Through the viewfinder: Actors take stage for ‘Southern Exposure’ auditions
Published 12:04 am Tuesday, January 28, 2014
NATCHEZ — As the warm yellow stage lights flicker on inside the Natchez Little Theatre, 13 people trickle in waiting to audition for roles in “Southern Exposure.”
The play is a spoof on Natchez’s Spring Pilgrimage and is the theater’s longest running play.
“Can I have Morgan and Rose take the stage to read for Australia and Penelope Mayweather,” Director Bo Allen announced to the potential cast on a recent Saturday afternoon on the last day of auditions.
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Morgan Baskin and Rose Temple each grab a spiral bound script and begin to read.
“Australia,” Allen said to Baskin. “Remember, you think Sam is a good looking guy, so be flirty when you talk about him to Penelope.
“Can Melissa Carter come up and read for Penelope.”
As Copiah-Lincolin Community College Natchez campus student, Melissa Carter stands up, she exchanges a nervous smile to friend Melissa Cabin before walking on stage to audition for the first time.
Carter and Cabin are auditioning at NLT for extra credit in their theatre class taught by Layne Taylor.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to come out and experience what they’re learning in the classroom,” Taylor said. “The students then get to apply what they’re learning on the stage.”
From the back of the theater, Allen directs Carter to start from the same scene Temple and Baskin just read through.
“Let’s do that scene one more time, Melissa, and I’ll give you a little background about Penelope,” Allen said. “She’s trying to remain proper and keep a certain dignity about her home, but it’s fallen in financial troubles.
“Her relationship with her maid, Australia, is one that gives the audience a laugh.”
Carter reads through Penelope’s lines once more before switching characters and reading for Carol, Penelope’s younger cousin.
“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Carter said. “I was so nervous getting up on stage and reading in front of everyone, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’m not sure if I’ll get a role, but I had fun trying.”