Meet Norman: Polite, Nice, Dim, Besotted
Meet Norman: Polite, Nice, Dim, Besotted
Meet Heidi: Beautiful, Confident, Independent, Finnish
Challenge is the word. It was something of a challenge moving to Helsinki five years ago. And that was only the start. Then going on stage for the first time! A challenge again and now? Being the director. Challenge is only the first name. ”What am I doing” is a recurring question and fear a constant companion. And all these what’s and how’s? Then my guardian angels arrive, people who have been around a while and know all the things I don’t know – and that’s a lot – they are there and they help. People like Zoë, Demian, Graham and David. Thank you! And the gifted cast and all the fun. Thank you all again. Rehearsals are really a scary pleasure! You do not know what is going to happen – but it does and it’s almost like magic.
The Finnish Play seemed immediately familiar; I renamed it Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf - light. Same thing. Two couples meet, drink and say unpleasant things. Truths are revealed but who’s the winner? Gerald the pompous and bullying Brit or young Heidi, who represents Finnish sisu? They fight it out and a lovely – and nasty – fight it is! And why does Eileen stay with Gerald? And did Norman (poor Norman) really play the guitar? And what does Heidi see in him? Questions and more questions.
And now we’re getting closer and closer. Opening night is on 1 June and that’s just three weeks away! Fear strikes again. But I’m confident. The actors are beginning to know their lines, there’s flow and energy and it’s a lot of fun. And we have a fantastic production team! What would we have done without you?
I’m eagerly waiting for the moment when we are at our venue, when things are in place, the actors on stage and a full house waiting in anticipation. The lights go up and it’s action!
I will be sitting at the back. I will be sitting at the back at every performance and will just love it. The whole thing. You all!
Heidi (Sini Viitanen) steps up to meet Gerald's (Graham Lees) challenge.
What: Auditions for Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl
When: Saturday 11 June 2016, 2:30–6:30 pm (latest)
Where: FINNBRIT, Fredrikinkatu 20 A 9, 2nd floor
Welcome to open auditions for the Finn-Brit Players' autumn production in cooperation with the Passport Theatre Company: Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Adrian Goldman.
The auditions will begin at 2:30 pm and last until the play is cast (latest 6:30 pm). Please arrive in good time to begin at 2:30. Press the FINNBRIT buzzer by the street door to be let in.
The performances will be on 21–25 September. You must be available for an intensive rehearsal period starting 6 September.
We’d like you to prepare a short monologue of your choice in advance, preferably from a comedy. There will be some monologues available to read on the day, but advance preparation will improve your chances of being cast.
In addition, we’d like to hear you sing, as there are a couple of simple songs in the play. There's no need to prepare any songs and as long as you can keep in tune with the piano, you should be just fine!
If you’d like to audition, it would help us plan a smoother day if you register in advance to zoe (at) finnbritplayers.com.
More information & queries
You can read more about the play and characters below, but if you have any questions about the play, auditions or other arrangements, or are stuck for a monologue, please contact us at the email address above.
Tilly is melancholy. She is depressed and longing, alluring and unashamed. “She makes her unhappiness into this sexy thing.” Tilly’s therapist, Lorenzo, wants her to take pills, but instead falls madly in love with her. In fact, it seems that everyone Tilly meets falls madly in love with her melancholy. Frank, her tailor, hems her trousers, which leads to romance. Frances, her hairdresser, and Joan, France’s lesbian partner, also become infatuated. Everyone feasts off her melancholy and falls in love with her –until she becomes happy herself.
That happiness throws the world out of whack: everyone else is experiencing turmoil in their lives. Now they are unhappy: Frances becomes so melancholy that she turns into an almond. The streets are full of them – of almonds that used to be people. With Frances’ very existence in question, Tilly, Lorenzo, Frank and his long-lost twin sister Frances must go and find her. But how does one become so melancholy that they turn into an inanimate object? What will happen when Tilly and her friends travel to the almond state?
Tilly (cast) – The central character of Melancholy Play. She embodies melancholia in a way that is so completely unashamed that it is considered sexy. Tilly seems to enjoy her melancholy, even though her job wants it cured. As Tilly encounters people with her melancholia, they seem to fall in love with her.
Frank – A tailor who hems Tilly’s trousers, which leads to him being her boyfriend. Frank is a typical nice guy, and Tilly is a little out of his league. He loves Tilly in spite of her constant melancholy, although he too is longing for something that is lost....
Frances – A hairdresser who gives Tilly a trim. She has moved from New Jersey to Illinois and currently resides with her partner, Joan. Frances falls in love with Tilly, which begins their whirlwind affair. When Tilly becomes happy, Frances becomes so depressed that she turns into an almond.
Joan – Frances’ partner. She is a nurse. Joan is very calm and composed. At first, she is jealous of Frances’ obvious attraction to Tilly. However, upon meeting Tilly, she too is overwhelmed by the melancholy and falls in love.
Lorenzo – He is Tilly’s therapist and hails from an unspecified European country. Lorenzo was raised in a sweet shop and grew up so happily that he did not fit in with his European heritage, so he moved to Illinois. He is happy here. As he falls in love with Tilly, we begin to see a less happy side to Lorenzo.
Julian (cast) – He plays the clarinet at various points during the play. The other characters do not notice him until the final scene, and everyone comes together.
Sarah Ruhl is a modern American dramatist, winner of a MacArthur award, and a Tony Award nominee (for In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play).
The Finn-Brit Players is launching Face to Face, a new spoken-word event in the style of Poetry & Jazz, but without music.
Face to Face will focus on monologues (first-person only) and dialogues, either stand-alone pieces or excerpts from longer works. Pieces should be in the range of about 1–6 minutes in length.
All texts must either be a) your own work, b) out of copyright, or c) otherwise available for performance without royalties. The focus will be on more modern works and you are usually able to perform a short monologue from a play under copyright as long as no entrance fee is charged. Please submit your suggestions freely – we will check copyright.
There will be one performance at Arkadia International Bookshop on Tuesday 31 May 2016. There will be three or four rehearsals starting in the second week of May, exact dates TBC with the cast, but probably a mixture of Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons.