a visually enhanced live radio drama ghost story for the ages with black all thespice from the South Side
Fluctuating between a conscious social commentary on black history and current events, this meta radio Sci-Fi mystery follows the story of two High School students, Cooper and Bree while they uncover a series of uncomfortable truths about their south side Chicago neighborhood, risking the present repeating the past. Through a series of linking stories within this town, the pair fight to restore majesty to a mysterious abandoned building long forgotten. Just in time for the fall season, this 6 piece episodic will be performed live and broadcast every Sunday eve November 14th through December 19th.
To audition for this production, please look at the characters and sides below. Choose the ones you wish to be considered for and record yourself reading the appropriate side. Please note that most roles portray several characters. You are encouraged to audition for all roles you find are in your wheel house, but please create a separate video file and submission for each role. Rehearsals begin mid August over Zoom and in person in mid October. There are 6 show days. The stipend for participation in the Unearthed Crown live shows is $300. In addition, there are two filming days for pre-recorded material. The stipend for filming are $75/day and are in person. It's possible to be cast in both the live shows and the pre-recorded material.
Please email submission to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Unearthed Crown-ROLE-your name by AUGUST 15th. Include either a link or a downloadable file of your video(s). Submit a different email and video file for each role you are interested in. Please note that although this is a radio drama, it will be performed live visually and even though you don't have to be the exact age of the character, you need to be channel that age's energy. We are looking forward to your submission!
17, female, black: curious, impatient, slightly hot-headed
Alright, here's take one. I'm currently walking over to the house now, the house of Old... Mister Hicks. Ok, Coop, you say to "note in the introduction who the person-” oh, right. So I don't know nothing about the dude, really. He's been living here for like a long time. I always see him in the backyard gardening. He always seems to have these sunflowers that grow gigantamunda. He doesn't really talk much as far as I know. Seems like he's a bit spacey sometimes. Maybe he hits that kush. Shoot, it'd be easy for him to get a prescription. I don't know. I'm kind of rambling. Let's see: "ask yourself what information you want to gain from..." Oh, ok. I get it. I want to know like why he be standing around the building all the time. I guess I also want to know what's up with those big ass flowers because bruh be growing a ton of them and then it brings all these bees that sting me like crazy. Like, bro, I'm allergic and you really out here just like sipping it up with these bees like it ain't no thing. My bad, Anyway, I want to know why he gotta do that and... um, I don't know. Is it boring in this house? That should be good enough, right? Yeah, Okay, le'go.
(as Melissa) Can I ask you a question: Where do girls like me go when we die? Black girls. Like me. Where do we go when we die. When they stop asking about us? Do we stay here? Do we disappear? I want to know the truth. Will they forget about me? Will they miss me? I never got to see past 63rd street. I don’t get it. What does this world want from me when I ain’t even live it yet? You talking all this stuff about different worlds. What world don’t want a black girl like me to live in it? I have imagination. I have places I could be exploring, right? what’s stopping it from happening again? Who’s out there that can do something and why haven’t they done it yet?
17, male, black: witty, secluded, anxious
Bree, Pick up! I ended up leaving the building. You were right. That place gives me serious Last House on the Left vibes. I hope you and that old dude can get some good info on this place. I don't see myself going back to that little spook joint anytime soon. (PAUSE) Girl, where are you anyway? Didn't you say you were just gonna head back real quick to get your laptop? Pick up. Hold up... you ain't in the basement are you? I knew pops on some shady shit! Listen, Some creepy stuff really went down back at that building. I think I saw someone in there. They almost came out to invite me in for dinner! Girl, I ran my ass off. What was really strange was...like....I didn't feel scared at first. I almost felt like sad. Worried, even. You think that missing girl is in there? It felt like whoever was in there wanted me to do something. I don't know. This is some creepy horror movie ish. Hurry up and call me back! I need to figure out what's going on. We're just going to get this cute little project done and turned it in and call it a day.
Something really wild went down at that spot and I feel like I may be slowly losing my mind. I looked up some info online to find some information about that building and there wasn't much useful stuff online about it. I figured while I was waiting on you, I would look up some stuff here. It's been strange, though. Feels like a ghost town in here and I heard something about them re-shutting down spaces like this but I never knew it was this bad. Gives me the creeps, actually. Who knew a room full of old books could be so damn scary.
20, identifies female, mixed race: fierce, genuinely ingenuine, charismatic
This has got to be an episode of All My Children I must have missed... look, you are incredibly sweet, honestly. I don’t know much white boys like you who would even dare set foot into The Crown let alone call it beautiful. You have to understand that this gets...tricky for me. This ain’t no hand out or operation PUSH. It’s my life. You get to go in there and see a bunch of cute girls or boys playing pretend and you go on off to whatever life you had before even seeing us. This is what I have. My family, my home....it’s here. When we get spit on, kicked, cut up, arrested, or robbed; there’s no knight like you there to come pick us up. We get the hell up and we make our way home and learn to live another day. I appreciate your glimmering eyes at the ball gowns and glitter but being this isn’t a fucking walk in the park. You can take that one back home to the cookout with your little friends.
