Auditions & Interviews


The Theatre Program will be holding auditions and interviews for the Spring Main Stage show, SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS, at the beginning of Spring semester. Both auditions and interviews will happen the first Friday of the semester, January 19.

Auditions for the Theatre Lab show, EMMA WHEN YOU NEED HER, will be conducted as part of THEA 379 New Musical Development course happening during the day.

In an effort to build theatre student professional experiences and resumes, the Theatre faculty have designed these two offerings so that they may be taken in tandum. 


Summer in Gossensass
Performances April 4, 5, 6
Spacing begins Sunday, March 24
No rehearsal on Easter, Sunday March 31
Tech begins Monday, April 1
First Rehearsal Monday, January 22

Emma When You Need Her
Performances April 26, 27, 28
Tech begins Sunday, April 21
First Evening Rehearsal Monday, April 8



Summer in Gossensass
January 19th, 2024 6-11pm


The initial audition will consist of a prepared dramatic monologue from contemporary or classical material. Monologues should be memorized.

Call-backs will consist of a cold-reading from the play followed by a short group movement audition.

The audition process not only helps us determine your fit for casting, but also helps you determine whether this project is right for you.

Call-back invitations will be sent by email following the initial audition. 

Preparation. Prepare your monologue ahead of time. Know the lines and analyze what your character says and figure out why they say it. Make choices about how your character is going to do what they do. Then practice out loud and on your feet, so that you can make it all the way through performing the monologue in the way that you planned without stopping.

What to wear? Look your best. Plain, simple clothing in neutral colors is best. Wear what you feel comfortable in, that’s appropriate, and that won’t be distracting. 

Cold reading. A cold reading is when you are handed a script and asked to perform a scene. Actors are given a side (an excerpt of material from the show), paired with a partner, and allowed a short amount of time to rehearse together. To prepare for cold-readings, be familiar with the show and study the characters.

Group movement audition. A group movement audition involves physical activity that works with your bodies’ own abilities, whatever they are. If asked to attend a group movement audition, please wear clothing appropriate for active movement such as dancewear or sportswear.

Day of Auditions. It is recommended that you show up early enough to fill out an audition form. Once we start the event, we want to begin right away.

Evaluation. The audition will be evaluated based on the following areas:

  • Ability to learn lines
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Ability to speak from memory
  • Emotional honesty
  • Vocal strength and variety
  • Ability to distinguish between personal and general space
  • Enthusiasm and focus
  • Creative and social cooperation with other performers
  • Ability to improvise (make it up as you go along, go with the flow)
  • Coordination, sustained movement, and ability to take risks onstage

*Please note that all roles are open to all ethnicities, identities, and abilities.


No registration necessary, just show up.

NOTE: All auditions are private.  We find that students do their best and most honest work when parents and guests are not watching.  In the room will be the director, Laura Standley.


MCLA Theatre’s season offers hands-on, real-world experience making theatre productions in a faculty mentored, professional setting. Students who audition and are cast participate as actors, while students who interview are assigned backstage crew or production area positions. While this course is required of theatre program students, it is also recommended for anyone interested in making theatre. This course may be repeated.

Any MCLA student may audition. Actors participating in the MCLA Theatre season must enroll in 3 credits of THEA 379-Theatre Production: Company.

The Theatre Program is committed to inclusive casting which promotes diversity in the casting of roles where race, ethnicity, gender, age, and the presence or absence of a disability is not essential to the development of the play or characters. All students are encouraged to audition. Theatre Program students are not given preference in casting decisions.

The audition process is part of the students’ theatre training. All best efforts will be made to inform students of the director’s process, and to encourage them to maximize their preparation and participation. The aim of casting is to select the most able student for a particular role, while also taking into consideration the relevance of the nature of the role to the student’s continuing development as an actor.

Guest artist actors are occasionally used in some roles and are always pre-cast. Guest artist actors enhance the training process by providing professional level models for students to learn from through observation.

