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Auditions this Saturday for 'Masquerade of the Red Death'

It’s hard to think about Halloween when we’ve just celebrated the summer solstice. But this Saturday, June 28, auditions are being held for a special production of “The Masquerade Of The Red Death”—a dramatization of the classic Edgar Allan Poe tale of terror. The actual event, scheduled for October 25, 2014, promises to be an immersive performance experience in which the audience itself is part of the macabre masquerade.

The Masquerade of the Red Death comes to the area in October, but auditions are this Saturday.
The Masquerade of the Red Death comes to the area in October, but auditions are this Saturday.Artwork by Steve Czapiewski

An open casting call for performers will be held at The Actors Loft in Royal Oak at 919 S Main Street, from 11 am until 5 p.m. Actors are encouraged to sign up ahead of time to guarantee an audition time slot by emailing the producers at MasqueradeOfTheRedDeath@gmail.com. Indicate which role(s) you'd like to audition for and attach your resume and head shot.

Reading the Poe story will give you a good grounding in the plot, which deals with a wealthy prince who tries to live in luxury while the peasantry is ravaged by the plague. An even better preparation for an audition, according to the producers, will be a simple viewing of 1964 film, "The Masque Of The Red Death", available on dvd, Amazon streaming, or even by searching YouTube.

The primary characters closely follow those in the film:

Prince Prospero (male, lead) – Vincent Price's part from the film. Prospero is charasmatic, engaging and evil, under the guise of protecting his friends. He has the most lines out of everyone in the story. At some points, it borders on being a one-man performance. Actors are not required to “be Vincent Price,” but watching his performance would be a good place to start.

  • The Red Death (male) – The personification of a horrible plague, The Red Death, which causes death in all who come in contact, within a window of 30 minutes. Ideally, this would be a large, imposing character. The Red Death only has one scene, but it is the most powerful of the story.
  • Francesca (female) - Played in the 1964 film by Jane Asher (Paul McCartney's then girlfriend). In the film, she is a 19 year old, red haired beauty on the eve of marrying her fiance, when she is kidnapped by Prospero after he burns down the village. She is sweet, innocent, has few lines, and is willing to sacrifice herself to save those whom she loves. She appears in most scenes with Prospero.
  • Esmeralda (female) – An 18 year old ballet dancer, portrayed as a dwarf in the film, but actually played by a 7 year old girl. Does not need to be played by a dwarf. Esmeralda only has a couple scenes. And adult actor is preferred, but producers will consider a minor.
  • Hop Toad (male) – Esmeralda's boyfriend in the film, portrayed as a dwarf, but not required here. Hop Toad has three scenes.
  • Alfredo (male) – A rich friend of Prospero's. Basically, he's a jerk that gets what's coming to him later in the story. Alfredo has three scenes.
  • Extras – male and female adults, no spoken lines.