UMass Theater welcomes community members and non-major/minor Five College students to audition.
Please note that UMass Theater in case of inclement weather or emergency, rehearsals and performances follow UMass closing status.
Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Iris Sowlat
UMass seeks actors of all types for their production of Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight
When & Where:
Audition: November 6 and 7, 6:30-10:30 pm (actors will sign up for one 5-minute slot on either day)
Callbacks: November 8 and 9, 6:30 - 10:30 pm
The Curtain Theater, Bromery Center for the Arts
Rehearsals: Monday-Friday, 6:30-10:30 pm, beginning on Wednesday, November 15, through December 8, with time off for Thanksgiving Break. There will be up to two Zoom rehearsals during Winter Break. Rehearsals will resume on February 1.
Tech: February 22-29
Performances: March 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 & 9 at 7:30 p.m. , Matinee March 9 at 2 p.m.
Most people, if they know her at all, recognize Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet as Voltaire’s lover. She was also a brilliant scientist who contributed to our understanding of physics. Eighteenth-century France was even more hostile than our society to women who “want it all,” and on the eve of her death from childbirth, Emilie tracks "love vs. science" on a scoreboard to see which dominated her life more. Lauren Gunderson’s thoughtful, wistful play invites us along as this charismatic, daring intellectual investigates her life choices.
Content advisory: Death in childbirth
For general auditions, please prepare a 1-2 minute classical or contemporary monologue. Heightened or poetic language is preferred, but any type of monologue is welcome!
Callbacks will involve group activities around sides from the script and the physicalization of the tableaus in the script.
Note about onstage intimacy:
The characters Emilie, Voltaire, Soubrette (both tracks) and the Gentleman (as Jean-Francois) engage in different degrees of staged intimacy. This production will have a qualified intimacy choreographer to stage those moments of intimacy.
Emilie: A driven, brilliant physicist. She frames the play, narrating the action and reliving it, in her quest to figure out if she made the most of her life, scientific work, and romantic relationships. She guides the story with a warm and lighthearted connection to the audience.
Voltaire: French Enlightenment philosopher. Brilliant, charismatic, and warm. He loves Emilie, but he is quick to anger when the relationship doesn’t go his way.
In the text, the character of Soubrette, who portrays a young Emiliie in flashbacks, Marie-Louise, and Gabrielle, can be played by one actor or two. We’re choosing to split Soubrette between two actors, one for the younger Emilie track and the other for Gabrille and Marie-Louise.
Soubrette (Emilie track): A younger Emilie, appearing in many of the flashbacks. Soubrette often physicalizes Emilie’s story in moments when present-day Emilie cannot make physical contact with others.
Soubrette (other characters): Plays Gabrielle (Emilie’s daughter, who calls her out for not giving her the same life choices she gave herself, bold and direct), Marie-Louise (Voltaire’s adult niece who he has an affair with, an ingenue), and a few other ensemble roles. In the text, the character of the Gentleman, who portrays about five different male characters, can be played by one actor or two. We’re choosing to split the Gentleman role between two actors.
Gentleman: Portrays Emilie’s husband the Marquis (calm and compassionate, described as being the “earth,” compared to Voltaire’s “fire”), Sir Isaac Newton, and Marain.
Gentleman: Portrays Jean-Francois Saint-Lambert (a young soldier-poet who Emilie falls in love with after her relationship with Voltaire ends; he is very earnest and adores her; she finds the relationship to be safe and effortless, like “air”) and Maupertuis (Emiliie’s tutor who she has an early affair with).
Madame: Portrays Emilie’s Mother (traditional, cold, and wounded) and Madame Gaffiney (a demanding, not-too-self-aware, and enthusiastic noblewoman).
General Casting Policies
The Department of Theater is committed to racial, cultural and individual diversity.
Casting for all department-sponsored productions is open to any student, staff, or faculty member of the Five College Consortium, any member of the community, or any invited guest artist regardless of race, ethnic origin, ability, sexual orientation or gender identification.
Equal-opportunity casting is encouraged.
All Theater majors are welcomed and strongly encouraged to audition. The Department chooses plays each year with the intention of offering roles to as many majors as possible, but casting of any individual theater major student is not guaranteed.
Most casting will be determined by open auditions.
You are expected to sign up for a given audition appointment, and to arrive at the audition site well ahead of the scheduled time. Performers who arrive after their scheduled time may not be allowed to audition.
After open auditions have been completed, the director will post call back announcements. If you are called back, you are expected to initial next to your name to acknowledge the call back.
Auditioning for multiple shows
Our experience has shown that having cast members in shows with overlapping rehearsal and/or performance schedules is complicated and disruptive to both shows.
Cast members are still welcome to be in multiple shows whose rehearsal schedules do not overlap; please check with stage managers or production staff if you have questions about scheduling.
Please note: This does NOT mean that actors cannot audition for all the shows — just that they will have to consider their options and limitations wisely. Casting decisions will result in the production's exclusive service of the actor when rehearsal/performance periods overlap.
Thank you and break a leg!