About the Plays

About the plot.  THE SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS begins as two American actresses living in 1890s London, Elizabeth Robins and Marion Lea, sit surrounded by books, discussing a promising new playwright they’ve just heard about - Henrik Ibsen. His new play, HEDDA GABLER, is causing quite the stir in Munich and its main character sounds like no other they’ve seen. Their enthusiasm for the possibility of playing such a complicated and dare they say… unwomanly… woman evolves from fascination to obsession as they decide to mount the first English language version of the play. Elizabeth, Marion, and their friends face numerous roadblocks in their pursuit as they investigate this outrageous women, Hedda Gabler, asking who she really is and what inspired Ibsen’s “greatest tragedy.” The play culminates in an expressionist, phantasmagoria dream ballet version of Hedda, as the actresses’ ideal version of the play is finally achieved.

About Hedda Gabler. HEDDA GABLER is a play by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright, who historians have called the “Father of Modern Drama.” His plays include A Doll’s House, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, Enemy of the People, Peer Gynt, and The Master Builder, and are considered by historians to be the first plays establishing the realist style, and the best examples of the ‘well-made play’ plot structure. First produced in 1891, Hedda is still one of his most talked about, criticized, and influential works of theatre. The title character is a mind-bender. Her behavior is bizarre, contradictory, and yet compelling. Her complicated actions have inspired hundreds of acting interpretations, morphing over the century since it was first performed from demon witch to victim of social oppression. It has been translated dozens of times, adapted both for stage and film, and is still a hugely coveted role for professional actresses with its most recent production opening at the National Theatre in London this December directed by Ivo van Hove.

Hedda Gabler plot. Out of desperation, the daughter of General Gabler marries an academic. Strong-willed and highly intelligent, Hedda feels trapped in her new life. Determined to find satisfaction, she begins manipulating everyone around her, but each move she makes takes her further away from real joy. When she goes too far, she sparks a downward spiral that unravels her world.

About the Playwright. Maria Irene Fornés (1930-2018) was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1951. Her first produced play, Tango Palace, was written in 1963 and her last, Letters from Cuba, was finished nearly four decades later, in 2000. She has written over 40 plays, won an unprecedented nine Obie Awards, and her play, What Of The Night? (1990) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. For decades Fornés was sidelined by critics as avant-garde because she didn’t follow traditional playwriting rules, but now, theatre artists are working to change the narrative. Fornés didn’t like labels, but she and her plays have been described by many as groundbreaking, diverse, centering women characters, experimental, difficult, lesbian, feminist, award-winning, life-changing. She was “the mother of Latinx playwriting”, a leading LGBTQIA+ forerunner, a genius. This play will be produced as part of a year-long, campus-wide series of events honoring her in conjunction with the Fornés Institute’s Celebrando Fornés/Celebrating Fornés 2019-2020, a national initiative that seeks to raise awareness of Fornés’s impact on theatre and uplift her legacy. Here's a link to the Fornés Institute for more information:

Key facts about Fornés important for this play. Maria Irene Fornés was not educated in a formal way. Her father didn't believe in educating girls, so she stopped attending school in the 6th grade and never finished high school. At 15 years old, she settled in New York City with her mother and sister and, after a while, got a job in a dance shoe factory where she worked for a short time before leaving to study painting with renowned expressionist painter, Hans Hofmann. In the mid-1950s, she moved to Paris where she studied textile design and was first exposed to theatre with a French-language production of Waiting for Godot, which had a profound effect on her. She later said, “Imagine a writer whose theatricality is so amazing and so important that you could see a play of his, not understand a word, and be shook up.” That’s the kind of plays she was interested in writing. On a whim, as a way of encouraging her partner, to write, she started constructing plays by pulling words from a cookbook. 

Over the course of her career, she was around many plays and always struggled to read them. The first play she ever read was Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. Later, when asked to direct at Milwaukee Rep., she chose Hedda to translate and direct. Ten years afterwards, she wrote THE SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS as a reaction to the experience of researching, adapting, and directing Ibsen’s Hedda.

