AUDITIONS for True West at The Santa Paula Center.
125 S. Seventh Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060.
Phone #805-525-4645. www.santapaulatheatercenter.com.
Playing . Directed by Jessi May Stevenson. Please contact her with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday Jul 9, 7-930 pm
-Austin/Lee: Act 1/Scene 1, pages 7-12. Act 1/Scene 4, pages 25-33. Act 2/Scene 6, pages 43-51
-Saul/Austin/Lee: Act 1/Scene 3, pages 19-24
-Mom/Austin/Lee: Act 2/Scene 9, pages 63-71
*Sides will be posted on the Santa Paula Theater Center website shortly.
ALL ROLES OPEN!
True West, concerns the struggle for power between two brothers—Lee, a drifter and petty thief, and Austin, a successful screenwriter—and takes place in their mother’s southern California home while she is away. A screenplay which Austin had pitched to his connection in Hollywood somehow gets taken over by the pushy con-man tactics of Lee, and the brothers find themselves forced to cooperate in the creation of a story that will make or break both their lives. Lee, who claims that he can write a “truer” western than Austin because he has actually lived the western life, convinces Austin’s producer that he is the right man for the project. The conflict between the brothers creates a heated situation in which their roles as successful family man and nomadic drifter are somehow reversed, and each man finds himself admitting that he had somehow always wished he were in the other's shoes. This savage and blackly humorous version of the Cain and Abel story also satirizes the modern West’s exploitation of the romanticized cowboys-and-Indians West of American mythology.
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Austin - A squeaky clean Ivy League graduate who works as a screenwriter that has a wife and children in Northern California. He's successful, seemingly happy, and doing the things that most people are expected to do in life (get a good job, start a family, etc.), but he's really just a little brother who is still envious of his big brother. Whenever Austin talks about his brother Lee's life or how he imagined it, he always focuses on things like adventure and freedom. This could lead one to believe that Austin deep-down sees his own relatively normal life as one that is constrained and without excitement. When Lee essentially steals a piece of Austin's life, stealing his movie deal with the producer Saul, it leads Austin to, in a very real way, transform into the aggressor and pursue life as Lee. On one level, this moment can be seen as the beginning of Austin's descent into madness and depravity.
Lee - Austin's older brother. Lee is a beer-swilling desert rat and petty thief who has come to their mother's house to loot the neighbors of household appliances. He is the exact opposite of his brother in looks, sensibility, and degree of success. He is a man who has in no way succumbed to society's rules. At his core, Lee is a rambler; someone who just has to keep moving. There is nothing about him that seems settled. However, there is a part of him that seems to be seeking a finish. As much of a loner and rebel as he is, Lee is just as jealous of Austin as Austin is of him. While he pokes fun at Austin's Ivy League past, he also hints that he wishes his past could have been similar. He also clings to a past that may or may not have ever existed. He has a vision of a "true west" that has been torn down and destroyed, and he hopes to recapture this truth with his movie idea. Even as Austin descends into the darkness, he looks at his potential new life as a source of hope.
(A consideration to be had about brothers Austin and Lee is the symbiosis of the two roles. The brothers are not all that dissimilar, although they begin at opposite ends of the spectrum. They become very similar at a certain juncture in the play, then they pass each other, and ultimately, the two brothers become each other by the end.)
Saul Kimmer - A slick Hollywood producer. He is as sincere as anyone who is motivated only by profit can be. Saul comes in as if he's from a different world than Austin and Lee. He holds the promise of big time money, but you never quite know if he's for real. Clearly, he has some power in Hollywood, but there is part of him that could just be a fast talker.
Mom - An absurdist vision of a powerless or (perhaps just checked out)mother. Mom thinks Picasso is coming to town (who is established to be dead) and quietly asks Austin not to kill Lee.
"I wanted to write a play about double nature, one that wouldn't be symbolic or metaphorical or any of that stuff. I just wanted to give a taste of what it feels like to be two-sided. It's a real thing, double nature. I think we're split in a much more devastating way than psychology can ever reveal. It's not so cute. Not some little thing we can get over. It's something we've got to live with." -Sam Shepard.
"'True West' has ... arguably become Shepard's signature piece, the leanest, most pointed of his full-length works." ...David Krasner, A Companion to Twentieth Century American Drama.
"Shepard's masterwork.... It tells us a truth, as glimpsed by a 37 year old genius." ...NY Post
"It's clear, funny, naturalistic. It's also opaque, terrifying, surrealistic. If that sounds contradictory, you're on to one aspect of Shepard's winning genius; the ability to make you think you're watching one thing while at the same time he's presenting another." ...San Francisco Chronicle