Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story
A Brea Centennial Legacy Project
Written by William Mittler
Directed by Jesse Runde
Originally commissioned by the California Council for the Humanities
Created in conjuction with Cal State Fullerton's Oral History Dept.
The stillness of the hills, the opportunity of oil, the big game with Walter Johnson & Babe Ruth, World War I, the Great Depression, the flood of 1938, and the lives of Brea's earliest residents are all depicted in this story of our history.
Experience our history, your story
We are seeking up to 30 actors and musicians. Casting is flexible and will prioritize an actor's talent, presence, and chemistry with other actors over age range, body type, ethnicity, or «type». Ideally this non-traditional approach will produce a highly diverse cast. All interested actors are encouraged to audition.
Sides will be provided & can be viewed prior to auditions on our website: curtistheatre.com
There is some pay. Callbacks will be Tuesday, September 12th 6:30pm-10:30pm
Book an appointment by emailing [email protected]
Help us share the rich history of Brea!
Character Breakdown — STATION MASTER — Mr. Heffner. Keeps the trains running on time, fills them up with oil. Acts as a narrator or tour guide for audience. A kind-hearted and sentimental man, if wound a little tightly. Loses his job when a flood wipes out the train tracks and the company decides not to rebuild.
THE OLD MAN OF THE HILLS — A trickster who lives outside of «town». Likes to push the Station Master's buttons; functions as a sort of side-kick to him in setting up the show. Likes to swear, but doesn't for the sake of our audience. A kind of poet.
MINNIE — Walter's mother. Moves with husband and kids to Olinda to be with family after the farm is lost.
FRANK — Walter's father, a Teamster recently arrived from Kansas; disillusioned from having lost his farm. Sensible but still encourages Walter to follow his dreams.
WALTER — Moves from Kansas with his family around age 12. Pretty good at baseball, becomes the pitcher for Olinda after playing catcher. Get hired at the general store but quits when Mary breaks it off with him, even if he is a «big strong man». Goes to Tacoma to start a successful baseball career. Olinda's favorite son.
MARY — About Walter's age. A tomboy who understands a lot about the world. Shows Walter the ropes in Olinda. Hunts. Doesn't want to be peeked at. Swears a little. Likes to play pranks. Grows up with Walter and falls for him, but can't let herself marry a lowly dry goods clerk. Thinks she is going to do big things, but doesn't know what. Marries an abusive drunk, has 9 children.
ESTELLA — Mary's aunt. She is not to be trifled with. Mary calls her an old battle axe. A good church-going woman. Married to George, who was hired to play baseball in Olinda and was seduced by a jezebel.
SOPHIE — Ailene's mother. Married to Charlie. 24 and mother of 5 when we first see her. A proto-feminist. Had an affair with Estelle's husband, George. Works hard; proud of her washing «machine.» An excellent gardener. Not as prudish as some of the women in Olinda. A straight-talker who isn't afraid to speak hard truths.
YOUNG AILENE — Sophie's daughter. Full of hope and potential. Precocious. An excellent writer.
AILENE — Sophie's grown daughter. Becomes a Red Cross nurse in WWI. Narrates letters detailing the victories and defeats of the war. Dies of influenza in New York at the end of the war.
HENNIE — Mary's friend and the local school mistress. Originally from Cleveland. Would have liked to have gone into the theatre. Thinks of others as family but has none of her own. Fiercely protective of Mary.
ROBERT — A young man; former student of Hennie. Awkwardly courts Isabell and eventually marries her. Convinces the company not to cut their workforce during the Depression.
ISABELL -From Pasadena. Does not want to live outside the city. A teacher. Wants privacy. A flapper of sorts who ultimately settles down.