Production History. THE SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS began at the Iowa Playwright’s Workshop in 1994 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City under the title, Ibsen and the Actress. It was workshopped again in 1995 at the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival and in 1997 at Women’s Project and Productions in NYC. Its first production was at the Women’s Project in 1998 at the Judith Anderson Theater, where it concluded their 20th anniversary season. Critics didn't quite know what to make of it, calling it, amusing, cloying, and idiosyncratic. Often not fully produced, it has been seen a few times on college campuses in recent years, the latest being at the University of Notre Dame in 2021.

From the Director. THE SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS is a play that celebrates the process of theatre making, especially writing, reading, translating, critiquing, acting in, directing, and adapting plays. It’s been called an adaptation of Hedda Gabler, but that doesn’t quite fit. It’s been described as a history account of the 1st London production of Hedda Gabler (its characters are based on the real Elizabeth Robins and friends!), but that doesn’t quite capture it either. These characters, this plot, actions and discussions are something more. They are Maria Irene Fornés's deconstructionist inquiry into the problem of Hedda Gabler. She uses adaptation as a form of debate, contesting Hedda's history, criticism, translation, and reception. She takes what has been considered a major work of the canon and strange-ifies it, purposefully unmooring us from any assumptions or already formed judgements we might have about it or its place in the theatrical record. She calls out its translators for needless omissions, additions, and embellishments. She says, let General Gabler’s daughter be destructive! Don’t “mitigate her corrosive qualities!” She says, shame on you for misinterpreting this play! (while castigating her own critics at the same time.) 

This play is a play about playwriting, but not the solitary act of one man writing alone. It is a play about the Fornés version of playwrighting: one that embraces community, communion with those who come to the table as collaborators, and with a play as talked about as Hedda, those that came before. With THE SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS, Fornés as playwriting teacher is calling to theatre makers saying, please, a play needs a listener, a responder, a witness, and an advocate. Make a place for that to happen. Find a way to let art be generous and kind. We will all reap the benefits.

Character Breakdown.
Although the characters described below are based on real people, we are looking for the most diverse cast possible. Roles are open to any actor comfortable with them. None of these roles will be understudied.

ELIZABETH ROBINS (She/her, caucasian). Based on the real actress, playwright, essayist, and suffragist who directed the first English language production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler as well as played Hedda, and who was instrumental in translating it into English.

MARION LEA (She/her, caucasian). Based on the real actress and friend of Elizabeth Robins who played Thea in the first English language production of Hedda Gabler as well as helped work on the production.

LADY BELL (She/her, caucasian). Based on the real friend of Elizabeth Robins who helped produce the first English language production of Hedda Gabler. A playwright, linguist, critic, and lover of the arts.

VERNON (He/him, caucasian). Based on Elizabeth’s real brother who came to live with her in London. A medical student.

DAVID (He/him, any ethnicity). An actor. Based on Ibsen’s many biographers. In the script he’s described as “someone whose interest in theatre has caused him to collect documents and memorabilia of theatre artists for whom he has a special admiration.” Fornés has amalgamated all of Ibsen’s biographers into one enormous super-fan of ‘All Things Ibsen,’ putting him onstage so she can share all the tidbits of her research through him. With the character of David, she grants Ibsen’s biographers their wish, allowing them to finally meet their idol and experience Hedda Gabler firsthand. David is the ultimate Ibsen nerd, in the room with an invitation from the playwright. He knows everything about Ibsen and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the adventure.

