What’s theatre at K?

Good vibes.

• Safe space.

• No experience required.

Why is theatre so important?

• We tell stories. Your stories. Our stories.

• We need your help sharing stories, including…

• This story:

Harlem Duet by Djanet Sears


Auditions will be held Week One, Wednesday-Thursday, January 4-5, anytime between 7-9pm in the Playhouse (near Dow Science Center), with call backs held on Friday, January 6, at 7pm. Please bring your academic and extra-curricular commitment schedule and arrive anytime between 7:00-9:00 to complete paperwork. Scripts will be available on closed reserve at the library’s circulation desk beginning Oct. 31. No need to prepare a monologue for auditions; scenes will be available on line as well as at the theatre during auditions. Questions? Contact Director Dr. Quincy Thomas at quincy.thomas@kzoo.edu or Theatre Company Manager Laura Livingstone-McNelis K’89 at laura.livingstone-mcnelis@kzoo.edu.


Often called a prelude to Shakespeare’s Othello, Harlem Duet tells the story of Othello and his first wife, Billie—the woman he married before Desdemona. Their history is told through the lives of three couples, each named Othello and Billie, during eras of special significance in the Black American Experience: 1860, prior to the Emancipation Proclamation; 1928, at the height of the historic Harlem Renaissance; and 1997, post-civil rights and pre-21st century. Written by Canadian playwright Djanet Sears and published in 1997, the play was first produced at the Nightwood Theatre, Canada’s oldest professional feminist theatre company. The inaugural production won four 1997 Dora Mavor Moore Awards and subsequently won Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award as well as the Floyd S Chalmers Canadian Play Award. The playwright has described Harlem Duet as a “rhapsodic blues tragedy.”

Character List

OTHELLO: a man of 40, present day

BILLIE: a woman of 37, present day

CANADA: Billie’s father, age 67

AMAH: Billie’s sister-in-law, age 33

MAGI: the landlady, age 41

MONA: white woman, in her 30s (an off-stage voice)

Non-Acting Opportunities

Students can work for pay by completing the blue form outside the main office (room 74) or for credit by completing the production application on this website, or using the paper application outside the main office (room 74).

How to get to The Playhouse for auditions:

1. The Playhouse is located near Dow Science Center on 129 Thompson St. As you face the Light Fine Arts Building, go to the left towards the Dow parking lot. The Playhouse is to the right of Dow Science Center on the far end of the parking lot. 

2. The Stage Manager will give you the paperwork you need to complete then direct you into The Playhouse for your audition. Please have your complete schedule available to reference when you arrive.

FAQs About Auditioning for Festival Playhouse

Do I have to be a Theatre Arts major or minor to audition?

No! In fact, we highly encourage involvement in different majors and activities outside of theatre. On average, up to 70% of students working on a Festival Playhouse show are not Theatre Arts majors or minors.

What other opportunities are there for students who are not cast or are not interested in auditioning?

Most production positions for any Festival Playhouse show are filled by students. We have student set/lighting designers, stage managers, assistant stage managers, light/sound board operators, spot light operators, wardrobe crew, props crew, dramaturgs, and more! Even if you are not cast in a show, you can always find a way to be involved!

When do we rehearse?

Our productions usually rehearse 5 nights per week 7pm-10pm, either Monday thru Friday or Sunday thru Thursday. Beginning two weeks from opening night ­ we extend another hour to 11pm. The tech weekend before the show opens is Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 11pm with a dinner break. This is a generic schedule, and it may vary with each individual director’s preferences.

Do I have to come to rehearsal every night?

It depends on the size of the role. Larger roles will be in rehearsal almost every night. Smaller roles may only be called 2-3 evenings per week and not necessarily the entire rehearsal.  Often, the entire cast is called every night the first week of rehearsal as we read through the play. No matter what the size of the role, however, everyone will be called every night for the full rehearsal period the last two weeks of rehearsal before opening night.

What if I have an evening class?

Every show and every director treats this differently, but a general rule of thumb is that if you clearly indicate the class on your audition sheet, if the director casts you, then they understand they will have to work around your class. The exception is always the last two weeks of rehearsal, though, when everyone is called every night. It’s up to you to negotiate with the professor.

What if I can’t get out of a class though?

The best thing to do is just audition and be very clear with the director about your schedule. We’ve always worked it out.

Won’t such a big time commitment affect my grades?

It might, but you should know that many, many students in the plays actually have a better GPA than those who are not! There is a culture of learning to manage time and taking pride in academic achievement that goes along with any artistic endeavor at K.

What about Monkapult?

Monkapult (the student comedy improv group) typically rehearses from 10-12pm. The only possible overlap of rehearsal is the last two weeks when we go to 11pm (usually not a problem since many Monkapult team members are also theatre students).

If I’m cast in a production, do I need to get stage makeup?

Yes! Lucky for you, we have this guide with resources on how to find and purchase your own makeup kit.

Further information will be posted for each play as it is available.

Welcome to Festival Playhouse! We’re glad you’re joining us!