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|Created Date||February 06, 2023|
|Expiration Date||March 08, 2023|
|Project Type||Non-Equity Audition|
|Project Title||Anansi the Spider: A West-African Folktale|
Improv Playhouse is seeking actors for its Spring/Summer, original touring production of Anansi the Spider: A West-African Folktale!
From the Playwright:
"The stories of Anansi the Spider - the Giver of Stories - when first told, were stories of hope, resilience, and endurance for those who were stolen from their home and brought to America as a part of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. But, the story did not fade there: it prevailed through America's history of slavery, and it has endured to our present storytelling, influencing tales from Brer Rabbit to Marvel's Spiderman, snuggling under the covers as families gather around book covers at bedtime. Even still, so many people do not know about this story that is cemented in the cultural history of America. Ironically, the " Giver of Stories' " own story is often untold. As a portion of Black history, it too has been forgotten, co-opted, or deemed to be "over there" and "for them." Small.
As we enter the TYA storytelling space, this begs the question: how can young people learn their history? How can young people learn from the history of others? How can it live within them? How can they access it? How can they partake in their history when it is often kept from them in institutional environments such as educational systems? How can we work past the barriers, limits, and gatekeeping to proudly, honestly, and fully connect to and express who we are?
This silly yet serious adaptation of Anansi and the Sky God follows Anansi, the human, who lives today in 2023 as they journey with their namesake, Anansi the Spider, to discover the story of their name. This play invites us to bring the story of Anansi the Spider into the present. It invites us to collaborate with our history. It invites us to be silly and joyous. It invites us to be clever and resilient. It invites us to allow our past to live within us and fuel us. And it invites us to be proud of who we are and where we come from, as we become our own Givers of Story."
From the Director:
"Hello! I am so excited to be directing Improv Playhouse's spring touring show-- and I am especially excited to be diving into a new work! This production, directorially, is all about play, and in what ways we can create magic with just our bodies and a few props. Expect a lot of shadow work, a lot of weight sharing, a lot of devising and messing around and playing pretend. Given that this show tours, I am looking forward to working with an ensemble of folks that tell stories from their hearts and bones. Anansi is trying to figure out their story, and we are too-- it's up to us to create the jungle for kids all across Chicagoland and to help them find a connection to themselves and those around them."
**Note: We intend to retain POC ownership of this story, and will be casting accordingly. Where important, exact descent has been specified in the breakdown. Anansi, Anansi the Spider, Sibling, Grandparent, and Nyame can be played by actors of any gender, and the pronouns in the script will be changed to reflect casting / actor pronouns.
ANANSI [Black, African American]- Brave, clever, caring, curious. Young yet unstoppable.
ANANSI THE SPIDER/ "ATS" [Black, African American]- A wise trickster who cares deeply about giving stories to people, both now and then.
SIBLING/ONINI [BIPOC] - The taller, bigger, older sibling. And even though their younger sibling may be the star at school, they are the star at dance, and proud of it. Their height is their superpower. There is a healthy "rivalry" between Anansi and Sibling.
DAD/OSEBO [BIPOC] - Watching the game is his sacred time. Not. To. Be. Disrupted. Roars at the TV proudly for his team. Is a stickler for ritual/ superstitious. Goofy.
GRANDPARENT/MMOBORO [BIPOC] - Faaaasasssst asleep. Eerily still until chainsaw snores roll out of their body, buzzing through the house. Always wearing a yellow flower(s).
NYAME [BIPOC] - Pompous. Larger than life. Booming. Enjoys toying with the world below the clouds.
All actors will receive a $100 rehearsal stipend, as well as an additional $40 per performance.* Travel stipends may also be provided.
*The number of shows will depend on demand and availability - to date, we have upwards of twenty performances already scheduled, and expect more as the season nears.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Director: Samara Malik
Playwright: Hailey Brunson
IP TYA Creative Director: Kira Nutter
IP Artistic Director: David Stuart
IP Office Manager: Rachel Kwiecinski
Actors will be contracted from March (2023) - August (2023) with a four-week rehearsal process beginning March 6th. For touring performances, actors must have at least two morning/midday availabilities a week. These rehearsals and performances will be scheduled around actor availability - a full calendar of pre-existing bookings will be provided at callbacks.
Touring performances will take place across Chicagoland (carpool potentially available). Rehearsals will take place at Otherworld Theatre (Chicago, IL).
Please prepare a side of your choosing from this provided folder - and a short video detailing an experience where you felt seen. For the video, creative storytelling is encouraged, and - though it is not required - puppet/toy/physical theatre, and/or highlighting a special skill (anything from singing to balancing a ball on your nose and beyond) are welcome. Above all, prioritize PLAY over perfection! Said supplemental video should preferably run no more than 2-minutes in length. Submit your tape(s) through This Form - - as an UNLISTED YouTube or Vimeo link.
Auditions/forms are due by Monday, February 20th at 11:59pm. Callbacks will be held the weekend of February 25th.