Role-call in the theater

Einstein’s dreams, twenty-somethings’ insecurities and Shakespeare’s romantic repartee comprise the upcoming season for one Tampa theater group – as well as potential roles for college-age actors.

Jobsite Theater, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s theater company, will start the casting process for its 2010-11 shows next week.

Interested students must submit a resume and headshot no later than May 28 so company members can respond with an appointment time.

The theater group will hold general auditions June 7 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Shimberg Playhouse, where actors will be asked to perform a memorized one-minute contemporary monologue and a Shakespearean sonnet of their choice.

Producing artistic director David Jenkins said that despite this casual audition backdrop – where ensemble hopefuls can audition for any of the six shows at once – reading lines straight off the paper still remains a sure-fire way to be rejected.

“People being prepared is the biggest, biggest thing,” Jenkins said. “Oftentimes, people come in and don’t know who they’re auditioning for, or what they’re auditioning for.”

While some roles like the middle-aged lead male in “Yellowman” stand outside a college undergraduate’s age range, students can still pursue auditions for three of Jobsite Theater’s upcoming shows.

The 2010-11 season opens with “Einstein’s Dreams,” which starts its run Sept. 16 and visualizes the world famous physicist’s slumbering thoughts as he devises the theory of relativity.

Jenkins said the script directly lifts passages from the original novel’s poetic language, but onstage it will also involve non-dance physical choreography.

“It’s both text and movement,” he said.

“A lot of the pictures are created, a lot of the imagery that’s brought up in the play itself is created through bodies instead of video or set pieces or extra scenery,” Jenkins said. “The actors should be comfortable moving around in their own bodies. For instance, the women are going to have to be OK with being picked up and moved around.”

“Reasons to Be Pretty” runs through darker dramatic currents in its story about a couple’s outright feuding after an innocuous comment on ‘regular’ physical attractiveness. Playwright and film director Neil LaBute wrote the original Tony-nominated play in 2008.

The piece’s quartet of characters – Carly, Greg, Kent and Steph – have not been cast yet and require actors in their 20s or 30s.

Jobsite Theater plans to finish its 2010-11 season with a nontraditional production of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Jenkins said that the Renaissance fashion of collars and gilded shirts will be replaced by modern-dress, and Shakespeare’s comedy will be condensed into 90 minutes.

The play also shrinks the cast to nine performers, who will play multiple parts – meaning main character Petruchio’s actor could also portray a servant bit character.

Dayton Sinkia, a senior majoring in performance, entered Jobsite Theater’s ensemble last season after starring in October’s zombie film adaptation “Night of the Living Dead” and January’s British sex farce “What the Butler Saw.”

“As a USF student and young actor, that was a great experience for me,” Sinkia said. “I’ve worked with many people older than me who had a very clear process of how to go about characters and roles.”

Sinkia said Jenkins had previously taught him in a USF Audition Workshop class, which led the artistic director to eventually cast him as protagonist Ben in “Night of the Living Dead.”

Although he said he was nervous during his general audition, Sinkia found Jobsite Theater’s panel process to be “easygoing.”

“They were trying to get the best possible work out of (my) auditioning,” Sinkia said. “That was something I really remembered and appreciated.”

Ereka Passarella, a junior majoring in performance, said that she estimated auditioning about 35 times throughout her 10 years in theater.

Three weeks ago, she tried out for a role in USF’s upcoming production of “The Waiting Room.”

“Don’t worry about what you think the director wants (in an audition),” Passarella said. “Give them what you can bring to the role.”

Above all, Passarella said aspiring actors should continue challenging themselves with auditions, even if a prospect falls through.

“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a role – that can be a huge problem,” she said.

Headshots and resumes can be submitted until May 28 to or P.O. Box 7975, Tampa, FL, 33673-7975.