Venus in Fur
Directed by Jimmy Gertzog
Thomas Novachek is the writer-director of a new play in New York City, an eponymous adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Fur. Exasperated by the abysmal inadequacies of the actresses who have auditioned for the lead role Vanda von Dunayev thus far, Thomas is about to throw in the towel until an unexpected final reader bursts in. It is difficult to believe the brash, vulgar, and unschooled Vanda Jordan will somehow convince the exacting and conceited director that she is right for the part. But she convinces him to let her read for Madam von Dunayev, while he reads in the part of Severin von Kushemski. From there, this multi-layered comedy by David Ives takes many unexpected twists and turns. Vanda shows an immediate and even nuanced understanding of her part, impressing Thomas. And as they become caught up in the characters they are reading, Ms. Jordan/von Dunayev begins to emotionally and physically dominate her counterpart. Reality and pretend become blurred lines in Venus and Fur; the role-play becomes erotic, and less like acting as the balance of power in the reading – and the audition itself – begins to crumble. This play contains strong language and adult content.
Providence Players of Fairfax is:
- A non-profit community theater troupe. All participation is on a volunteer basis. No members of the cast or crew are compensated.
- A membership organization. Membership is not required to audition. If cast, all actors (and in fact, all volunteers), are required to become members of Providence Players of Fairfax ($25 per individual or $60 per family – three or more) for the season (if not already a member).
Providence Players is casting one (1) role for it upcoming PopUp production. The cast of Venus in Fur has one woman and one man (1w/1m), however we are only reading for the male role – the role of Thomas Novachek.
Due to the mature content of this play, this audition will be held on an invite-only basis.
All are welcome to submit an application describing their experience and interest in this show. The director will personally contact applicants to invite them to audition.
Though all are welcome to apply, the director is looking for a male in his 20s, 30s or 40s, any ethnicity.
7:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12
Please submit applications to email@example.com, where they will be evaluated by the director.
The James Lee Community Center
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
Auditions will be held in the Urbanites room at the Center. Please come into the front entrance of the community center and sign in at counter. Staff can point you in the right direction and signs will be posted.
Performance Dates and Times
Evening Performances: Thurs. Fri. Sat.; Jan 30th – Feb 8th; 8:00 p.m. Curtain
About the Director: Jimmy Gertzog
Jimmy Gertzog (Director) is a longtime volunteer and board member for the Providence Players. He has a wealth of experience in production design and leadership roles for the company for over 15 years. Mr. Gertzog has directed two mainstage shows for PPF: Warren Leight’s Side Man in Winter 2012 and Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in the Spring of 2017. For his work on Side Man, he was nominated for best director of a play by WATCH, and the production was recognized with 10 total nominations including outstanding play. Mr. Gertzog’s principal experience in the theatre is in technical design, and he has been recognized for his technical direction, sound design, special effects, and puppeteering. Most recently he co-designed lights and sound for PPF’s Fall production And Then There Were None and was the sound designer for The Front Page last winter. Jimmy extends this holistic approach to theater to his artistic direction. By training, Jimmy went to Georgetown University for a Master of Science in Linguistics with a concentration in sociolinguistics. Language and how people use it is his forte. He currently works in data analytics at United Bank.
From the Director, Jimmy Gertzog
We will perform Venus in Fur in a small back box-type space at the Italian Cafe. It is perfect for the type of intimate experience I envision the audience and the actors sharing in telling this story. This is a play about unsettling expectations, about role reversals, and flipping power dynamics. It teases; it pokes fun; it charms; it mildly shocks; and in doing so it provokes illusive moments of spectacle that are distinctly why we (the audience) find the staging alluring and intoxicating. This is a show that permits the cast to engage and subvert big ticket issues like Power and Consent in a sanctioned medium, and by transitive property the audience is brought along the way. The excitement is in not knowing precisely what the stakes (emotional, sexual) really are. Thomas and Vanda engage in a dance not unlike a tango to transform themselves; I would like the audience to feel as much a part of that intimacy and envision them almost entirely encircling the acting space.
