Open Calls

Production information

by Holly Hughes

Summer is over but that doesn’t mean you can’t camp! Surge out of pandemic isolation and into the Sapphic soap opera the patriarchy doesn't want you to see . . .

Equal parts film noir, postmodern romp, and low-brow glee, The Well of Horniness is a camp-fueled cliff-hanger featuring libidinous lesbians, licentious ladies, and mysterious men (the mystery? they’re actually women!) in a who-done-it case you won't even WANT to solve! Written by performance artist Holly Hughes for her fellow conspirators at the WOW Café, this raucous and raunchy radio-play-wannabe is your entrée into avant-garde circles—if you don't mind walking in circles. 

Set your inhibitions aside and strap on your seatbelt for all the plot twists, sound effects, and shag-carpet jokes you can take! Come join us for this Freudian slip into the Well of Horniness.

Subject matter keywords

The Well of Horniness contains:

  • Gunshots, sirens, possible atmospherics
  • Implied violence
  • Coarse language and sexual dialogue
  • Intimacy choreography

IMPORTANT Casting Conditions: 

  • Please familiarize yourself with the play's content before auditioning. The full script by Holly Hughes is accessible via IUCAT.
  • The Well of Horniness requires a cast of women. Queer-identifying performers are strongly encouraged to audition.
  • Actors in the Lead Ensemble must be in Bloomington and available for on campus rehearsals one week before the start of the academic term (Monday-Saturday 8/16-21).
  • Returning undergraduate actors will be considered for open roles in the Lead Ensemble. Incoming freshmen and other undergraduate actors can audition for the remaining open roles as part of the Fall 2021 General Auditions.
  • As the first show in this season's lineup, The Well of Horniness is working on a compressed production schedule. Conflicts will be difficult to honor and are strongly discouraged; any potential conflicts MUST be reported in advance to be considered. Actors should plan to attend rehearsal most days until the show opens. No rehearsal on first day of classes or Labor Day.
  • Remaining Ensemble Callbacks are scheduled for Tuesday 8/24. Rehearsals with the Full ensemble will commence immediately after casting is completed. First read-through is Friday 8/27.
  • There will be three Saturday rehearsals: 8/28, 9/11, and 9/25 (Tech)

Lead Ensemble Roles:

  • BABS: Pre-cast with M.F.A. Acting Candidate
  • VICKI: Pre-cast with M.F.A. Acting Candidate
  • GARNET: Breeches role, the "Lady Dick," a no-nonsense private eye, former officer of the law, and professional smooth-talker with alluring yet dismissive sexual energy
  • AL: Breeches role (very butch), police chief archetype, a cynical straight talker, the patriarchy personified; funny guy, but often takes it a step too far
  • ROD: Breeches role, a carpet salesman, smarmy and clueless; thinks Walt Disney World is the greatest vacation destination ever
  • GEORGETTE: Former sorority sister with lots of naughty secrets, very confident; knows how to wield her charisma and curves to her advantage
  • THE CONSPIRATOR: Shapeshifter role (secretary, newsboy, waitress, etc.); requires a playful character actor with the ability to make voices and comic sounds, croon like a lounge singer, and scream like the victim of a horror film

Due by end of day Monday, July 5: To be considered for a role in the Lead Ensemble, please submit a 3–5-minute video that best showcases your comedic sensibility. Any combination of monologues, stand-up jokes, impersonations, personal commentary, tricks, pranks, or more are welcome - just make it FUNNY! Actors who wish to be considered for the role of The Conspirator may also include with their audition a roughly 16-bar cut of "The Lady is a Tramp" in a style of their choosing.

Remaining Ensemble Roles: 

NARRATOR A

NARRATOR B

NARRATOR C

SALES LADY, also plays Doctor

RANGER, also plays Judge + "Man 1"

DEPUTY, also plays Officer + "Man 2"

HAROLD, also plays Blonde A + Inmate A

LOUISE, also plays Blonde B + Inmate B

By Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill in collaboration with Elisabeth Hauptmann
Based on The Beggar's Opera by John Gay
English translations by Simon Stephens

Polly tries to save him. Jenny tries to stop him. Macheath’s on the move. In 1928, after an intense study of Marx, Brecht and long-time collaborator Elisabeth Hauptmann pen Brecht’s first ‘play with music’ about a gang of thieves and grifters who “can’t have ethics that they can’t afford”. The Threepenny Opera is a biting satire on the post-war rise of capitalism. Based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, this darkly comic translation by Simon Stephens pits Macheath against “King of the Beggars” Peachum and the law. Propelled by Kurt Weill’s extraordinary score, Brecht’s story and theories merge in a pageant of cynicism and truth through tuneful music including standards like “Pirate Jenny” and “The Ballad of Mack the Knife.”

