Auditions, Round 1
VERY IMPORTANT: We need men! I have not received a single sound check from any male-sounding voices at all. In chapter 1 alone, there are 11 male-sounding, American accented voices other than Jack's. Most of these are just one or a handful of lines. If you can read just a few lines for us, or you can rope your brother/boyfriend/friend/dad/neighbor into helping us out (and of course maybe discover the Dead Isle along the way~~ >.>) that would be awesome.
Parts Available to Audition For:
Notes: I tried to remove as much of the dialogue tags and stuff as I could, where I could, as I understand it can take you a bit out of character to switch back and forth. Some places, though, I had to leave them in. Ellis, for instance, has many more monologuey bits, and cutting out little dialogue tags didn't make much difference, but Jack's lines are usually on the short side, and it wouldn't have made sense for me to cut out everything in between. Go ahead and read the whole segment in the accent the character is meant to be speaking in, even the dialogue tags and such, so you don't have to break character. We'll take care of the rest. :)
**Please also send in a sound check.
Accent: British (your choice what kind, but Sam suggested fairly posh)
Napoleon Bonaparte marched on Egypt two years from the turn of the century, eight years after the death of LaRoche. He sailed for Egypt and took Malta and Alexandria like a charming man takes a lover – little resistance and easily overcome. The British tried to chase him around the coast but they met nasty weather, and Egypt lay before him as a gateway to the east. He planned to dine in Cairo by August. A little further south, Jack. I'll steer us down the Red Sea tonight; it won't take any more fuel than traveling straight on. The Mamluks gathered to defend Cairo, with Murad Bey's army twenty-one-thousand strong, fifteen thousand of it good cavalry, on the west bank of the Nile. Murad's fellow general, Ibrahim Bey, lay on the east bank with reinforcements, but Bonaparte's forces defended against a crossing. Imagine the cannon-blasts and the charge of horses, the rattling swords and the musket-fire, all very nearly in the shadow of the great pyramids. Through the smoke both Cairo and the pyramids were visible. The Mamluk cavalry, the pride of Egypt for thousands of years, could not halt the progress of the French troops into their homeland. Imagine the screams of the horses as they were shot to pieces, and the men and women groaning bloody on the sand.
Yes, and she’s a horrifying gossip. The word will be out within the hour that I’m on board. This way, at least people won’t bother me; it’ll be an open secret that I’m incognito, and everyone will treat me like Eric Smith. What webs we weave,” he said, scratching at the bandage on his neck. “I shall have to do a great deal of talking to people, I suppose.
As much as you may dislike me right now, you truly know very little about me, Mrs. Parsons. I am not by nature someone who…appreciates the company of others on a constant basis. Thank you,” he added to the waiter, who had returned with the soup. “I know both of you must have many questions, but I suggest you take this opportunity to amuse yourselves. You are young and you are traveling in a luxury few will ever experience. There will be time enough to fret when we arrive. If you have no objections, Mr. Parsons, I would like very much for you to examine a machine I’ve brought with me – I believe it may have been jostled unnecessarily.
"No, they haven't. Because some of us give it up. We give up knowing what ordinary people know, having friends and dinner at seven and children. All but the most understanding don't understand at all. You sacrifice who you could have been, to make something for all those people. Jack's sold his soul to build this…beautiful machine, left behind everything he knew, everything he was, to come on this journey. I've sold mine many times over to be the great mind, the literary genius, a man who married his books instead of a wife. You've never even known a life like Clare gave up when she came along. We aren't people, not the way most people are. We're just…carriers. Little boats bringing goods from foreign lands. You don't live for yourself, de la Fitte. You never have. You've lived for your crew and maybe for this library your mother kept, but your life is the most strange and adventurous imaginable. You sold your soul for your freedom."
Well, don't spread it about, but it's rumored they've discovered diamond mines on the west coast. John's been asked to assess the possibility of automated locomotives crossing the outback. New well-tapping and irrigation methods might even let us put up some towns on the way. Dreary little things, but I imagine they'll mostly be populated by Tribals. It's been very hush. You know how these things are, once in a while industry gets a bit ahead of government. I'm going up to the administrative offices to see that they open that land for sale and don't pass any purchase limits on it. I might have to drum up a few investors. It's not hard to find people willing to invest in such a sure thing, but they must be discreet. And of course it's all dependent upon the Land Office. I don't suppose your husband could provide any assistance in that regard?
I understand why she might have done it, why she might have felt forced to do it, but I wish she could have felt she could show herself – if not in public, then at least to me. I wish I hadn’t found out the way I had.
