The Alpha Players of Florissant
By Margaret Edson
Directed by Danny J. Brown
The Alpha Players of Florissant are seeking actors for Wit, a play by Margaret Edson.
Wit is a Pulitzer Prize winning play about poetry, pain, beauty, humor, and above all, what it means to be human. Vivian Bearing is a genius level intellect and college professor who has gotten very far using only her search for knowledge and her sheer force of will. When Vivian is diagnosed with ovarian cancer she must learn the value of kindness, compassion, and that sometimes knowledge isn’t enough.
There are roles for 8-10 actors, 5 principle(3 women, 2 men) and 3-5 in a sort of “chorus”. See character descriptions below.
All roles are open and available. Performers will be considered for all roles regardless of race or ethnicity.
Auditions are scheduled for 2pm on Sunday, May 19th at the Florissant Civic Center theatre. The address is: 1 James J Eagan Dr. Florissant Mo. 63033.
The audition will consist of readings from the script. The sides will be provided at the audition but if you’d like to read them over ahead of time, please email us at the address below for a copy.
Performances will be Friday, August 23 at 7:30pm and 2 performances on Saturday, August 24th at 2pm & 7:30pm.
If you have any questions at all or are unable to attend the audition but are still interested participating in the show, please send an email to:
Vivian Bearing Ph. D.: (age-50, I’m fairly flexible with the actress’s age here, you just need to pass for this age while not having to deal with hair) – A college professor, very intelligent, witty as can be, strong yet vulnerable, and an amazing yet challenging role. I cannot emphasize this next point enough, the actress who is cast in this role must be at least somewhat comfortable with memorizing a great deal of dialogue as Vivian is speaking throughout 75% of the play’s runtime(approximately). She gives speeches that are reminiscent of Shakespearean soliloquys on numerous occasions. I would also ask that this actress be willing to be in the equivalent of a swimsuit on stage for a brief scene. This actress will portray Vivian in the present at age 50, in college in her 20’s and as a little girl reading at her father’s knee. We see her go through the process of the hospital system and what all chemotherapy will do to a person (thus not needing to worry about hair. If you are willing to shave your head for authenticity, wonderful. If not, no worries, a bald cap will be implemented). There is a depth and complexity to this character which I can’t wait to see brought to life. I can promise you two things, it will be a great challenge and it will be very rewarding.
Harvey Kelekian, M.D.: (age – late 40’s – 60’s) – Kelekian is the head of medical oncology at the university hospital. He and Vivian share a love and respect for knowledge as he oversees her case. As Vivian’s condition worsens throughout the play it becomes apparent that his quest for knowledge takes precedent to a patient’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Jason Posner, M.D.: (Age, late 20’s – 30’s) – Jason is a medical fellow for Dr. Kelekian who is eager to complete his fellowship so he can get to his real passion of research and no longer having to practice medicine “with people”. He also is coincidentally a former student of Vivian Bearing. He has a tremendous work ethic and intelligence but finds himself a bit uncomfortable interacting with actual patients.
Susie Monahan, R.N., B.S.N.: (Age, 20’s-60’s…I’m very open to age here) – Susie is Vivian’s nurse who is in charge of actually administering much of her care. She is, in my mind, the warmth and heart of the show. She is the character more interested in the comfort, kindness, and the preserving the human dignity of her patients above the clinical aspects of the job.
E.M. Ashford, D. Phil.: (Age, late 40’s-late 70’s – flexible with age) – Ashford is the former professor and mentor to Vivian. Everything that Vivian has modeled herself after can be found in Ashford. She is demanding and exact, but also has a soft side for those she truly respects. Ashford, like Vivian, has devoted her life to the study of metaphysical poetry of John Donne, as Vivian eventually does. We meet Ashford on two occasions in the play. The first in a flashback when she is a professor in her prime and the second a couple of decades later when she’s retired and a grandmother.
Mr. Bearing: (small role, usually double cast with the actor who plays Dr. Kelekian) – Mr. Bearing, as the name might suggest, is Vivian’s father who appears in one flashback scene helping Vivian with her reading when she is a little girl. It is suggested that the same actor who play Kelekian also play Mr. Bearing, suggesting either a similarity or perhaps a contrast in the men in Vivian’s life.
Chorus: (various roles of hospital orderlies and college students) – I picture these roles as a sort of Greek chorus, if you will. They fill in roles that color this world we’re building. They will also be pivotal in keeping the seamless flow of the show moving since there are no scene breaks, only shifts between one and the next.