by Penfold Theatre Company
Oct. 18 - Oct. 28 (2022)
In this world-premiere production, playwright Jarrett King (A War of the Worlds, The Possible, Perfect Profile) shines a spotlight on one of history’s most overlooked and underappreciated folk heroes, Henry Box Brown. Born into slavery, Brown is best known for mailing himself to freedom from Virginia to Pennsylvania in a box three feet long and two feet wide. This harrowing journey—undertaken after his wife, Nancy, was sold to a far off plantation—saw Brown arriving in the north a free man, and becoming equally well known for his abolitionist lectures as his work as one of America’s earliest professional magicians.
Box, one of few theatrical explorations of Brown’s life, will focus on his journey as a magician and lecturer in England, where he relocated after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States. There, Brown married Jane, a white English teacher, and found great success in the seemingly more progressive British society. Though, as Box depicts, Henry was not free from the threat of recapture, nor thoughts of Nancy, whom he never saw again.
Through extensive use of magic, and adapting portions of Brown’s act to the stage, Box imagines an unwritten chapter in his story—one in which Nancy finds Brown in England, and he encounters portions of his own history that he has worked hard to distance himself from. With two wives, and two lives, hanging in the balance, will Henry Box Brown once again pull off the impossible?
Directed by Simone Alexander
Auditions for Box
The world premiere of a new play by Jarrett King
Rehearsals will be begin in late May 2023 and will be scheduled around actors’ availability.
Performances run June 23 – July 8, 2023 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 5:00pm. Performances will be at Ground Floor Theatre, 979 Springdale Rd #122, Austin, TX 78702.
About the Roles
HENRY, Lecturer and magician. Black.
JANE, His wife. White.
NANCY, His wife. Black.
LORD BLOOMFIELD, and others. White.
LADY BLOOMFIELD, and others. White.
PEARL, and others. Black.
RODGERS, and others. White.
Equity and non-equity performers are encouraged to audition. All roles will be paid.
The first round of auditions will be virtual. Please choose one of these monologues from the play and prepare a video audition. Monologues should be memorized or read with familiarity. Then complete the audition form below and upload your video by Friday, October 28th. If you receive an error message while trying to submit your audition, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 850-4849.
The second round of auditions will be held in person on November 5th and 6th. More information will be sent directly to those invited to callbacks.