When she finally turned to me – and in my mind it was the first thing she did, though I could be mistaken – she said, “I’m sorry, Ellis.”
Annie, I tried as hard as I could not to fall in love with her. I really did. She aggravated me well before we even arrived in Australia. She questioned my art, she treated my work for the Crown like some light adventure, she was pompous about my admittedly loose morals, and besides all that she was so young. Of course I thought she was beautiful, and she lost none of her beauty in the change, but it wasn’t like I hadn’t been with beautiful women before.
She was nothing I thought I wanted, and then she turned around and I knew. I was angry with her, but that wasn’t new and anyway it wasn’t that at all. Everything about her suddenly fell into place, but it wasn’t that either.
I was jealous. How absurd, I know, but I was. I was jealous of Jack because he obviously had known for some time, and jealous of the Wiradjuri because it was blatantly clear that she belonged to them, no matter that she’d been raised and educated as a white woman in America. I was angry and jealous and there are only a few people who can raise that combination of feeling in me, and all of them have been people I loved with a depth of affection that I could scarcely afford for Clare bloody Fields.
**Please also send in a sound check.
Accent: Badly accented Australian
"I hate to be the voice of reason in the face of true love," he said quietly, "but there's one other problem, you know. You've no idea if she feels the same."
"No, but I'm devising experiments for that," Jack said. Ellis stopped, lifted his hand, and stifled his laughter again.
"You can't quantify the human heart, Baker!" he said. "It doesn't put out consistent rates of energy."
"There are ways to measure things," Jack insisted. "How do you feel when you're in love?"
Ellis fell silent, thoughtfully. "It's been rather a long time."
"Well, I've read a bit about it."
"Oh, have you!"
"Yeah, in your books, so shut it," Jack sounded amused. "Your heart beats faster, and because it's beating faster you can't breathe as well so you get dizzy, that's the lack of air to the brain, and you say stupid things. So I've been monitoring her heartbeat and her breathing. And someone in love smiles more when the other person's around, so I keep track of how much she smiles at everyone."
Ellis couldn't help himself. "Any solid results yet?"
"Well, she smiles at you and me more than Clare, but Clare smiles at you more than she does at Purva, so I think maybe that's just a girl thing."
"She does?" Ellis asked, curious.
"Yep. And Purva doesn't breathe as deeply around me as she does around you, either. So I'm pretty confident she's at least forty-five percent in love with me," Jack continued.
Accent: Badly accented Australian
"Come ON! Clare, there are steaks. There are potatoes. There's bread and fresh butter and chicken and beer! And you are preventing me from eating ALL OF IT!"
Purva rolled her eyes as she buttoned her shirt. "The beer will not vanish, Jack Baker!"
"You'd think he'd find the hot water taps more fascinating," Clare said conversationally.
"I CAN HEAR YOU!"
"You're on payroll," Jack said, beaming and holding out his hand. Sir William laughed as he shook it. "I've got to run off, but I'll come again tomorrow morning to make the arrangements."
"But why do you want so much helium?" Sir William asked, as Jack pulled his coat on. Clare, anticipating as always, was already buttoned up; Graveworthy was only delayed by having to stow away his notebook and cap his pen.
"There are some things it's better not to know," Graveworthy said to him, as Jack fitted the glass bottle into his pocket. "Jack will provide you with his research notes, of course, once his experiments are concluded."
Outside, Graveworthy hailed a cab and helped them into it. As soon as they were moving, Jack held out his hand. "Can I use your notebook?"
"Certainly. Ignore the scribbling," Graveworthy said, handing it over.
"So, there's the weight of boat, steam engine, propeller, infrastructure – fuel for the engine, and water –food supplies, two men…does it have to be two?" he asked, taking a pencil from behind his ear (he'd have to return that to Sir William) and writing furiously.
"Absolutely, at minimum."
"All right. Then I'll need to know mass and lifting power of the helium. Damn, plus helium jars. I'll have to calculate dissipation so we know how many it'll take to get to Australia, which means distance and approximate speed of the finished ship. I need to build a prototype and some test bladders and add in some allowance for wind. Once I know lift, weight, and speed I can figure out how big the bladder will have to be."
"Oh well. My family doesn't like it when I'm mistreated. They think I'm kind of fragile. But working on engines makes you strong – I've got a punch like a horse-kick. Wouldn't think to look at me, would you? Anyway, they're very protective of me. They'll probably come get me soon. When they do, I want you to know that I'm sorry, and I'll make sure nobody desecrates the corpses."
