Several audition opportunities at Starlighters Theatre

     Starlighters II Community Theatre is holding auditions for the play “Inheritors” by Susan Glaspell on July 16-18 at 7 p.m. at the theatre. The play expresses Glaspell’s interest in social justice and the balance between the law and the fundamental rights of Americans.

     The characters needed are: Smith, a young salesman; Grandmother, who says exactly what she thinks; Silas, an idealist and farmer who is the founder of the college; Felix Fejevary Sr., a Hungarian immigrant friend of Silas; Felix Fejevary Jr., appears both as a student and later as a college official; Senator Lewis, very concerned with being “a real American;” Horace, a college student; Doris and Fusie, college students; Madeline Fejevary Morton, granddaughter of Silas who stands up for her beliefs; Professor Holden, college professor criticized for lack of patriotism; Ira Morton, Madeline’s father; Emil Johnson, courthouse worker.

     Characters’ ages are from 18-65 for male roles and 18-90 years old for the female roles. Casting decisions will be made on audition readings, and actors need not fit character ages exactly.

     Glaspell’s drama begins in 1879 when maverick Silas Morton defies the wisdom of realtors and homesteaders to establish a college on prime land he owns located on the Mississippi River. (Glaspell’s real great-grandfather lived on the Mississippi River along the western edge of Davenport across from Blackhawk’s ancestral village. Glaspell studied Blackhawk’s writings and took the title from his autobiography, which stated that Americans should be worthy “inheritors” of the land.)

     We see the result of his controversial decision 40 years later when his granddaughter, Madeline Fejevary, is a student at the college he founded. She has his idealism, which finds her in a very real predicament at the college when she comes face to face with the issues of free speech, censorship, and racism of the early 20th century.

     Glaspell is an Iowa playwright who received a Pulitzer Prize in 1931 for her play “Alison’s House” set in Iowa, but inspired by the poet Emily Dickinson. Glaspell’s work is said to be “one of American drama’s best kept secrets.” Starlighters hopes to reveal that secret.

     In order to help familiarize audiences with Glaspell’s works, Starlighters will be doing a staged reading in August at their special event “Trifles and Treats: A Glaspell Gala.” The evening will begin with desserts (including various trifles, of course) and continue with Glaspell’s one-act play “Trifles,” and a new one-woman show by Milbre Burch entitled “Sometimes I Sing.”

     “Trifles” is said to be one the greatest works of American theatre and has roles for three men, 30-65 years old, and two women, 40-65 years old. “Sometimes I Sing” is for one woman, age of 30-plus. Actors may read for these two one-acts at the auditions for “Inheritors.”

     Auditions are July 16, 17, and 18 at 7 p.m. at the theatre (200 E. Main St., Anamosa).

     “Trifles” is about a murder investigation loosely based on a true story Glaspell reported for the Des Moines Daily News. There is a local connection to this play through the Iowa Reformatory in Anamosa where the woman, Margaret Hossack, suspected of killing her husband, spent time before her second trial. “Sometimes I Sing” is a new one-act written from Hossack’s perspective while incarcerated in Anamosa.

     Many rich opportunities are available for actors of all ages.

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