About the play
The play is set in The Bronx borough of New York City, New York, in 1933; and it is concerns the impoverished Berger family, who all live under one roof, and their conflicts as the parents scheme to manipulate their children's relationships to their own ends, while their children strive for their own dreams.
The audience is introduced to a unique family. The matriarch of the family, Bessie, had high hopes and dreams for her family; however, despite her hopefulness, her largest fear is that her family will lose their home and all their possessions. This fear stems from a woman down the street who had this exact thing happen to her.
The household consists of extended family such as Bessie's father, Jacob, her husband Myron, and their son Ralph, 21, and spinster daughter Hennie, 26. To top it all off, in order to ease the financial burden on the family, the Bergers have taken in an immigrant boarder, named Sam.
Besides the desire for financial stability, there are other problems that the Bergers face, such as Hennie's unwanted pregnancy. To avoid this burden on the family, Bessie insists on the marriage between Hennie and the new immigrant boarder in order to save her family's reputation and her daughter's life. Hennie has no love for Sam. The family has very different views on the arranged marriage between Hennie and Sam. For example, Ralph, a more philosophical character of the play, is not in agreement with his mother's decision. Ralph very much resembles his grandfather who is an idealist. The Berger house is therefore divided into idealists and realists, much like society as a whole.
In a turn of events, Jacob commits suicide after making Ralph the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, in hopes that this will give Ralph the freedom for which he yearns.
About the playwright
Clifford Odets (July 18, 1906 – August 14, 1963) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. Odets was widely seen as successor to Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill as O'Neill began to retire from Broadway's commercial pressures and increasing critical backlash in the mid-1930s. From early 1935 on, Odets' socially relevant dramas proved extremely influential, particularly for the remainder of the Great Depression. Odets' works inspired the next several generations of playwrights, including Arthur Miller, Paddy Chayefsky, Neil Simon, David Mamet, and Jon Robin Baitz.
About the characters
- Myron Berger – the father of the family
- Bessie Berger – his wife
- Hennie Berger – their daughter, age 26
- Ralph Berger – their son, age 21
- Uncle Morty – Bessie's brother, a successful businessman
- Jacob – father of Bessie and Morty; a Marxist; he lives with the Bergers
- Moe Axelrod – a friend of the family who eventually boards with the Bergers
- Sam Feinschreiber – an immigrant who courts Hennie
- Schlosser – the janitor in the Bergers' apartment building
Deadline to submit your Audition tape:
Friday October 20th, 2017 at 5pm
1. Prepare a two minute monologue.
2. Tape it.
3. Upload it on the platform of your preference (YouTube, Vimeo, etc...)
4. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the link to your audition tape, a password if necessary and your details. Do not send us the video file, it will not be accepted.
5. You can send your link anytime between now and October 20th, 2017.
Once we see all the audition tapes we will notify you for a call back.
First read through will take place early November.
Opening is planned for early March.
Looking forward to seeing you in action!