"You talk loads of shit," the other guard said, joining the first at the bars. Jack lay down again on the floor and looked along the row of mortared-in bars.
"You just never know," he said, squinting.
"He's just trying to scare us," one of them said.
"Absolutely. You should be really scared," Jack replied.
"Oh yeah? What're they going to do, talk us to death like you?"
Jack stood up. The guards were quite close together, and quite close to the bars of the cell. It would be the work of a moment to grab their lapels and pull them against the iron rods, knocking them silly and giving him enough time to get one of the thick batons hanging on their belts. Dangerous, though, and without the keys to his cell, hanging on a distant wall, there was no real point.
"I can't say for sure, but I can tell you this," he said, leaning his face against the iron. "It won't be pretty. All this," he waved his hand around his cell, "is just a good excuse for what they were planning to do anyway. And I guess you're just doing your jobs, like I was, so I'll give you a tip for free. When the shouting starts, get your heads down. Nobody likes to shoot someone just because they're in the way."
The men looked like they wanted to be more skeptical than they were. Jack beamed at them and lay down on his bunk.
"From the top, gentlemen," he announced. He grinned, inhaled, and began to sing again.
I thought he seemed pretty ordinary, and Jack wasn't in the habit of paying close attention to people then. He was just this brown-haired man with brown eyes in a brown suit and still pretty tanned from being out west, too. Bland all over. The only thing that really struck me was his voice – rich and dry and with such an elegant accent. But in all honesty given how very ordinary he seemed, I thought he was a little pompous. And he was very nosy. He asked all kinds of questions about us, while Jack was busy breaking machinery. Ask Jack sometime about getting kicked out, I'm sure he remembers it.
I mean, that was it, really. We just happened to meet. I think it was fate. Not in some ridiculous poetic way, just in the way these things happen, where one inevitability follows another until it's like a runaway train. We had to meet that day, so that all the rest of it could happen. I'm not overly given to religious faith, but I do believe. I think if a divine hand isguiding us, that was a pretty good day's work for the Creator.
Is it all right if we just don't have this fight? You're tired, and shouting at me won't change anything. They offered to help. They're not going to turn us in, even if they knew about you –which they don't, by the way – or where I was staying, which they also don't know. I made a decision, and I don't think it was the wrong one, so you can stuff your superior nonsense, Ellis, the job's done now.
“Mm,” Jack replied, glancing out one of the windows. “Rain’s coming down hard. What’re you doing today?”
”Oh, I thought I’d get one in Graveworthy’s eye and try re-readingGeppetto, if they have it.”
Jack grinned. “Remember when you got that copy from the shop up on Copp’s Hill?”
“How could I forget! I’ve never been so terrified in my life that I was going to be arrested. And they just had piles of them sitting there.”
“Bribed the police, I guess. And then I took a whole two days from my gating allowance and we spent all night reading the horrifying bits aloud. I learned a lot from that book.”
“Not much of use if you ever want to marry a girl.”
“Well, no knowledge is ever wasted,” he said.
“So, that’s what I’m going to do. You may find me in the library, far away from some freezing ship’s bridge, reading pornography. Thrilling, isn’t it?”
“The story,” she said, taking a deep breath. “It’s not just about… inverts, is it?”
“Not exclusively. It’s about the search for love and acceptance, and the ways in which unthinking people prevent it.”
“How do you know so much about it?” she asked. “How can you possibly know all that? Everybody likes you.”
“Well, yes, now that I’m famous and I’ve spent years learning to be likable,” he replied, drawing his knees up to give her more room. “I wasn’t always the golden boy. We all struggle with universal things like love and truth. Some of us struggle more than others.”
“I don’t want to like you,” she said. “You took us away from school, you manipulated Jack – “
” – like an exquisite toy,” he agreed. “Surely I’m not the first; you must have had teachers who influenced you. Someone told you to go to the Trade Schools; someone fostered Jack’s adulation of the steam engine. You’re far too intelligent to be wasted in another two years of school. You want someone to show you the world, even if you don’t know it.”
“And now you’re manipulating me,” she said.
“What if you had a Creationist to negotiate with directly? What if the Creationist we brought you had conditions of their own?”
“A white man’s conditions?” Saturday said.
“What if the Creationist wasn’t a white man?”
“White man, white woman, not much difference.”
“Clare,” Jack said, concerned.
“All right, Jack, I know,” she replied, annoyed, before turning back to Saturday. “What if we had access to a Creationist who supported your cause out of something more than Mr. Graveworthy’s political expediency? Would your Elders listen to someone who genuinely had the interests of the Kooris at heart?”