Elizabeth Robins and Company. Elizabeth Robins (1862-1952) is the actress best known for introducing Hedda Gabler to English speaking audiences. An American from Kentucky, Robins was an extremely popular actress, who worked with leading companies and leading actors like Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth) and James O’Neill (father to Eugene O’Neil). Friends with Henry James and George Bernard Shaw (it was Oscar Wilde who encouraged her to stay in London after meeting her at a party). She was fascinated by changing acting styles and wanted to interpret characters using these new, more realistic methods. After playing Mrs. Linden in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, she learned about Hedda Gabler and became enthralled with the idea of playing the role, not only because of the strong character, but because of the way it argued for a different life for women, one not just about being the ideal homemaker and mother, but also about having a thriving artistic life. After a few false starts, including fights with battling translators, and wrestling the license away from a wealthy British socialite she thought was “an abominable actress,” she formed a theatre company called, Joint Management, with her friends, Marion Lea and Florence Bell, and produced the play to sold out houses. As with all initial productions of Ibsen’s plays, reviews were mixed. But all thought highly of Robins’ performance, one calling her Hedda, “a remarkable achievement,” another saying that she “glorified an unwomanly woman,” and Oscar Wilde bought a ticket for a second night, writing in his journal that Robins’ performance was “a real masterpiece of art.”

Marion Lea, also a celebrated American actress in her own right, was famous for her characterization of Audrey in As You Like It. She played Thea in their production, as well as cast it. 

And Florence Bell, some years their senior, was a playwright, novelist, and critic who worked in the London theatre. She served as dramaturge for the play, and collaborated with Robins on other plays, including writing a controversial script about postpartum depression called Alan’s Wife

These woman may have been left out of history books, but they were theatre professionals who worked as contemporaries with the famous men we've heard of. Because of Victorian views on women’s work, they had to hide their efforts, using pen names and going as far as burning their writing. They were involved in feminism, the suffrage movement, and protests against the human effects of industrialization. They worked for women’s organizations and wrote for feminist magazines. They ran a theatre company dedicated to the new realism. And now, thanks to the research of scholars working to unearth their papers, we've come to learn that it was these women who translated the 1891 English language version of Hedda Gabler, not Edmund Gosse as originally published.

Why this play now? My admiration for the work of Maria Irene Fornés began in graduate school when I was lucky enough to be cast as Cecelia in a production of Fefu and Her Friends. I had never read a play that appealed so completely to my experience of being a woman in this world, particularly, the nature of women’s friendships. After the production ended, when we were all feeling like we had accomplished something quite singular, our department held a school-wide critique of the show. The all white cis-male group of directing professors and graduate students told us that our production of the play wasn’t successful because they couldn’t understand it. They concluded that Fornés’s play wasn’t worthy of production because it didn’t appeal to a “universal audience.”  I was flabbergasted. Why does every play have to appeal to everyone? There are plenty of plays that don’t appeal to me.

The idea of the universal as the only artwork that is good or true has been one of the leading arguments used to keep oppressed people’s stories out of the theatrical canon. 'If it doesn’t appeal to the widest audience, then it shouldn’t be produced' was their line of reasoning. But all this does is exclude. The effect of this way of thinking has been that only a certain group of plays have been studied and included in our history books -  those written by the majority. My experience acting in Fefu sparked my commitment to unearthing the voices of erased theatre by women and the plays of Fornés in particular. SUMMER IN GOSSENSASS allows us to explore Fornés’s later work and highlight a play of hers that isn’t often produced because it isn’t easy to understand and doesn’t appeal to everyone. It also has the added benefit of telling us the forgotten stories of Elizabeth Robins and her friends, while exploring tough questions about theatre and theatre making, and while investigating an iconic, and frequently misinterpreted woman’s role - Hedda Gabler. This play brings a more diverse perspective to the stage, so we might be faced with seeing not only ourselves, but others as well in ways that deliver us from our own limited view of the world.


About the play. The musical, Emma When You Need Her, is about Emma Goldman, the early 20th Century anarchist and writer.  While this important historical figure has appeared as a character in other musicals, most notably Ragtime, this will be the first musical to feature Emma’s own story, and to tell it from her point of view.  

Production history. This production is part of a new course called New Musical Theatre Development designed to provide students the opportunity to work on a new musical from its initial script reading, through text and music revisions during the rehearsal process, to the premiere performance at the end of the semester.  