CONTENT WARNING: This play contains a great deal of violence (physical and sexual), use of stage blood, graphic language, use of slurs, sexually explicit content, implied drug use, a live firearm (blanks), as well as some moments of intimacy (stage kissing, undressing down to Victorian era undergarments, intimate physical touch, et al). Please indicate your openness to performing and/or witnessing these moments on your audition form honestly. Your honesty about the content you are open to exploring with guidance from an Intimacy and Fight Director will help us better respect your personal boundaries during the casting process. We will have professionally certified Intimacy Director Samantha Kaufman on board as well as faculty member Leraldo Anzaldua as our Fight Choreographer.

This creative team is committed to inclusive, equitable casting for each role. Please audition without regard to any prior precedent for this production around race, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, religion, national and ethnic origin or any other basis prohibited by law. All character descriptions describe the CHARACTER'S identity and NOT the actor's identity. It is important to note that some actors will be deliberately cast in roles outside of their own gender identity; if this is something you are not open to, please indicate so on your audition form. Additionally, all characters will have a cockney accent that will vary in thickness. Please note that we will have Nancy Lipschultz as our dialect coach on the project so no need to feel as if you must utilize an accent for audition purposes unless you are confident in doing so. "AS CAST" indicates that this track will also appear as other ensemble characters throughout the play.

MACHEATH (known as Mack the Knife) male, late 30s, tenor, any ethnicity.
The anti-hero of our tale and the leader of the gang who marries Polly Peachum. Described by Brecht as a "short, stocky man of about 40 with a head like a radish." Mack is a sex addicted, calculating, dangerous (yet charming), former military man who has a compelling sex appeal for all who encounter him. MUST BE OPEN TO ENACTING STAGE VIOLENCE (BOTH SEXUAL AND PHYSICAL), USING STAGE BLOOD, AND STAGE KISSING (WITH BOTH A MALE AND FEMALE CHARACTER) UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF INTIMACY AND FIGHT DIRECTORS.

POLLY PEACHUM female, 16-24, soprano (with strong mix/belt), any ethnicity.
Macheath's new bride, daughter of the Peachums, and an accountant for her father's business. She appears as a stereotypical ingenue on the surface, though quickly proves herself to be anything but innocent. Polly belches when she's nervous, is whip smart, uses her sexuality to her advantage, can play a dominatrix with gusto, and ultimately serves as leader of the gang in Macheath's absence. MUST BE OPEN TO STAGE KISSING A MALE CHARACTER AND UNDRESSING DOWN TO VICTORIAN ERA UNDERGARMENTS ONSTAGE UNDER GUIDANCE OF INTIMACY DIRECTOR.

JONATHAN JEREMIAH PEACHUM (JJ Peachum, Mr. Peachum) male, 50s, baritone, any ethnicity.
The leader of a ring of beggars who prides himself on his morality, but will manipulate and blackmail whomever it takes to protect his daughter Polly, that he worships. Flamboyant, highly perfumed, and decorated; he is in a lackluster marriage with Celia and is still attempting to salvage what remains. STAGE COMBAT EXPERIENCE PREFERRED.

CELIA PEACHUM (Mrs. Peachum) female, 40s, mezzo-soprano with high extension, any ethnicity.
The mother of Polly and wife of JJ Peachum. She craves passion and is openly unhappy in her marriage, seeking sexual conquests in clubs per her and JJ's "little arrangement", which she often makes money from in exchange for her services. Celia also holds deep feelings for Macheath (whether those be strictly sexual or romantic is up for debate), which presents a challenging situation for her at the news of her daughter Polly's recent marriage.

CHIEF INSPECTOR BROWN (Jackie "Tiger" Brown) - THIS ROLE HAS BEEN CAST WITH AN MFA ACTOR. male, 40s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
The chief of police, Macheath's old army buddy, and father to Lucy. Tall and broad shouldered; intimidating on the surface but has a big soft spot for his "Macko." Feels a deep sense of obligation towards both his military background and those he served alongside. MUST BE OPEN TO KISSING A MALE CHARACTER UNDER GUIDANCE OF INTIMACY DIRECTOR.

LUCY BROWN/AS CAST female, 20s, mezzo-soprano/soprano, any ethnicity.
The daughter of Chief Inspector Brown and Macheath's lover (and hidden secret from Polly and her father, Tiger Brown). A fiery and strikingly influential presence; curvy and perfectly aware of how beautiful she is.

JENNY DIVER/AS CAST female, 30s, mezzo-soprano, any ethnicity.
The longest member of the ladies of Grape Lane, a heroin addict, and longtime friend and lover of Macheath's, though she ultimately betrays him. Desperate, but savvy. MUST BE OPEN TO USING EXTREMELY FOUL LANGUAGE, IMPLIED DRUG USE, STAGE VIOLENCE, AND SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT.

OFFICER SMITH/PASTOR KIMBLE/AS CAST - THIS COMBINED ROLE HAS BEEN CAST WITH AN MFA ACTOR.
OFFICER SMITH: male, 40s, any voice type, any ethnicity. Lackey to Chief Inspector Brown, preferably short in stature and with strong skills in physical comedy. Demonstrates a great sense of irony and opportunism. MUST BE OPEN TO ENACTING STAGE VIOLENCE AND UTILIZING STAGE BLOOD UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF A FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHER.
PASTOR KIMBLE: male, 50s-60s, any voice type, any ethnicity. On the lecherous side, or perhaps a drunk, or perhaps both. Regardless, it's debatable about his legality of officiating a wedding.

