Thursday, February 7, 2013

Auditions for MIDDLETOWN Now Set at Heartland

Director John Kirk has announced he will hold auditions for Heartland Theatre's upcoming production of Will Eno's Middletown on March 6, 7 and 8, 2013, from 7 to 9:30 pm each night.

This is how Kirk describes what he will be looking for:

"Middletown is a play by an exciting new talent in the theatre. Will Eno is writing for the most advanced and contemporary performer. His characters are trapped in 'the space between' their birth and their death. The title, Middletown, while it seems to be about a small town, echoing Our Town, it is much more than that. It suggests the dilemma of characters who are stuck in the middle of themselves and have not found a way out. They are truly lost in themselves and the performances should reveal that.

"What that means for the actor is perhaps best exemplified in this quote from Will Eno’s preface to another of his plays, Thom Pain.

The actor should, of course, be so comfortable and familiar with the script that words come out of him as if they are his own, as if he is making them up as he goes along… There are a lot of 'switchbacks' and changes-of-direction in the script. He thinks and feels quickly and changes his mind a lot; we all do. Both directions he might go in are true, each direction comes out of a real feeling and a real need to move in that particular direction at that particular time… Honor this, honor the largeness, the complicatedness, of human beings, and find a way to play it all as simply and truly as possible… Though there are many parts of the play that are meant to be funny, for the most part, [the characters are] unaware or unconcerned that what [is said] might be found humorous…

"There are 26 characters in this play. They will be played by 9 or 10 actors, so there will be lots of double and triple casting. You could play small parts and have a big role.

"The nature of the play makes character 'descriptions' inappropriate and actually probably counter-productive. The characters don’t really know who they; they are trying to find that out. They are human beings. So here’s a list with genders and approximate ages in order of appearance."

PUBLIC SPEAKER – Male 40s-60s
COP – Male 30s-50s
MRS. SWANSON – Female, late 30s
JOHN DODGE – Male, late 30s-40s
MECHANIC – Male, late 20s-30s
LIBRARIAN – Female, 50s-60s
TOUR GUIDE – Female, 20s-30s
MALE TOURIST – 30s-40s
GREG - Male, 40s-60s

Intermission Audience:
AUNT – Female, 40s-50s
SWEETHEART – Female, 12-16
FREELANCER – Male, 30s-40s
MAN – 20s-30s
WOMAN – 20s-30s
LANDSCAPER – Male, 20s-30s
MALE DOCTOR – 40s-50s
ATTENDANT #2 - Female, 20s-30s
ATTENDANT – Female, 20s-30s
JANITOR – Male, 30s-50s

Offstage Voices:
COP’S RADIO – Female
GROUND CONTROL – Male (Possibly seen onstage)
RADIO HOST (Science Show)– Male
RADIO HOST (Classical Music Show) - Female


When Middletown was performed at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, director Les Waters used a cast of ten -- five women and five men -- including Brenda Barrie, Francis Guinan, Ora Jones and Tracy Letts. In New York, Middletown's cast of twelve included Linus Roache, Georgia Engel and David Garrison in the Vineyard Theatre production directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. Kirk clearly has a plan for nine or ten, so look for something more like the Steppenwolf arrangement, where, for example, actor Tim Hopper played Public Speaker, Male Tourist, Greg, Freelancer, Male Doctor and Radio Host (Science Show), and Alana Arenas played Tour Guide, Sweetheart, Attendant #2 and Intercom.

For more information on these auditions, click here.


  1. I'm really looking forward to how John Kirk will cast this show. This is going to be very interesting to stage! Nice blog on this, Julie!

  2. Hey, Julie - Thanks for the resource "Butts in the Seats" - I ended up subscribing.