The Wind in the Willows

AUDITIONS NOTICE

The Wind in the Willows

By Kenneth Grahame. Adapted by Mike Kenny

Please read carefully all the details, in particular rehearsal dates. Please do not audition if you have significant clashes with the rehearsal or performance period. If you are unsure whether unavailability will be an issue please check first by emailing Sabrina Poole - sdpoole93@hotmail.com

Director: Sabrina Poole     

Production Dates:  17th August-1st September.  15 performances in total. Saturday 18th & 25th include 2.30pm matinees. 4pm performance on Sunday 19th. All other performances are at 7.30pm. 20th, 26th & 27th are days off.

Rehearsal Dates:  Week beginning 2nd July. 4-5 weekday evenings a week, with possibility for Sunday workshop early on in the process.

Audition Dates: 

Option A: Thursday 19th April: 7-9pm

Option B: Saturday 21st April: 6-8pm

Option C: Sunday 6th May: 6-8pm

If you are absolutely not able to make an audition date but want to be seen please still email Sabrina at sdpoole93@hotmail.com

How to sign-up:This can be done either via email or by coming into the theatre office.

Coming in to the theatre: Sign-up on the sheet specifying if you have any preference regarding the type of part – ‘Solo role’ or ‘Multi-Role’. State if there is an audition date that you cannot make. Extracts which will be used in the audition workshop can be collected from the office. A reading copy is also available.

By email: Email sdpoole93@hotmail.com specifying all of the following information:

‘Name’ ‘Phone number’ ‘Email address’, ‘Whether there is an audition date you cannot do’ and if you have any preference between a ‘Solo Role’ and a ‘Multi-role’. Please also specify whether you would like to be emailed a scanned copy of the extracts and/or the script. If you don’t specify these requests in your emailed it will be assumed you are collecting hard copies from the office. 

Format of auditions: Group workshop-style audition. Auditionees are asked to come for the start of the audition slot and attend the duration. The workshop with include movement work, devising and simple group singing. It will conclude with looking at pre-supplied extracts in groups/pairs. For the purposes of the audition the extracts will focus on the roles of Badger, Mole, Toad and Ratty. You do not have to learn the extracts.

About the Play

Mike Kenny’s adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 novel brings the much loved characters to the stage. Starting several years after the end of the novel, Kenny’s play shows us a dilapidated Toad Hall at the mercy of weasel estate agents. As our anthropomorphised heroes remerge, we return back to the events of the novel; Mole’s venture into the wider world, his befriending of Rat, their search for the help of Badger, and, of course, Toad’s endless pursuit of the next best-thing .

Despite his friends’ attempts to curb his destructive enthusiasm, Toad’s newest obsession – the very fast, very noisy, and very crash-able motorcar – lands him in trouble with the law after he commandeers an unsuspecting couple’s car and drives it into a tree. The human world isn’t so forgiving of this reckless amphibian and the judge throws Toad in jail for theft, reckless driving, and cheek to officers of the law(the most heinous crime of them all). Plucky Toad can’t be kept down, however, and with the help of the Gaoler’s daughter and her aunt, he pulls off a daring escape, only to return to Toad Hall to find it overrun with the weasels and stoats from the Wild Wood. Now, Toad with the help of Rat, Mole, and Badger must fight to get Toad his home back.

Mike Kenney is one of this country’s foremost writers of theatre for families. His critically-acclaimed adaptation of The Railway Children, which began life at King Cross Station, was staged as The Maddermarket Christmas show in 2012. This adaptation of The Wind in the Willows premiered at The York Theatre Royal in 2010.

The Production

The play lends itself to an experimental ensemble approach, in fact, the writer actively encourages as much creativity as possible. Featuring: a fight, a boat, caravan, car and train journey, car crashes, funny dances, and falling into rivers, this is a highly physical show with huge amounts of potential for extra added comedy. It moves through multiple settings and seasons but always with the backdrop being the pursuit to win back Toad Hall. The production will seek to embrace the script’s potential of singing and music, developing this around the casts’ abilities.

Casting Breakdown

The production actively encourages actors from all ethnic backgrounds to audition.

This production is for actors who have finished compulsory full-time education.

The adaptation consists of over 20 different roles, but was written to be performed by just 8 actors. This production will stick to the spirit of this multi-role-playing approach whilst remaining flexible to the chance of expanding/adapting roles to suit actors.

There are no restrictions on gender, appearance or age for any of the parts. The production seeks flexible and versatile character actors with good physicality.

Singing & Music: The adaptation contains a handful of songs in the styles of amusing ‘ditties’, plus a Christmas carol. All are sung in groups, apart from one by Toad and one by the Chief Weasel. Actors should be able to hold a tune, but do not need to be experienced singers. Performing the songs with characters and humour is more crucial. Actors are welcomed with any instrumental experience, of any kind, and are invited to bring their instruments to the audition.

Solo Roles

Mole – Younger than the rest of the group, at least in worldly experience, Mole is a sensible and careful animal. Before happening upon Rat on the river s/he had never ventured out of his/her hole and knows very little of the world which surrounds him/her. S/he is generous and loyal to his/her friends, particularly Rat.

Badger – A wise and solitary creature, Badger is the ‘oldest’ of the characters, knowing a great many things of the world past and present.  To his/her friends s/he is friendly and hospitable, but towards the wild wooders, and on occasion Toad, s/he is an intimidating presence not to be crossed.

Rat – Rat is a congenial fellow, a cultivated personality who enjoys a quiet life alongside the river. Particularly fond of boating, s/he is a sociable creature and, similarly to Badger, understands a great deal of the world around him/her, and then does his/her best to stay removed from it. S/he is very fond of Mole, who, after their first meeting, s/he becomes a kind of mentor to.

Toad –Toad of Toad Hall, the infamous character. Toad is immature, inconsistent, and rash in his/her decisions. His/her boundless wealth allows him/her to take up and disregard hobbies on the slightest whim, usually after causing some form of destruction. His/her latest fascination, the motor car (which coins his/her famous catchphrase ‘Poop-poop!’) lands him/her in very hot water with the law. S/he is, in spite of this, very fond of and generous to his/her friends.

Multi-Roles

These characters establish the physical and emotional environment and as such are a crucial part of the play from the get go. They are the unwitting victims, accomplices and benefactors of Toad’s schemes and his subsequent arrest after ‘borrowing’ and crashing a motorcar.

Actors in these roles can expect to play upwards of three characters depending on casting. Versatility is key, as is strong physicality. Of particular interest for these roles are actors who play any kind of instrument, however, this is not an essential criteria.

Humans

Gaoler’s Daughter

Washerwoman

Judge

Clerk

Person One and Person Two

Guard

Train Driver

Bargee

Animals

Chief Weasel

Horse

Rabbit

Otter and Portly -

Hedgehog and Billy -

Riverbankers

Wild Wooders