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Audition Announcement: MEN ON BOATS

By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by William W. Lewis
First Rehearsal: March 2, 2022 (Sunday through Thursday rehearsals)
Performances: April 15-23, 2022

Audition Information:
Auditions will be in-person, as follows:

Generals: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. in Pao Hall 2154

Callbacks: Saturday, January 29, 2022 from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. in Pao Hall 2154
Actors will be notified of a callback via email.

Purdue Department of Theatre Acting Majors and Acting Certificate Students (required to audition*):
Please prepare and memorize a contemporary 1-2 minute comedic monologue. *Note that for Men on Boats this requirement if optional for students who do not identify according to the roles open for audition.

Purdue Department of Theatre Majors, Theatre Minors, Theatre Design and Production Majors and Non-Theatre Majors: 
Interested students: Please prepare a contemporary 1-2 minute comedic monologue.
If you do not have material prepared, you may choose to prepare one of the monologues provided on the Callboard, available no later than January 14. The monologues do not need to be memorized; however, it’s best if actors are very familiar with it.

Scripts: For a perusal copy, limited scripts are available for check out in the Theatre Office or University Library.

A Note on Staged Intimacy: All staged contact will be led in rehearsals by a consultant trained in staging intimacy. All instances of staged intimacy for the characters required of the script are noted in parentheses in the character description below. If actors prefer not to be considered for characters because of staged intimacy or have questions they will be given an option to indicate this on the audition form.

A Note on Staged Violence: All staged contact will be led in rehearsals by a consultant trained in staging violence. All instances of staged violence for the characters required of the script are noted in parentheses in the character description below.

This production will be highly physical in nature and require stylized movement vocabularies.

** Important Note on COVID-19: Please note that with social distancing and safety considerations related to COVID-19, staging, including intimacy and violence may be curtailed, abstracted, or cut.

Undergraduates must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher to be eligible to be cast.

Enrollment Requirement: Student actors cast in this production must register for 2-3 credits of THTR 536 Rehearsal and Performance this semester.

Note on Casting – From the Playwright Jaclyn Backhaus

“The characters in Men on Boats were historically cisgender white males. The cast should be made up entirely of people who are not. I’m talking about racially diverse actors who are female-identifying, trans-identifying, genderfluid, and/or non-gender conforming.”

“It is my strong preference that Tsauwiat and The Bishop (so thusly O.G and Seneca Howland) be played by Native cast members. If there are not Native actors in your production, the Howlands/Utes must at least be cast as non-white.”


JOHN WESLEY POWELL, one-armed leader of the expedition – a fiery temper and excitable soul

WILLIAM DUNN, hunter and trapper

JOHN COLTON SUMNER, former soldier, current explorer – The Bear Grylls of the 1860’s

OLD SHADY, Powell’s older brother, Civil War vet – does not like people

BRADLEY, lieutenant, manic with youth (*removes pants at one point)

O.G. HOWLAND, printer/hunter – tobacco addled

SENECA HOWLAND, O.G.’s quiet little brother – tobacco addled

FRANK GOODMAN, British, so excited

HALL, mapmaker, old soul

HAWKINS, the cook

TSAUWIAT, a Ute Chief (may double with O.G. Howland)

THE BISHOP, Tsauwiat’s wife (may double with Seneca Howland)

MR. ASA, a desert settler (may double with Goodman)

WATER FOLK (4), The forces of nature/history that shape the canyon walls and represent the rushing waters.