Monday, December 23, 2013

Announcing auditions: Lost in Yonkers

Director Shannon Sabel has announced audition information for Lost in Yonkers, the fourth production in the 2013-2014 MainStage season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. Neil Simon wrote the script.

By America's great comic playwright, this memory play is set in 1942 Yonkers. Bella is 35 years old, mentally challenged and living at home with her mother, the stern Grandma Kurnitz. As the play opens, ne'er-do-well son Eddie deposits his two young sons on the old lady's doorstep. The boys are left to contend with Grandma, with Bella and her secret romance, and with Louie, her brother, a small-time hoodlum in a strange new world called Yonkers.

Shannon is looking to cast four (4) men and three (3) women. All the characters have strong Bronx accents except Grandma, who has retained her German accent. All the adult children except Louis are terrified of their mother. The ages given for the characters are specific, but the director is less interested in how old the actors are and more interested in the age they can play.

Jay: Almost 16, Jay is serious and responsible when not influenced by his puckish younger brother.

Artie: 13 1/2, Artie is what is called, in the vernacular, a wisenheimer. He uses his humor to deflect trouble.

Eddie: The boys' grieving 41-year-old father has gotten himself in financial trouble with bad people in order to pay for his dying wife's medical bills. He is reluctant to leave his boys with his tyrannical mother, but sees no alternative.

Bella: Her slight mental disability manifests itself in a sweet and loving, if childish, nature. She lives in terror that her mother will follow through with her threat to "send her to the home." Much of the second half of the play focuses on her attempts at independence from her stern mother.

Grandma Kurnitz: In her mid-70s, Grandma, while running the family's sweet shop downstairs, has a sour nature. She is dour and tyrannical, but with a dry, if not often evident, sense of humor. Owing to her harsh childhood, she has always been very intolerant of what in others she calls "weaknesses." She is blunt, sometimes even in a funny way, and always knows what is going on with the people around her. She has a thick German accent and walks with a limp.

Louis: The family black sheep, the flamboyant and jovial Louis is on the run from the mob, from whom he stole money. He is laying low at his mother's house. Louis fascinates his nephews with his wild ways, crazy humor and feeling of danger. He has a strong, mercurial nature, and a certain underlying dark side, which the kids uncover in the second act of the play. He works as a "bag-man" for the mob.

Gert: In her late 30s, Gert is so terrified of her mother that she can't breathe properly in her presence.

Auditions will be Sunday, January 5, and Monday, January 6 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Oakland High School, 611 S. 21st Street, Lafayette. Actors can check out a script from the Civic Theatre office, 313 N. 5th Street in downtown Lafayette.

Lost in Yonkers will be performed Friday, February 28 through Saturday, March 15 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday shows will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The mission of Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette is to enhance the artistic and cultural environment of Greater Lafayette through theatrical productions and educational opportunities.

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