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THE TEMPEST - The Rhode Island Stage Ensemble Non Equity Auditions

Posted: February 22, 2020
Audition Location: Woonsocket, RI

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Rhode Island Stage Ensemble is excited to announce auditions for the final mainstage production of its 2019-2020 Season.

The Tempest

By William Shakespeare

Sea Shanty Adaptation Created and Directed by Michael Martins


Auditions will be held on March 2 & 3 at 7:00 PM

Callbacks will be held March 9


The RISE Playhouse at the Morning Star Lodge

142 Clinton Street, Woonsocket, RI 02816


June 5, 6, 7 and 12, 13, and 14 

The Plot

The Year is 1700. The location is somewhere in the Caribbean. A ship sets course to carry its cargo of lords and dukes home from a wedding. As if from nowhere, a storm appears, striking the ship and washing Antonio, the present Duke of Milan, Alonso, the King of Naples, his brother Sebastian, Alonso’s son Ferdinand, and a crew of servants and sailors overboard. 

Unbeknownst to them, the storm had been magically raised by Prospero, a powerful magician and former Duke of Milan. Twelve years before, Antonio, Prospero’s brother, treacherously seized the dukedom with the help of Alonso’s army. After this, Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, were castaway at sea. Eventually, their leaky boat washed up on a desert island. There, Prospero continued to study magic, aided by the spirit Ariel, whom he keeps in his service. He and his daughter are also resentfully served by Caliban, the only native of the island after Prospero’s defeat of Caliban’s sea witch mother. Now Prospero has the opportunity to avenge his wrongs upon his enemies.

Safe on the island, Alonso mourns Ferdinand, whom he believes drowned. Antonio urges Sebastian to murder Alonso and become king, but they are thwarted by Ariel. Elsewhere on the island, Ariel leads Ferdinand to Miranda and the two immediately fall in love. To test them, Prospero sets Ferdinand to hard labor and warns them that they must remain chaste until marriage. Two of the lord’s drunken servants, the butler Stephano and Trinculo the jester, meet Caliban, introduce him to liquor and inspire him to renounce Prospero and follow them – and even to plotting to kill Prospero so that they can rule the island.

Prospero’s magical illusions, carried out by Ariel, terrify the King and his followers by reminding them of their treachery against Prospero, which drives them to madness and despair as they wander the island. Eventually, Prospero must deal with the drunkards as well as decide whether to punish or forgive his enemies, and whether or not to return to his dukedom, set Ariel and Caliban free, and bid farewell to his magic arts.

As the events unfurl around the island, the members of the ship’s crew, mesmerized by Ariel, sing out sea shanties to pass the time and entertain the creatures of the island. 

What to prepare

Please prepare one monologue, not exceeding 5 mins, that is either Shakespearian, a Shakespearian contemporary, or "Shakespearian" in nature (written in iambic pentameter).

Also, be prepared to sing the national anthem acapella singing in a small group of 3-4 will be an option for those not comfortable singing solo.

Resumes and headshots are preferred, but not required.

Please be prepared to list all your conflicts for March-June 2020 on the audition sheet. Please be thorough.

What to know

Audition forms can be filled out ahead of time at or at the time of your audition in person.

RISE welcomes and encourages performers of all ages, ethnicities, body types, and genders to audition. Please feel free to audition for any role, regardless of any age or gender indications in the character descriptions below.

Character Breakdown

Prospero 36+ years in age. The play's protagonist, and father to Miranda. The former Duke of Milan, Prospero was usurped by his brother Antonio with the help of Alonso King of Naples. Now shipwrecked with his daughter on a seemingly deserted island Prospero has refined his true passion, magic.

Miranda 18+ years in age. Daughter to Prospero, she came to the island with him as an infant. Because of this, she has never seen a man before outside of her father and their servant, the sole physical inhabitant of the island, Caliban. The cloistered life has left Miranda with naive, non-judgmental, compassionate, generous, and loyal nature.

Ariel 18+ years in age. An ethereal spirit that inhabits the island. Once imprisoned by Sycorax the sea witch, Ariel now serves Prospero after the lord's rescue of him. Although referred to as a "he," Ariel's gender and form are undefined. This aids him in his mischievous doings for Prospero.

Caliban 30+ years in age. Son of the now dead and defeated Sycorax, Caliban is now a servant to Prospero. A powerful and primal force of nature, Caliban sees himself as the rightful owner of the island. His behavior and speech are often coarse and brutal, but his mastery of language and description is one of the more famous of Shakespeare's characters.

Ferdinand 18+ years in age. Son and heir of Alonso, Ferdinand is somehow as kind, compassionate and naive as Miranda. The other half of the young lovers, Ferdinand is smitten with Miranda on first sight and happily submits to a form of servitude under Prospero to win Miranda's hand.

Alonso 40+ years in age. King of Naples and father of Ferdinand. Alonso aided Antonio in unseating Prospero as Duke of Milan. Throughout the play, Alonso is a remorseful person, first saddened by the supposed loss of his only son and then later over his help in usurping Prospero.

Antonio 35+ Years in age. Prospero’s brother, Antonio is as power-hungry and foolish as he is manipulative. He removed his brother from power before the events of the play, and convinces Sebastian to kill his brother Alonso while they are stranded, in the hopes that Sebastian can claim Alonso's power if and when they are rescued.

Sebastian 35 + years in age. Alonso’s brother. He is both aggressive and cowardly, like Antonio, and is easily persuaded to kill his brother by Antonio.

Gonzalo 40+ years in age. An old and honest lord, Gonzalo helped Prospero and Miranda to escape after Antonio usurped Prospero’s title. An orator of sorts whose thoughts are not always coherent and whose intent is often lost in his words. His thoughts and feelings, however, are important to the play as he gives much comment and insight into the events of the story and the beauty of the island that the other lords seem to miss.

Trinculo 20+ years in age. A jester in service to the shipwrecked lords. Often drunk with his compatriot Stephano. A comic foil to the other events on the island. His actions with Stephano in corrupting Caliban comically satire the actions of the lords on the island.

Stephano 35+ years in age. A butler in service to the shipwrecked lords. A drunken fool warped by his own ideas of bloated importance and self-worth. Compatriot to Trinculo.

Boatswain 25+ years in age. A leader of the sailors aboard the shipwrecked vessel. Warm-hearted but good-natured, he is the only one to truly keep his head during the shipwreck scene.

Additional Ensemble Varying in ages. Sailors and creatures of the island who will partake in the Sea Shanty aspects of this adaptation.

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