REHEARSALS: This is a tentative rehearsal schedule. The scheduling will be finalized the week after casting, based on conflicts around the holiday season. Rehearsals will take place either in the homes of the actors/director or at scheduled alternative (non-stage) space at the James Lee Center. Weeknight rehearsals will typically start at about 7pm and last two hours, but since this is a small cast, we will generally be flexible and let the actors’ needs guide the timing in the process. I will attempt to hold 3-4 rehearsals on a weekend date prior to opening on January 30th. The timing of those will be determined once the show is cast (casting decisions will be made within a couple days of the audition).
Pre-Christmas: Two of Dec 14th-18th – first official table session/read-through
Pre-New Year: One of Dec 28th/29th/30th – possible rehearsal pending schedules
(Weeknight rehearsals Monday, Wednesday, Thursday)
January Week 1: January 4th – rehearsal
January Week 2: Rehearsals Jan 6, Jan 8, Jan 9, & Jan 11 or 12
January Week 3: Jan 13, Jan 15, Jan 16, & Jan 18 or 19
January Week 4: Jan 21, Jan 22, Jan 23, tech load-in weekend of Jan 25/26
January Week 5: Dress rehearsals Jan 27, Jan 28, Jan 29th
Please come to auditions prepared to list any availability conflicts with rehearsal or the performance schedule. Space is provided on the audition form for this purpose. This PopUp schedule is condensed with regards to mainstage productions, so it is important that unexpected conflicts are limited.
Female Character (1)
Notes on character ages: While the ages of characters are described in the script the director may cast outside of those ages if it works for the overall casting.
Vanda Jordan/Vanda von Dunayev (20s-40s) – Vanda is an enigma; we are never quite sure who she is. Initially she comes across as a poor fit for the grind of Broadway; she’s clumsy in her introduction, seems genuinely unaware of how to put her best foot forward. Earnestness mixed with brashness means she conveys a willingness to do whatever is necessary to win over Thomas (she removes most of her clothing within the first 5 pages). And yet, Vanda utterly transforms in a way that suggests she knows Thomas’ play better than he does. While Thomas is the in the driver’s seat of the audition, Vanda’s character is the comedic and impactful engine of Venus in Fur as she transforms over and over, from hapless actress to skilled dominatrix, to the Goddess of femininity Herself.
Male Character (1)
Thomas Novachek/Severin Kushemski (20s-40s) – Thomas is the archetype for how we imagine most writer/directors: self-assured, narcissistic, impatient, male. It is also unclear whether his high opinion of himself or his play are remotely justified. If it wasn’t so comical, it would provoke outrage. We are introduced to these traits early and often as he complains to his significant other on the phone or attempts to steer Vanda out of the room. However, once his counterpart gets the chance to read, Thomas ends up in an unsettled position. What is it like to finally capture your personal white whale? He finds himself increasingly compromised as he plays his part as Kushemski, and perhaps even welcoming as Vanda strips (pun intended) away all of the power given by his maleness and cultural position.
Additional Audition Information/Instructions:
- HOW WE WORK: Like most Providence auditions actors will have the opportunity to read multiple times. As space allows, you will be able to watch the auditions. You may be asked to go into the hallway with audition partners and work a bit on a scene. We will do our best to get you up multiple times reading for parts you are interested in. You may also be asked to read for other parts you may not be auditioning for. The Providence Players strives to make our productions open to interested and engaged actors & actresses, regardless of their level of experience. We try and make our auditions as relaxing and fun as possible.
- AUDITION PROCESS & SIDES: Auditions will consist of readings from the script. No monologue required. Sides for the audition process will be supplied at auditions.
- AUDITION FORM: Please ALSO COMPLETE the attached Providence Audition Form and bring it with you to the audition. Resumes and headshots will be accepted but are not required. We may ask to take a picture of you, but this is for internal use only and will not be shared.
We look forward to seeing you at Auditions!