeply probing questions. Company members will also be able to accurately discuss the theory of cooperative economics and other political theories of the period.
Before beginning the audition/interview process we ask interested parties to select the two characters (see the “List of Characters” below) for whom they are auditioning. Conduct basic research on both characters and be prepared to discuss why they are appropriate for the roles. Also, candidates must understand cooperative economy basics (we highly recommend you read Collective Courage by Jessica Gordon Nembhard). You might also visit the web site for the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (https://usworker.coop/what-is-a-worker-cooperative/)
Phase 1: Audition
Actors should prepare two contrasting monologues from plays set in the 1920 – 1940s, preferably from the African American catalogue of plays. Please prepare 16 bars from a song and be prepared to sing a cappella. Each candidate will be given 5 minutes.
Phase 2: Call Backs (Call backs may be held on the same day as your audition)
Actors will submit to an in-character “interrogation” by a group on topics relevant to the play (cooperative economics and civil rights). They will also be questioned about their “personal lives”—meaning the personal life of the character. This exercise will be used to gauge both the actor’s facility to research an historic character and show improvisational skills. Each candidate will be given 5 minutes.
Phase 3: Interviews (Interviews may be held on the same day as your audition)
Candidates will be interviewed to determine their interest in being part of a cooperative touring company. Be able to discuss your plan for managing the time commitment and what, if any, additional leadership and/or management skills you would bring to a business as a co-owner. This interview will take approximately 10 minutes.
Disclaimer: Falconworks Theater Company has committed its organizational resources to the production and mounting of the play Black Conference, the Brooklyn run from May 24 through May 28, 2018 and the presentation at the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed Conference at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, on a date to be determined between June 7 and June 10, 2018. The touring company and any subsequent engagements would be based on agreements that will be made by participants as part of a cooperative development process. Falconworks Artists Group intends to provide training in cooperative economics, however, it will be the responsibility of all participants to inform themselves of the potential risks involved in starting a cooperative venture.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Unless specified, all individuals mentioned are African American.
BAYARD RUSTIN (25) NYC nightclub singer and activist. Openly gay.
HALENA WILSON (40) Respectable union wife and community organizer.
GWENDOLYN BROOKS (20) An poet. Exudes warmth and enthusiasm.
ELLA BAKER (30) Grassroots organizer.
PHILIP RANDOLPH (50) A labor organizer. A tall and powerful orator.
REVEREND MARTIN LUTHER KING, SR. (40) A pastor.
MARTIN LUTHER “LIL’ MILK” KING, JR. (10) Reverend King’s son.
WALTER WHITE (45) White-passing, with blonde hair and blue eyes.
GEORGE S. SCHUYLER (45) Conservative intellectual.
ELLSWORTH “JUNIOR” STORRS (20) Greenhorn. Great story-teller.
CLYDE TOLSON (30) White reporter. Smooth-talking and provocative.
HAZEL SCOTT (20) Glamourous jazz prodigy. Great singer.
JOHN ROSAMOND JOHNSON (60) Well-known composer and performer.
THURGOOD MARSHALL (30) Lawyer with the NAACP.
VIVIAN “BUSTER” MARSHALL (25) Socialite. Married to Thurgood.
W. E. B. “WILLIAM” DU BOIS (70) Author & professor at Atlanta University.
ZORA NEAL HURSTON (45) Writer, anthropologist. Fiery intellect.
RICHARD WRIGHT (30) Young self-taught writer. Womanizer.
JAMES P. DAVIS (30 – 40) Former sharecropper. Stoic.
VOLUNTEERS (15 – 25) At registration and one to bring water.
DELIVERY (25 – 50) Delivers a large box of programs. Race not essential.
GREEN (40 and up) Owner of the venue. Likely White. Nervous.
AGENTS (25 – 50) Group of Federal agents.
GUESTS (13 and up) AKA “audience” attending the conference