Winter 2013 – Tiger at the Gates auditions

Tiger at the Gates by Jean Giraudoux, translated by Christopher Fry

Directed by Nick Mouton

Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 November

The Lion & Unicorn Theatre

1. Newcomers Meeting

Each season we hold a Newcomers Meeting where the directors will tell you more about their plays and the audition process. Its a great way to find out more about the season and of course you can quiz the directors and committee too.

Date: Thursday 12th September
Time: Join us from 7pm for a drink. The meeting will start at 7.30pm
Venue: The White Swan, 20 Farringdon Street, Farringdon, EC4A 4AB

2. Auditions

You do not need to register for auditions or prepare anything in advance.

Date: 17th, 18th & 19th September. Please come on whichever day suits you
Time: 6.30pm for a 7pm start
Venue: Clean Break Studios, 2 Patshull Road, Kentish Town, NW5 2LB

Recalls will be on Saturday 21st September from 10am to 2pm. You will be called on Friday 20th if we’d like to see you again.

3. Show Dates

We’ll be performing from Tuesday 19th to Saturday 23rd November at The Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town. The shows will start at 7.30pm and you’ll need to be at the theatre at least an hour beforehand. The dress rehearsal will be on Monday 18th November. You will need to be free from midday onwards, possibly all day.

4. Rehearsals

Rehearsals will be on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons/evenings. All rehearsals will be in central London.

5. Synopsis

‘Tiger at the Gates’ is a brilliant and bitter comedy set within Troy, a city doomed to betrayal and destruction. The story is of Hector, a military man who knows the horror and degradation of war, struggling to preserve peace in the face of jingoistic sentiment and mob hysteria. Along with his worldly-wise mother Hecuba, Hector leads the anti-war argument and tries to persuade his brother Paris to return Helen to Greece. Hector sees Helen as the definition of war and destruction, but for the other Trojan men, through her beauty, believe that she represents an opportunity for glory, and they are eager to have others fight a war in her name. This is the re-telling of a classic story looking at the brutality of war and the futility of trying to avoid it while others around you are so hell-bent on it. The script was written as a criticism against the lack of diplomacy and irresponsible behaviour of the national leaders and intellectuals who brought about the First World War and the lead up to World War II. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as there are a number of comical moments went the Trojan pomp and ceremony prone diplomats are mocked for their blinkered points of view.

I want to look at the clashes of cultures, ideologies and sexes, portraying the Trojans as those who live the simple life, while in contrast there are the more cocksure Greeks who are used to getting their own way at the expense of others.

The play will last for up to 2 hours and will be set on Hector and Andromache’s sunny terrace that looks over Troy.

6. Cast Breakdown

This is a nice big cast with everyone getting a decent amount to say. There will be some doubling up so I’ve listed all of the main characters that the cast will play. The ages are recommended, but they’re not set in stone. I’m open to all sorts of accents and might ask people to try some out – like Irish, American, Northern English & Scottish. Don’t worry as it’s just me experimenting with ideas.

The Trojans

Hector (M, 27 – 40)

Charismatic, but battle fatigued. A leader of men through battles, but not seen as such of a diplomat by the senate. He’s just back from a long string of battles and is looking forward to spending the rest of his life relaxing with his wife. He’s a family man so will support his relatives to the bitter end. He has a lot to say in the play.

Andromache (F, 25 – 40)

Naturally beautiful woman. Passionate about her family and Troy. Like Hector, she prefers to stay out of politics and spend the rest of her life having her own family with Hector.

Cassandra (F, 23 -40)

Hector’s sister – can be older or younger. She believes that she’s a clairvoyant and can tell what will happen to Troy. No one pays much attention to her so she’s treated as the black sheep of the family.

Paris (M, 20 – 25)

Hector’s younger brother. He’s good looking, suave and charismatic. He thinks he has Hector’s strong presence, but he doesn’t. He’s selfish with his actions and refuses to back down, but still seeks for Hector and father’s approval.

Priam (M, 45+)

King of Troy and Hector’s father. He’s a proud man who stands by his beliefs. He’s head strong and wishes to support his sons but waivers when they have opposing opinions so he goes with the senate’s thoughts.

Hecuba (F, 40+)

Queen of Troy and Hector’s mother. She dislikes war and wants to have a peaceful existence. Hector gets his softer and more reasonable traits from Hecuba. She has a rebellious streak which annoys the senate but Priam likes her fighting spirit.

Polyxene (F, 17 – 20)

Hector’s younger sister. She’s very naïve & easily led.

Troilus (M or F, 14 – 17 or to be played by a girl)

Hector’s youngest brother. Young and naïve but stands by his belief. He has Priam’s strength in character.

Demokos (M, 30+)

He’s a celebrated poet and Priam’s main advisor. He sees himself as the ultimate intellectual but others see him as the fool that he is. He has never experienced warfare but he’s more than happy to send people to their death and then write about it, using feelings as if he was there. He’s the comedy relief and subject of ridicule in the play.

Abenos (M, 30+)

He’s another protected intellectual of Troy who is more interested in the pomp and ceremony than the deadly consequences of their actions. He’s a strong supporter of Demokos.

Busiris (F, 30+)

She is a traveller who has convinced the senate that she knows exactly what the Greeks want to do, which is to destroy Troy. Her thoughts conveniently support what the senate want to believe until her views are challenged by Hector.

Olpides (F, 20 – 25)

She is a young member of Paris’s crew who witnesses his apprehension of Helen. She is the shortest member of his crew so is always the one to go up to the crow’s nest.

Mathematician (M, 27+) 

He’s another wise man of Troy who claims to talk true facts most, either scaremongering or praising Helen. He’s another Demokos supporter who is against Hector’s ideas.

The Greeks

Helen (F, 22 – 30)

She is a strikingly beautiful woman and she knows it! She’s very intelligent and can manipulate people to her advantage and make them believe that it’s through their own free will. She knows that the women aren’t fond of her but she doesn’t really care as she has all of the men wrapped around her finger, until she meets Hector. As AC/DC once sang, ‘Lady’s got balls’!

Ulysses (M, 35 – 50)

He is the Greek ambassador and is seen as the wisest of the Greeks. He doesn’t want war with Troy and understands Hector’s point of view and predicament. Though he’s reasonable he still has a penchant of reminding people about the power of the Greek army. He has some great big speeches but only appears for the final third of the play.

Ajax (M, 24 – 35)

This guy is a brute! He’s the really battering ram of Greece and is totally opposite to Ulysses. He strikes then talks later and is hungry for blood and battle. With his fondness for war he also strongly admires people who he sees as his equals and shows them a lot of respect, but shows total disdain to weaklings.

Other parts to be covered by actors playing some of the above characters: Top Man, Sailor, Servant & Messenger. Even though like the Mathematician they haven’t been given names, they all have quite a lot to say and do during the play.

7. Crew

I want to recreate a sunny terrace with some extra-level decking. It will be a sunny day throughout so it will be a really basic lighting design. So the crew I need:

– Set designer

– Set builder

– Lighting designer

– Lighting & sound operator

– Stage Manager

– Assistant Stage Manager

If you’re interested in being in the crew please e-mail tech@kdctheare.com