Theatre season kicks off audition season

With murder, mania, music and more, theatre lovers have already started the beginning of the semester with auditions for Sonoma State University’s 2018-2019 season. The theatre season consists of Woyzeck and Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play during the Fall semester and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street during Spring. Auditions were held on Aug. 23-24 from six to ten in Ives Hall, with callbacks on Friday, Aug. 24, for Woyzeck and Mr. Burns and Saturday, Aug. 25, for Sweeney Todd.

As Mr. Burns director and Theatre Arts professor, Alexis Macnab, hurried straight from her Wednesday afternoon Freshman Learning Community course to audition, she said that she “can’t wait” for auditions to begin. “I’m thrilled to be heading to auditions. I’m so excited to see the talent pool at Sonoma State University for the first time.” It is Macnab’s first time directing a mainstage production on campus.

On the other side of the audition process, Nate Nolen, a freshman Early Childhood Studies major prepared for his audition late Wednesday afternoon, saying that he was “scared, but excited. Anxious.” 

According to sophomore Music Education major, Alexandria Alonzo, the audition process was about 10 minutes in total. She was “surprised” to go down to the audition room in a group and wait off stage to go one by one. When entering the stage, Alonzo handed the staff accompanist, Yvonne Wormer, stated her name, the shows she was auditioning for and her preferred roles. After the audition, Alonzo said, “ It just wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be.”

Considered to be the first modern play, Woyzeck by Georg Büchner is a German drama written between 1835 and 1837, inspired by a real case of a man executed for the murder of his wife. Published after Büchner’s death, it is unclear in which the order of the scenes in Woyzeck are meant to be performed. This leaves room for the director and actors to experiment with the text as a series of occurrences, rather than a set and definitive timeline. According to the Sonoma State Theatre Arts & Dance audition website, the cast of eight to ten actors will learn various roles and each be expected to take on the titular role for some scenes throughout the performance.

After the electricity in the United States goes out, a group of apocalypse survivors gather around a campfire and attempt to recall a specific episode of The Simpsons. Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn is a dark comedy in three acts that explores the relationship between popular culture and its importance in civilization through the evolution from theatre to ritualistic performance. From the Theatre Arts & Dance website’s description of the play, “Mr. Burns asks: What are the stories we tell in our darkest hours? What are the ones we need to tell? What stories are we telling now that keep us alive, whether we know it or not?” 

Based on the Victorian Penny Dreadful series, The String of Pearls, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler that follows the story of a murderous barber, Sweeney Todd, and his quest for revenge against the corrupt, and equally twisted, Judge Turpin. According to the synopsis of the show, “The musical score for Sweeney Todd is lush, operatic, and full of soaring beauty, comedy and stunning terror. It is one of the signal achievements of the American musical theater of the last fifty years.”

While auditions have concluded, those interested in seeing the 2018-2019 season can see Woyzeck from Oct. 4 - Oct. 13 in Ives Hall 119, Mr. Burns from Oct. 31- Nov. 4 in Evert B.