“The play’s the thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king,” Hamlet tells us in the ultimate Shakespearean tragedy. And players for the play are wanted, according to Morgan Vaughan, who will direct the Round Table Theater Company’s production of “Hamlet” at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater in East Hampton this fall.
All parts are open, with the exception of the title character, which will be played by Tristan Vaughan, and Gertrude, to be played by Dianne Benson.
Actresses should take note, as Ms. Vaughan is planning a nontraditional approach to some of the supporting roles. “I would encourage women who are really strong to audition,” Ms. Vaughan said.
Men and women alike should arm themselves with a two-minute Shakespearean soliloquy or monologue, along with a contrasting contemporary two-minute piece. Ms. Vaughan asks those auditioning to make choices in their material that display the actor’s versatility.
Don’t have a monologue by the Bard in your hip pocket? Not to worry, Ms. Vaughan said, you can read from the text itself. The goal, she said, is to meld together a cast able to vocally handle the demanding iambic pentameter structure of Shakespeare’s language.
The company will be a mix of members of Actor’s Equity Association and non-Equity actors. Actors based in the city are encouraged to attend, though they should bear in mind the need to find housing for the production, which goes into rehearsal in October.
Most of all, Ms. Vaughan is hoping for a strong local turnout. “Anybody and everybody should come out,” she said. The auditions are being held at Guild Hall Sunday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Monday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Normally, auditions would be held closer to the actual performance dates in November. But life on the East End is anything but normal during the hectic summer season. It is the goal of Mr. and Ms. Vaughan to have their cast in place before the summer begins. “There is no window of time in the summer,” Ms. Vaughan said. Casting early will also have a second benefit: allowing cast members, especially those new to Shakespeare, more time to familiarize themselves with the text before rehearsals begin.
The Vaughans are a husband-and-wife team that heads up the Round Table Theater Company, a not-for-profit company aimed at bringing the classics to the East End. He is the artistic director, she carries the title of producing artistic director.
The couple teach Shakespeare at Guild Hall every spring and fall in a program called Speaking Shakespeare. It was in one of these classes that they discovered their Gertrude, Ms. Benson. She was working on the famous closet scene, in which Hamlet confronts his mother, with Mr. Vaughan. “She was stunning,” Ms. Vaughan said.
The extra lead time will also give the couple room to fine-tune the artistic direction of the production. “Everyone asks, ‘When are you setting it?’ ” Ms. Vaughan said. In various productions over the years, “Hamlet” has been set anywhere from medieval Denmark to the modern world. Ms. Vaughan is keeping the answer to that question under her cap, for now.
Stage combat is a key to “Hamlet.” In particular, the climactic duel between Hamlet and Laertes, coming as it does at the end of a long play, is a particular challenge Mr. Vaughan is looking forward to. “I’m at a point where I can do the fight,” Mr. Vaughan said about the physically challenging role, “and still make sense of the verse.”
The company, which recently qualified for not-for-profit status, is planning a fund-raiser in June, the details of which are still being worked out, Ms. Vaughan said.