A Christmas Carol  - The Audio Drama Edition

 

Thank you so much for your interest in being a part of our upcoming Oregon State University Theatre’s audio drama production of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.

While current bans on social gatherings and public events will prevent us from staging our fall 2020 production as we normally would, we are committed to creating quality theatre experiences for our students, community, and loyal audiences. This family-friendly production will be made downloadable through our Dam the Distance podcast feed in December and will be a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit.

Due to the socially-distant approach we will be taking for this production, both in rehearsals and production, the audition process is slightly different, please read the following instructions about what to expect.

INFORMATIONAL ZOOM MEETING: There will be two short informational Zoom sessions scheduled to answer questions about the production, the play, and other requirements. Those wishing to audition should attend one session either Monday, October 5 at 6:00 pm OR Tuesday October 6 at 6:00 pm. To join the meeting please follow this link:

https://oregonstate.zoom.us/j/97198769092?pwd=UGFYVVFUT0RPK0h5RTlSR1dXbWNYUT09

The sessions will be short and provide an overview about the auditions, process, etc. Please be on time.

Auditions are open to all!

Typical of a Dickens story, the world of A Christmas Carol is full of vivid characters and varying ages. It is likely actors will be cast in multiple roles so please show off different vocal choices you can make in your audition. The ages are listed not because YOU necessarily have to fit into the age bracket, you just need to be able to sound like the character in question.

Roles:

Scrooge - 50s-70s (crabby old man still capable of change)

Fred - 20s-30s (Scrooge’s relentlessly upbeat and loving nephew)

Ebenezer - 20s (Scrooge as a young man, sensitive and thoughtful)

Bob Cratchit - 20s-30s (Scrooge’s hardworking clerk, loving father with a big heart)

Gentleman 1 - Any Age (Upbeat Londoner raising money for charity)

Gentlemen 2 and 3 - Any Age (Local Londoners)

Jacob Marley - 50s-70s (Scrooge’s longtime partner in ghost form - spooky scary)

Mr. Fezziwig - 50s-60s (Ebenezer’s first boss, kind, warm, full of Christmas cheer)

Old Joe - 50s+ (Old junk seller)

Topper - 20s (Fred’s friend and party guest, sweet and goofy)

Dick Wilkins - 20s (Ebenezer’s best friend, a bit of a doofus)

Thomas - 20s-30s (Poor father who had borrowed money from Scrooge)

Peter - Teen (A Cratchit kid)

Turkey Boy - Boy/Teen (The kid that gives Scrooge the good news that it’s CHRISTMAS DAY)

Mrs. Fezziwig - 50s+ (Happy dizzy wife of Fezziwig)

Tiny Tim - Boy (Youngest son of Bob Cratchit)

Young Scrooge - Boy (Sad neglected young Scrooge)

Mrs. Cratchit - 30s-40s (Bob Cratchit’s hard working and loving wife)

Mrs. Dilber - 40s+ (Scrooge’s long-suffering housekeeper)

2nd Spirit - Ageless (The biggest boldest of all the Spirits)

1st Spirit - Ageless (Childlike spirit of Christmas past)

Maggie - 20s (Cheerful guest at Fred and Kate’s party)

Caroline - 20s-20s (Poor wife of Thomas)

Fanny - young teen or tween (Young Scrooge’s beloved older sister)

Kate - 20s (Fred’s loving and kind-hearted wife)

Belle - 20s (Ebenezer’s true love)

Martha - late teens-20s (Bob Cratchit’s eldest child)

Violet and Ruth - teens/20s (The Fezziwig daughters)

Belinda - Teens (Youngest Cratchit daughter)

Charwoman - 40s+ (Poor woman trying to sell off Scrooge’s belongings)

AUDITION STEPS:

  1. For the audition, please choose 2-3 of the short sides provided at the end of the document. There are a variety of characters to read for and I’m trying to hear what range you can bring vocally to a production and your characterizations. Choose contrasting characters and pieces. Please note: the roles you choose aren’t the only roles you will be considered for. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is auditioning for every role. Have fun, make interesting (but smart) vocal choices grounded in the emotional stakes of the text and the given circumstances of the character. Full text versions of A Christmas Carol are available online if you want to re-familiarize yourself with the story and characters. This is a fairly straightforward adaptation of the novella, most of the dialogue come directly from Dickens.
  2. Choose your sides and then record them into a sound file, you can use voice memos on your phone or record it on your computer with Garage Band, Audacity, or any other similar program. Try and record in a quiet place and do not alter the files in any way with sound effects or filters. I just want to hear your voice and interpretation of the character as clearly as possible. When you record your audition please slate it: “Hi, my name is Fred Smith and I will be reading for Bob Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Present.” Then perform your pieces.
  3. Follow this link to find the Christmas Carol Auditions folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1fpBQ7KVbo0y9A0V4kA3vWJwXz3o-F9lP?usp=sharing
  4. In the audition folder you will find an Audition Form, please download and fill out with your information. Make sure and include an email that you check regularly so that we may contact you. The form will ask for conflicts with the rehearsal schedule - just because you have some conflicts does not mean you won’t be cast. Fill out with any issues such as work conflicts, travel, etc. that overlap with our schedule. (Not everyone will be called to every rehearsal.)
  5. Create a folder in the Auditions folder and label it with your name then put your filled-out audition form and sound files into the folder. Done and done. Auditions are due in the Audition Folder by October 18 at 11:59 pm.
  6. Congratulations: You have successfully auditioned for A Christmas Carol.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL REHEARSALS:

A Christmas Carol will begin rehearsals October 20 at 6:00 pm and run Monday-Thursday 6:00 - 9:30 pm and Sundays 2-6:00 pm. Actors will submit recordings throughout the process with a scheduled release date of the full production on December 4.

