Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Me and the Girls of Hoboken

September 17, 2008

Neumann Leathers is an old warehouse that is used for artists' studios, right at the southern border of Hoboken, near the tracks. Last night there was a call-back audition for The Flora Dora Girls, a play by Louis La Russo II, a Hoboken native who knew whereof he wrote.

I went to the first audition with a one-minute monologue from The Subject Was Roses, a speech where Nettie, the mother, describes her first dates with the Irish salesman-type who was to become her husband. They had asked for a monologue, the script was handy, and the character seemed to be similar to the descriptions in the play. The only thing that had worried me was the accent. I rehearsed it at home, trying on a Hoboken accent, and was amazed. With that accent, suddenly Nettie made more sense to me than she ever had. I found I could do something close to the right sounds, which amazed me even more. To see me at work on this monologue, click here.

I read with apparent ease the first time, struggling in my mind only with the accent, and was called back to the big audition last night.

The play is scheduled to be done as a staged reading, put together by a group known as gaia Studio, working out of the Neumann Leathers building. Here is their description of the play:

Flora Dora Girls is about a group of blue-collar Hoboken women, in the 60's, who come together for a weekly sewing circle. It's the one place where they don't have to be "ladies." They sew, gossip, drink coffee, laugh, cry, ask big questions, tell great stories, but most of all bond~like a fist!

We are looking for an amazingly special group of women for the original cast.

This wonderful play, will be read and work-shopped for the very first time at the Hoboken Museum and Cultural Center, part of the Hoboken Studio Artists Tour on October 19th, 2008.

There are ten women in the play, every one a strong, dynamic character, ranging in age from 15 to somewhere in their sixties. At the audition I was surrounded by such women, New York actress all, most looking to be Italian, all with instantly recognizable trained Broadway-belter voices. The script is bawdy and hilarious, and just being there was wicked fun. The people of Hoboken will love this. I can't wait to see what happens--and don't worry, if I don't get a part, I'll be in the audience!


Panaderos said...

Best of luck! I hope to see it here real soon that you passed the audition. :)

barbary kid / charles said...

What are you doing in the Neumann's Leather building? It was condemned I believe in the 70's. A company wanted to make a condo out of it. Being it was used for tanning leather and formaldahyde was used in the process, It wasn't supposed to be inhabited. They were going to tear it down way back then because the formaldarhyde causes cancer and can't be cleaned up. Dennis may know more them me about that building. Good luck with the part. Break a leg.

Mary Lois said...

Neumann Leathers was converted, in a way, to artists' lofts. It's always been controversial because developers would love to get their claws into that location (if not the building). Some wonderful art is being done there, however, and the artists are trying to keep control of the building. Click herefor the latest on the story.

Anonymous said...

If called back, don't forget to chew gum and use your hands a lot...and talk through ya nose. Ya gotta use da dees dems and does dems ya got class...ya know da goils from Hoboken had a lotta class, ya know ...hands on ya hips and get in dare dare, ya see. ya got da part...YA WANNA MAKE SUMTIN OF IT?

Anonymous said...

Love your blog and your view of Hoboken We are having a Block party on 9th & Bloom Sat from 12 to whenever Things should start picking up around 3 or 4 would love it if you could come I'm the one with the big redish dog Welcome to the neighborhood!

Mary Lois said...

I'll bet that will be a great party--but I'm afraid I have to be in New Brunswick pretty much all day Saturday. Don't know when I'll be home in Hoboken, but you're on my way so I'll hope to catch the some of the fun!

Why does everything always happen on the same day?