About the playwrights. The libretto was written by Benedetti Fellow Rudy Ramirez (director of this semester’s Antigone) and the music is being written by award-winning composer and current member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Ammon Taylor.

By Sophokles
Translation by Anne Carson

About the Plot. Before the play opens, two brothers, Eteokles and Polyneikes, have waged war against one another for the throne of Thebes. The war is over, and Kreon, the king of Thebes and uncle of both men, has decreed that Eteokles will be honorably buried, but Polyneikes will be left unburied outside of the city. As the play begins, Antigone, the sister of Eteokles and Polyneikes, has vowed that she will bury Polyneikes and entreats her sister, Ismene, to help. Ismene refuses, so Antigone goes to bury her brother on her own. When Kreon discover what Antigone has done, he brings her before him. Antigone argues that Kreon's decree is an immoral desecration of her brother. Ismene tries to confess to the crime as well, but Antigone refuses her. Kreon has them imprisoned, and Haimon, Kreon's son and Antigone's fiance, comes to beg for her life. Kreon will not relent, and although he frees Ismene, he orders that Antigone be buried alive in a cave. Teiresias, a blind prophet, comes to warn Kreon that he will be punished for these actions, and Kreon goes to bury Polyneikes and free Antigone. Kreon finds Antigone already dead by her own hand, and Haimon and then Haimon's mother both commit suicide in turn. Kreon laments that his decisions have cost him everything.

Production History. ANTIGONE was written by Sophocles and first produced at the Festival of Dionysus in 441 BCE. In the centuries since, ANTIGONE has been produced countless times around the world, often in times and locations where people are staging resistance against authority and questioning the morality of laws. Perhaps the most famous version is Jean Anouilh's 1944 adaptation, performed in Nazi occupied France as a commentary on collaboration and resistance. In 2004, five short plays collected as THE ANTIGONE PROJECT were written by women in response to the Patriot Act, with playwrights including Tanya Barfield, Lynn Nottage and Caridad Svich. Anne Carson's translation was performed in Luxembourg in 2015 followed by a production in London. It also resulted in an adaptation by Carson called ANTIGONICK.

From the Director. It's no surprise that numerous productions of ANTIGONE are being staged around the country right now. ANTIGONE has a tendency to appear at periods of political uncertainty, and the themes—the right to mourn the dead, the question of how to respond to an unjust law—speak to the events of the past few years as powerfully as they spoke to the people of Athens in 441 BCE. Our production of ANTIGONE will open the play up to the interpretation of the ensemble: how does our group of actors connect this play to our moment across millennia, and how will we bring those connections to life? We will use a combination of expressionistic movement, naturalistic acting and whatever else we want to bring in the room to help tell the story of a woman ready to give her life to honor the dead.

"Why this play now?" ANTIGONE is a play about how we honor our dead. During the pandemic years, many of us were unable to gather and mourn those we lost, and in the times since, we have been compelled to forget, to put those times behind us, rather than grapple with the losses we experienced. At the same time, many people stood up in the name of the dead as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. ANTIGONE is a chance to talk about honoring those we've lost and standing up against unjust laws, even as it begs the question: we know who gets to determine laws, but who gets to determine justice?

Character Breakdown:

Pronouns listed below describe characters as scripted. Roles are open to any actor comfortable with them. None of these roles will be understudied.

ANTIGONE (She/her, any ethnicity). Daughter of disgraced parents. Sister to warring brothers. Determined.

ISMENE (She/her, any ethnicity). Sister of Antigone. Torn.

KREON (He/him, any ethnicity). King of Thebes. Uncle (on both sides) to Antigone and Ismene. Authoritarian.

GUARD (He/him, any ethnicity). Assigned to make sure no one buries Antigone' brother. Nervous.

HAIMON (He/him, any ethnicity). Pronounced HAY-mon. Son of Kreon and Eurydike. Antigone’s fiancé. In love.

