Auditions - Neighbourhood Watch

Audition dates: Saturday 6 May and Sunday 7 May at the Guide Hall, Newman St Yarralumla.
Neighbourhood Watch by Lally Katz
Season: 3 – 19 August
10 Roles, including 6 ensemble
Audition times are in 15 minutes slots from 10am – 12:45pm and 1:45pm – 3:45pm Saturday 6 May, and 10am – 12.45pm Sunday 7 May. Call backs scheduled for 2 – 4pm Sunday 7 May.

There is a $5 fee for each script – refundable on return of the script at your audition. For any enquiries or bookings please email auditions[at]canberrarep.org.au

The Play:

Neighbourhood Watch is a play about alienation and loss contrasted with friendship and community. I believe the title is clearly ironic, as the suburbs are strange and lonely places where people barricade themselves behind their front door and live in isolation with their individual problems. Many of these barriers are purely arbitrary and self-imposed, and throughout the play they are gradually broken down. But when you haven’t got those walls around you to rely on, what have you got left to keep you safe? Is there still, despite rumours to the contrary, such a thing as community? And what must you do to belong to it?

Lally Katz’s superb play examines all these issues in a fresh, funny and touching way. Ana is an 80-year old Hungarian/Australian woman with stories to tell of imprisonment and abuse during WWII. Twenty-something Catherine is an aspiring actress with a complicated sense of self-worth. They seem an entirely unlikely couple yet somehow they form a friendship.

From encounters over bins, to running errands to the chemist and the doctor, and trips to the supermarket and the cinema, the interactions of everyday life come to assume significant meaning. While there are tough aspects of alienation, paranoia and desperation, the real power of this play lies in its funny, warm and gentle nature.

The Characters:

Besides the two strong lead roles for women, there is a crucial supporting cast and confident character actors are essential, with an affinity for speech, dialogue, accent and verbal delivery. The ensemble cast offers lots of opportunity for doubling, so actors need strong ability to develop different characters in short scenes.

Catherine – late 20s; an aspiring actress, obsessive compulsive, who is recovering from the loss of her boyfriend, Martin
Ana – an 80-year-old Hungarian refugee; a widow; she lives alone with her dog, Bella
Ken – early-mid 30s; a West Wing enthusiast who spends his time watching ‘lunch time eps’ and playing World of Warcraft
Martin – late 20s; Catherine’s ex-boyfriend

6 Ensemble Actors (M3; F3) to play a range of roles in both Australia and Hungary

Audition requirements:

You do not have to learn anything but please read the script and have an understanding of the play. We will be doing short scene selections to ascertain how you handle playing different characters, through voice and physicality. Be prepared to be open-minded.

The Director:

Kate Blackhurst obtained a BA (Hons) in English Studies from Manchester Polytechnic in the UK, where she lived until immigrating to New Zealand in 1996. Since moving to Canberra in 2012 she has directed Blithe Spirit for Canberra REP, and both written and directed for Short and Sweet. Other previous directing credits include plays Popcorn, Night Cleaners and Blackadder:Bells for Queenstown Shakespeare Trust, and the musicals Beatlemania ’64 and Cribbies for the Arrowtown Entertainers.

Kate wrote and directed several promenade performances in Queenstown, and a Shakespearean compilation, An Error of Comedies, which toured the South Island of New Zealand. For the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Arrowtown, she was commissioned to write a series of site specific theatre pieces for the official commemoration of the Chinese Miners’ Village. She has also reviewed theatre for national press and radio in the UK and New Zealand.

With REP she has performed in Improbable Fiction, Twelfth Night, Casanova, Gaslight and Macbeth. She has also acted for Something Borrowed (At Home at the Zoo), The Street Theatre (In Loco Parentis), The Acting Company/ Shadow House Pits (Cara Carissima), and COUP: Canberra (Vinegar Tom).