CHARLIE FILCH male, 18-24, any voice type, any ethnicity.
A young person who comes to Peachum's shop to become a beggar and is quickly ingratiated into the business.

A BALLADEER any gender, 20s, baritenor or mezzo-soprano, any ethnicity.
Our master of ceremonies, historian, and guide through the evening. Should have a strong and charming, yet somewhat sinister, stage presence. Sings the iconic song "Mack the Knife." PLEASE NOTE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS.

MATTHIAS (aka The Shadow)/AS CAST male, 20s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
A brash member of Macheath's gang that is incredibly street smart (though you wouldn't necessarily know it) and dangerous. Has such a thick accent (Cockney or potentially Scottish/Irish) that he is impossible to understand and therefore the Balladeer uses placards every time Matthias speaks for translation purposes. STRONG PHYSICAL COMEDY AND STAGE COMBAT EXPERIENCE A PLUS.

ROBERT (aka The Iceman)/AS CAST male, 20s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
A member of Macheath's gang with a penchant for diamonds. Doesn't need to steal as he grew up wealthy and even acts like an "aristocrat with a dictionary", but is a member of the gang to stick it to his father. STRONG PHYSICAL COMEDY AND STAGE COMBAT EXPERIENCE A PLUS.

JIMMY (aka "Retail")/AS CAST male, 20s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
A loudmouth, rambunctious member of Macheath's gang who both sells drugs and is an addict themself. STRONG PHYSICAL COMEDY AND STAGE COMBAT EXPERIENCE A PLUS.

WALTER (aka "The Scholar")/AS CAST male, 30s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
Believes himself to be second in command to Macheath, but is not as smart as he believes himself to be regardless of his loyalty. Holds himself similarly to the Artful Dodger from Oliver! STRONG PHYSICAL COMEDY AND STAGE COMBAT EXPERIENCE A PLUS.

BETTY/AS CAST female, 14-18, any voice type, any ethnicity.
The youngest of the ladies of Grape Lane and quite the spitfire. She dresses as innocently as possible as her 'brand', but she couldn't be further from innocent. When antagonizing Mack and Jenny, Macheath attempts to violate Betty sexually and then ultimately uses her as a shield when Officer Smith attempts to shoot him. MUST BE OPEN TO STAGED SEXUAL VIOLENCE AS WELL AS STAGE BLOOD UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF INTIMACY AND FIGHT DIRECTORS.

RUBY/AS CAST female, 20s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
The second oldest next to Jenny and the closest to a voice of reason they have at Grape Lane. She's been around but isn't completely jaded yet.

VIXEN/AS CAST female, 20s, any voice type, any ethnicity.
She is a resident of Grape Lane that bears similarities to the mythical Greek character Echo. A tragic victim of the brutality of sex trafficking.

ENSEMBLE/SWING Seeking an actor/singer/mover of all gender identities, ethnicities, and sexual orientations to play roles such as a BEGGAR, LADY OF GRAPE LANE, and PRISONER. This track will also function as a swing to cover a third of the speaking roles without vocal solos.

ENSEMBLE/SWING Seeking a dancer/actor-combatant of all gender identities, ethnicities, and sexual orientations to play a POLICE OFFICER, KING EDWARD, and additional features. This track will also function as a swing to cover a third of the speaking roles without vocal solos.

ENSEMBLE/SWING Seeking a dancer/actor-combatant of all gender identities, ethnicities, and sexual orientations to play a POLICE OFFICER and additional features. This track will also function as a swing to cover a third of the speaking roles without vocal solos.

By Charly Evon Simpson

In Charly Evon Simpson’s richly layered script, Fay copes with the death of her mother and loss of her childhood home, and seeks solace by visiting the bridge her mother took her to as a child. There she meets Hopkins, who walks the bridge as a balm for his own grieving. JUMP is a play full of flickering lights, the memories we carry, and the magic of hope in the midst of loss.

Genre: dark comedy, drama

Subject matter keywords: grief, Depression, loss, family

FAY: 28, Black, woman
younger sister, hooked on her vape now that she doesn’t smoke cigarettes
can be played by: age – 20s, 30s; race/ethnicity - Black, African, Caribbean, or African American; gender – female

JUDY: 31, Black, woman
older sister, still smells the lingering cigarette smoke and likes the color blue
can be played by: age – 30s; race/ethnicity – Black, African, Caribbean, or African American; gender – female

HOPKINS: late 20s-30s, male
a fellow bridge walker
can be played by: age – 20s, 30s; race/ethnicity – any race/ethnicity; gender – male

DAD: 50s-60s, Black, male
lonely
can be played by: age – 50s, 60s; race/ethnicity – Black, African, Caribbean, or African American; gender - male