“How could they prove that?” Saturday asked.
“Libris,” Clare said, turning to him, the blood pounding in her ears. “You said if you sent messengers you could have Kooris come from everywhere.”
“Sooner or later. Most of the westerners will have to walk,” Libris answered, a guarded expression on his face.
“Do you trust me enough to send for them now?”
“Clare, what are you doing?” Ellis hissed. She turned to him.
“There’s something you should see,” she said. “But there are more important things at the moment than your curiosity. Libris, send for them.”
Libris looked at Ellis. “You trust her?”
“Of course,” Ellis said immediately. “But Clare, I need to know – “
“Please, send for them,” Clare said. Libris glanced at Saturday; she hesitated, then gave him a nod. He brushed past Ellis and Jack, out through the secret door.
“Dr. Saturday,” she continued, turning back to the other woman. “Are the Wiradjuri Elders nearby?”
“Yes,” Saturday said slowly.
“Take us to them.”
Saturday shrugged and pushed through them, opening the panel door and holding it for them once she was out.
“What are you doing?” Purva asked, as they walked down the hallway. “You are not Captain here!”
“I am now,” Clare replied.
“You have a secret?”
Clare looked at her, then at Jack, who was holding Purva’s hand as they walked.
“Something like that,” she said.
“Are you sure?” Jack asked, jostling around Purva, falling into step between the two women and neatly blocking Ellis from getting too close.
“What else am I supposed to do, Jack?” Clare asked, in a whisper.
“Well, I don’t know,” Jack answered, voice equally low. “But it seems like maybe not the best idea and Graveworthy’s going to be really angry when he finds out.”
“I don’t live my life to please Ellis Graveworthy,” Clare retorted. There was a cough from behind them. “Ellis, you’re out of your depth right now, be quiet.”
“When have you ever known me to be quiet when I’m out of my depth?” Ellis asked from behind her.
“It’s just, there’s a time and place,” Jack hissed.
“And this is it,” she replied. She turned to the Elders, speaking perhaps more loudly than she needed to. “My name is Clare Fields. I am the daughter of a white woman named Miranda Fields and a man named Christopher Fields, who lived in Melbourne twenty years ago.”
“There are plenty of men named Christopher,” said one of the men. “What does that matter to us?”
“He was a Koori,” she said.
The Elders laughed, looking at each other in amusement, and before Clare could speak, Jack shouted, “Don’t laugh at her!”
They fell silent, warily, but one of them shook his head. “You’re not a Koori, girl.”
“Aren’t I?” Clare asked, and she dropped her glamour.
It was a relief, as it always was, like stepping out of clothing just slightly too tight. Over the years she’d grown used to the constriction, but it still felt as though now she could stretch again, could move more freely without the constriction of the glamour. She looked down at her arms and hands as her skin darkened, turning from pale pink to deep rich brown. Her straight blonde hair, framing her face, darkened and curled lightly, brushing her cheeks. She stretched her shoulders, rolling them, reveling in the freedom.
The Wiradjuri Elders stared at her, some with mouths agape. She heard a choking noise behind her; when she turned, Ellis was standing next to Jack, his expression a mixture of surprise and revelation.
“I’m sorry, Ellis,” she said quietly, and then turned back to the Elders. “So you see…now I’ve come home.”
1. Name your file [Character-userid.mp3] i.e. Clare-dirtydirtychai.mp3
2. Drop your file into the GDrive folder.
3. Fill out this spreadsheet with your information.
Use the name or screen name you want to be credited with. In the chapter-by-chapter podcast, we’ll credit the readers each episode/chapter, unless you ask to be uncredited. When we release the whole book as podfic, we’ll have a page with the full cast listed.
If you have any trouble dropping the file into the GDrive folder or otherwise accessing GDrive, you can email it to me with the following information:
Username (platform) [ Ex: dirtydirtychai (LJ and DW) ]
Email OR Alternate contact
Please let me know if the directions are unclear or if you have any questions or comments or special circumstances.
Deadline is set for January 21. That's two weeks, and if we have to extend that like we did the sound checks, I'll let you know. :)
ETA Just a note to clarify *why* we're still auditioning the Jack and Ellis if there aren't any men - toward the beginning, I DID get a handful of guys who were interested in reading for them. But only a couple of those signed up on the crew sheet, and only one has gotten back to me since then. If we end up with only one person sending in an audition for Jack or Ellis - congrats, you've got the part!
The Dead Isle Podfic
- AUDITIONS FOR JACK, CLARE, AND ELLIS!