MESSENGER (not specified, any ethnicity). Witness to horrible things. Shaken.

TEIRESIAS (He/him, any ethnicity). Blind prophet of Thebes. [Led by a boy].

EURIDIKE (She/her, any ethnicity). Wife of Kreon, mother of Haimon. Doomed.

CHORUS OF OLD THEBAN MEN (He/him, any ethnicity). The old men of Thebes. Here with questions and comments. Responsive.

Casting an ensemble of 6-12. Roles will be determined after rehearsals begin.

By Maria Irene Fornés

About the Plot. The play, TANGO PALACE, follows Isidore, a vicious “androgynous clown,” and Leopold, an “earnest youth” trapped in Isidore’s shrine room of the best of western tradition - things we think of as right and fancy and good and true. Leopold’s squirming body is reborn from a cloth sack at Isidore’s feet, as Isidore tries to charm the young artist with a tranquil serenade. Trying to get his bearings, Leopold is bombarded with an endless stream of notecards tossed at him by Isidore. Over and over, the gender non-conforming Isidore assaults him with instructions, thoughts, manipulations, trying to put words, gestures, ideas into Leopold’s mouth. When Leopold refuses, Isidore challenges him in every hyper-masculine way, donning the helmet of the Greeks, showing off intimidating sword moves, dancing the Tango. Isidore demands Leopold follow tradition or else, ordering him to parrot the words of a literal parrot, rejecting femininity in whatever way possible. Leopold can’t help but rebel as they arm themselves to the teeth, fight with swords, fight like bulls, fight to be civilized, intelligent, sophisticated, artificial. Stereotypes are battered to the ground as Leopold struggles to break free from the hell of a masculine dominated, artificial world and find true inspiration. 

DR. KHEAL, the only one-character play Fornés ever wrote, takes the form of a mock lecture given by a learned professor. Arriving at his lectern, Professor Kheal covers a chalkboard with a variety of topics, mocking the audience for their stupidity and incorrect answers. He pompously expands on all the great humanities questions: poetry, balance, energy, truth, beauty and love, hope… and, of course, cooking. He struggles with right and wrong, seeking the correct answers from his imagined class but never getting them. The little man who calls himself master, and who claims to know all, DR KHEAL represents the pillar of academia. He knows what’s right; what he says goes. He holds his audience/pupils to a ridiculous standard, abusing them, alienating them, and making them feel like many oppressed people have felt in traditional academic spaces. Like Tango Palace, Dr. Kheal confronts authority, questioning the very idea of right, wrong, balance, or truth. In modern life on the internet, our sense of what is fact and fiction seems knowable. With a google search, we think we can suss out the truth at a glance. DR KHEAL challenges this, arguing that perhaps what is impossible, what is unseeable, is the most beautiful - subjective truth. 

About the Playwright. Maria Irene Fornés (1930-2018) was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1951. Her first produced play, Tango Palace, was written in 1963 and her last, Letters from Cuba, was finished nearly four decades later, in 2000. She has written over 40 plays, won an unprecedented nine Obie Awards, and her play, What Of The Night? (1990) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. For decades Fornés was sidelined by critics as avant-garde because she didn’t follow traditional playwriting rules, but now, theatre artists are working to change the narrative. Fornés didn’t like labels, but she and her plays have been described by many as groundbreaking, diverse, centering women characters, experimental, difficult, lesbian, feminist, award-winning, life-changing. She was “the mother of Latinx playwriting”, a leading LGBTQIA+ forerunner, a genius. This play will be produced as part of a year-long, campus-wide series of events honoring her in conjunction with the Fornés Institute’s Celebrando Fornés/Celebrating Fornés 2019-2020, a national initiative that seeks to raise awareness of Fornés’s impact on theatre and uplift her legacy. Here's a link to the Fornés Institute for more information:

Production History. TANGO PALACE was first produced in November 1963 under the title There! You Died, directed by Herbert Blau with the Actors Workshop at San Francisco’s Encore Theatre. It has been professionally produced only a few times since, with the latest being a 2010 staged reading at the New York Fornés Festival at Cherry Lane theatre. DR KHEAL was first produced in April 1968 in two simultaneous productions: one at the Village Gate, as a benefit for Cafe Cino, and one at the New Dramatists Workshop. Later that year, it was performed again at the Theatre-in-Progress festival at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, directed by Gordon Rogoff. Rarely staged, the most recent production was also in 2010 at the New York Fornés Festival where it was also performed with Tango Palace.