Please note, although we would love to be able to rehearse in person, OSU is strictly limiting in-person contact throughout the summer session. In order to fully participate in this production of A Christmas Carol please make sure you have access to a reliable internet connection, a computer with simultaneous video and audio capabilities or a reliable web cam, and a means of recording and uploading your sound files (the voice memo on your cell phone can work just fine).

This is going to be a fun and challenging project to tackle. If you have any questions about the auditions, the process, or just Shakespeare in general, please contact me at elizabeth.helman@oregonstate.edu

I’m looking forward to hearing your rad auditions soon!

AUDITION SIDES: Choose 2-3 of the following to record and upload to the Audition Folder.

1: BOB CRATCHIT

But alas . . . so much joy was nothing to one Ebenezer Scrooge. Let me begin. Marley was dead. There was no doubt about that. Old Marley was dead as a door-nail. Mind, I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But let us not disturb the wisdom of our ancestors in the coining of this phrase. Permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was dead as a door-nail. And having clerked for many a season in the offices of Scrooge and Marley I can say, in all honestly, that I knew Marley as well as any. That is to say . . . I hardly knew him at all. And so . . . once upon a time–of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve­–old Scrooge came into his counting house. It was seven years to the day that Jacob Marley had died.

2: FRED

There are many things in this world from which I have derived good, but by which I have not profited. Christmas is one of them. I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time. The only time I know of, in the long calendar year, when men and women open their hearts freely and regard others as if they really were fellow-passengers through this life and not another race of creatures bound on their own journeys. And therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good and will do me good! And I say, God bless it!

3. MRS. DILBER

I had been that miserable Mr. Scrooge’s housekeeper for fifteen years and I’d never seen a look on his face quite like that. Mr. Scrooge at first, could not unsee what he had seen on his door. It was Marley’s face, after all. Old Jacob Marley’s face just as he had remembered it. It was not angry or ferocious, but had looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look. It had not been in impenetrable shadow, as other objects in the street had been, but had a dismal light about it. Scrooge’s hard heart, for only a moment, allowed a tiny twinge at the strange phenomenon that he carried into his home. He did not wish to believe his own eyes and certainly not believe in any feeling such a shriveled heart could muster. And so he shook it off and the miserable old sack of bones moved into his bedchamber, mumbling and grumbling the whole way. He sat that night beside a miserable little flame taking his miserable supper of grey gruel and boiled potatoes alone. And when the last ember of that flame died out, he laid his head upon his pillow. He could hear the carolers in the distance, but they offered no comfort, for he wanted none.

4. MARLEY

I give no comfort. I have none to give. Comfort is conveyed by other kinds of ministers to other kinds of men. My own spirit never wandered beyond that melancholy counting house and knows no comfort. In life, my spirit never wandered beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing pit and now, only weary journeys lie before me! No rest, no peace! Hear me, Scrooge, my time grows short. In light of my penance, I am here to warn you tonight that you have a chance I never did. You may still escape my loathsome fate. Upon this night, you will be haunted by three spirits!

5. BELLE

Surely you fear the world too much. All you other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, gain for the sake of gain, now engrosses you. Have I not? Your desire for this Idol has swallowed the man I used to know. Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so, until we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. Now you are changed. When we promised our love to each other, you were another man. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart is fraught with such misery now that we have been split in two. How often I have thought of this, I will not say. I did not want to believe you had changed so, at first I tried not to see. But the shadow of greed had so consumed you that I could not longer recognize your face or your heart. Now that the truth is so apparent, I can release you.

7: SECOND SPIRIT

There is much to see. Around the city and around the world, people feast together. Golden, crisp turkeys, red apples, pies and puddings dusted with sugar. Bellies are full and spirits are high. Glasses are raised and laughter is heard over and over in rooms and halls.  Do you not feel the warmth in the air? It rises above the cold and the frost and enters the hearts of so many. It is a place where miners live, who labor in the bowels of the earth, but they know me. See! See how the light warms them, see how cheerful the company is assembled round the fire. Dressed in their finest holiday attire, they celebrate together sharing what little they have as if they were the wealthiest family in the world.

8: TINY TIM

We have endeavored in this Ghostly little story to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which we hope shall not put you out of humor with yourself, with the season, or with us. May it haunt your houses pleasantly. This is the story of a great old city, and a great time of year, and a man . . . who had forgotten what a great man truly was.

9: FANNY

You’ll never believe it, Ebenezer. I hardly believe it myself! I have come to take you home! And home for good and all forever and ever! Father is so much kinder than he used to be that home is like Heaven! He has changed, Ebenezer, changed for the good. He had been ever so much more cheerful that I drew up the courage to ask him, once more, if you might come home and he said yes! He sent me in a coach to bring you!

10: Scrooge

Bah, humbug! What else can I be when I live in a world of fools? Merry Christmas! Out upon Merry Christmas! If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.