Gaslight Theater will hold auditions for “Not About Nightingales” by Tennessee Williams at 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Aug. 26-27, at Hallowell City Hall, 1 Winthrop St., in Hallowell. Auditions will be cold reading from the script. Play dates are Oct. 19-21 and 26-28.

This is a raw, sprawling dramatization of real events at a Philadelphia prison in 1937. Convicts who led a hunger strike to protest conditions were locked in a scalding cell where four of them died. There also is a soft love story, with the characters Eva, the new secretary at the prison, and Jim, an inmate serving a 10-year term who works for the warden and is trying to get out on parole.

Although written in 1938, it was not produced until 1998 where the world premiere of this play was at London’s Royal National Theatre, directed by Trevor Nunn and then opened at Circle in the Square Theater in New York City where it received six Tony nominations, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play. The sympathetic treatment of blacks and homosexuals was revolutionary for the time of the premiere and may explain why the play remained unproduced for 60 years.

There are parts available for a minimum of nine males and two females which include the following (some of these characters will play multiple roles):

• Eva: Single woman, early to mid-20s, who recently gets a job at the prison as the warden’s secretary.

• Jim: Convict who’s been at the prison for 10 years, he works for the warden, mid to late 20s.

• Warden Whalen: Warden of the prison, unlikeable man, mid-40s.

• Butch: Smart-talking convict, many look to him as the leader of the convicts, 40s or 50s.

• Ollie: Well-respected black convict who is very religious, any age.

• Queen: Image-obsessed convict who is a homosexual.

• Swifty: New convict, former Olympic athlete, late teens/early 20s.

• Joe: Typical convict, viewed by many as a sidekick to Butch, any age.

• Sailor Jack: Former sailor, 20s or 30s.

• Mrs. Bristol: Mother of Sailor Jack, 40s.

• Chaplain: The chaplain of the prison, 40s to 60s.

• Reverend: The new reverend of the prison, 30s or 40s.

• Mex: Mexican convict, who is constantly praying for a way out, mid to late 20s.

The play will be directed by Lucy Rioux. This will be her first directing experience with Gaslight, but has a long history of directing for area community theaters. She was the founder of the Monmouth Community Players, co-founder of Gardiner’s Open Book Players and has also directed for the Waterville Opera House among others.

For more information, contact Rioux at [email protected] or g[email protected].

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