From the Director. TANGO PALACE, by Maria Irene Fornés, is a fantastical and comedic exploration of what it means to be human, inhuman, or more than human. The play is an exploration of truth, and the eternal struggle of the sensitive, emotional, undesirable parts of humanity vs. the desire for civilization, sophistication and the artificial. It’s about authority and resistance, free thought and rebellion. Leopold seeks escape, but is trapped; every word he is expected to say is predisposed and written out for him. DR KHEAL traps its audience in a deluge of commandments on humanity. In both plays, a seemingly all-knowing authority figure teaches us how things are “supposed” to be - how to be civilized, how to exist in the “right” way in the world. Often accused of being carried away by passion and inspiration, artists find they can’t fit in or conform to what is expected of them - can’t follow what is written on their cards. Bringing these plays together highlights these ideas, offering a feminist message about the survival of tenderness and feminine qualities in a patriarchal world. 

"Why this play now?" In 2023, artificial intelligence is a looming threat. We are coming to terms with what it means to be human, what role the artistic process and art itself plays in humanity. The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) is engrossed in an ongoing strike. One of their major points of contention is protesting scripts written by artificial intelligence, with the fear being that this easy tool would eliminate the desire for writers entirely. The character of Isidore represents the controlling artificial intelligence figure, a villain like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL, the ultimate authority figure. Isidore doesn’t understand, and even condemns, Leopold’s faith, his desire for more than what is written for him. Dr. Kheal, like Isidore, is obsessed with the way things are meant to be, with the “right way.” By the end of his lecture, he sees that beauty and love are impossible to explain in this black and white way. Art brings beauty into the world, something that isn’t explainable or tangible, but still necessary. Beauty falls through the cracks; beauty isn’t productive. TANGO PALACE encourages free thought and rebellion. We must be uniquely ourselves now more than ever, and allow ourselves to create what we need. TANGO PALACE confronts artists, as Leopold struggles with the choice to compromise inspiration and passion for what is desired from him. Is selling your art selling your soul?

Character Breakdown:

Pronouns listed below describe characters as scripted. Roles are open to any actor comfortable with them. None of these roles will be understudied.

ISIDORE (he/him, any ethnicity). An androgynous, omnipotent clown. Though scripted with he/him pronouns, Isidore is described by the playwright as “a mixture between man and woman.” In original drafts of the play, Isidore was a literal computer spitting out lines on cards! Isidore does not understand Leopold’s humanity and expects him to conform to tradition. An intensely physical character who dances, fences, bullfights, and explores many other styles of physical comedy in pursuing his goal to get Leopold to be traditional or else!

LEOPOLD (he/him, any ethnicity). Leopold is an “earnest youth” stuck in the eternal battle of humanity vs. machine. Straightforward and realistic, he is the artist, torn between his obsession with  the authority figure, Isidore, and his need to escape the “shrine room” and think for himself. An intensely physical role, Leopold dances, wrestles, bullfights, and tries to clown his way free of Isidore’s control so he might reach true authentic inspiration.


Friday, January 19th, 12-2pm
Venable Theater

All students enrolled in THEA 379 are required to interview for production positions on both shows in the season.

Sign-ups will be posted on the callboard the week of interviews. You will be able to choose a time-slot for a short interview with production faculty and staff. No preparation necessary.


For questions about the Production Interviews, contact Michaela Petrovich at 

For questions about Auditioning, contact Laura Standley at