First audition for Liberty! to be held Sunday

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NW0128 Liberty Auditions A

Love to act and have an interest in local history?
Then maybe a part in “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” is right for you.
The first audition for Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama, which is in its 37th year of performances, will be held Sunday starting at 2 p.m. at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.
“Liberty!” tells several stories of the history of the Elizabethton area, which include many events that had a major impact on shaping the history of the country. These include the formation of the Watauga Association, the Transylvania Purchase, the Siege on Fort Watauga and the Muster of the Overmountain Men before leaving for Kings Mountain to fight the British.
Auditions are open to anyone, and no specific skills are required, Sycamore Shoals Park Manager Jennifer Bauer said. Participants may borrow period costumes from Sycamore Shoals if they do not have their own, she said.
“That is what makes this so interesting and so successful,” she said. “This is done totally by volunteers. They may have ancestors who marched on Kings Mountain. They may just have a keen interest in history. It overwhelms me how many volunteers we have.”
While everyone is welcome to attend auditions, Bauer said directors are looking for people who have a passion for acting and for sharing the history of the area.
“They want people who can tell this wonderful story with a passion,” she said. “They want people who act with an emotion that makes people feel like they are living it right there with them.”
Bauer said no one is turned away, but they may not get the speaking part they want if they have auditioned for one of those roles. During the audition, interested people are giving a scene from last year’s script to read for the director. The roles are then assigned based on the auditioning actor’s strengths.
“Not everyone gets a speaking role,” she said. “They are still part of the settlement. They are still in the drama. If we have enough people who want to be in it, then we have understudies for some of the major roles.”
Bauer said auditions would be held for speaking and nonspeaking roles. She said each volunteer could choose whether he or she wanted to portray a longhunter, a Colonial settler or a Native American.
“A longhunter was one of the earliest settlers,” Bauer said. “They would have spent more time in the wilderness hunting and trapping. The Colonial families were more settled. They had homes. They farmed.”
The drama usually has around 100 cast members, which includes the 40 to 50 speaking roles. The speaking roles include major characters such as John Carter and Dragging Canoe, as well as background roles including villagers with one or two lines.
Another audition will be held on March 7 at 4:30 p.m. Bauer said auditions usually take an hour to an hour and a half. Participants can arrive after the 2 p.m. start time if they are unable to make it at the beginning.
After the auditions are held and roles are filled, the group will start practicing in April leading up to the performances in July.
Performances of “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” are set for July 9-11, July 16-18 and July 23-25. Tickets can be bought at the door for each performance starting at 6 p.m., and the performances all begin at 7:30 p.m.
For additional information, please call the park at 543-5808.

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