(SINGING) "I've got this here sunshine in my pocket for a rainy day. Bury it in me and it'll grow someday. Yes, I got this sunshine in me for the clouds today..." I can do this all day, doll-ings! Give me a tune, somebody give me any tune, You want Donna Summers? I'll sing you some Donna. You want a good Patti heel kicker? Honey, I got your Patti heel kicker right here! Look-a here: “and if...only you knew...how much I do...do need you!” Yes, that's right! Ladies and gentlefellers, I am the one and only D'vida Divine! Blacker than your coffee but as sublime as sunshine! Spare a little change and I'll sing you a song of mine! (beat) Hello, sir! Yes Sir, you have some time for some serenadin'? I do white people's music too! Don’t you worry that pasty little face of yours! You want Madonna? I can do some Madonna! "Everybody, come on! Dance and sing! Everybody, get up and do yo thang!" I have the cassette. Let me just... Just let me find...Hold on, no wait, sir! Hold on! Don't walk off so fast. You haven't even heard my... (SIGH) Fine, then. I never needed you anyway. Your shoes are tacky and yo wife keeps asking when you'll start being loyal and check-in on her! We simply must stop meeting this way! What will the neighbors say! (beat) Oh, hi, excuse me miss. Care for a song today? No? How about a Marshall’s catalogue? Funny story, it only costs a quarter to buy it today! Would you like one? ...could you just please...No? Oh, you don't have a quarter? Is that it? Oh honey, I'm so sorry! Everyone, look at the poor thing go! Someone please help this tragic soul in the knock off Manolos! Give her some change so she can make some sense out of those loafers on stilts! (UNDER HER BREATH) I could have mopped better at the Sears clearance section. (OUTLOUD) Look, people: You have to understand. You're passing the next big thing to come out of Princeton Hill! I'm telling you! Go ahead and tune into MTV once and awhile! Buy you a copy of Jet Magazine once in a while. D'vida will be a star, baby! You heard it here first!
middle aged, female, black: opinionated, calculated, passionate
Folks like me, huh? You mean folks that don’t know sacrifice? Folks that don’t understand what it’s like to keep so much as a flinch in the wake of a storm? I didn’t ask the world’s perspective of womanhood, child. I asked yours. (pause) You are most certainly, right. I know nothing about you. From the tone you’ve been taking with me, you clearly don’t know who I am either. Don’t think I miss that for one second. I’ll tell you this, though: all of this right here, this...space, this...pain we working through everyday...it’s who we are. This feeling in you right now, you can hide it from the world and lash out all you want. Go on about life being seen as the cold black bitch with an attitude, right? We were built for this. I may not kick up in heels as high as the ceiling or wear anything with my back out but, sweetheart, I know how the song and dance goes. (pause) Lord knows why it has to be this way but us type of women got work to do...always. That diamond you talking about doesn’t get to where it is without pressure.
(as Victim's Mother): My baby is out there and no one is doing anything about it. Where's the detectives? Where's the high-tech cameras or the human concern of a child being missing. She's missing. I can only imagine where my baby is. I've lived in this community all my life and I've never felt this disconnected to the people who live on my same block. Where are our people when they see us dying? Seeing our babies being snatched. When did we stop looking out for one another? This is not the town that my grandparents fought to call their own. This is not the neighborhood that raised me and my brothers and sisters. We're a bunch of strangers living on the same block just hoping we aren't the ones that are next to show up in somebody's news."
95, male, black: reclusive, easy-going, dissmissive
Who's to say I haven't done my share of living? You wanted to interview me, ain't that right? Did you know I served this country for two tours? You know that I've looked a German elitist dead in the eyes and drank him under the table? How 'bout this, I've squared off with two Korean twins in a basement fight for a few bucks and a place to sleep. Hell, I've fished with the great mayor himself in the dead of winter like some fools. Folks who go around advising other people to see the world’s best have a few scars and souvenirs to give examples, right? I wouldn't steer you wrong if you want to do that interview about me. But I will ask that if you tell my story, you tell it right. And listen instead of putting your own words on it. I don't have half the energy as you youngin's do with them motor mouths.
(as Young Hicks): Well, I don’t much believe that for one second. You see, beauty comes in so many forms around us. From the wind to the storms that come and take our homes, there’s a connecting beauty of it all and you are very much so apart of that. (Pause) There’s this book I read. It helped me quiet the bombs and the bullets when it was time to rest my mind a bit for sleep. It didn’t mean much to me then as it does now. It was just a bunch of words. I read: “A soulmate is an ongoing connection with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over lifetimes. We are attracted to another person at a soul level not because that person is our unique complement, but because by being with that individual, we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves.” I know it gets pretty dense talking about it but I believe everyone connects to someone for some reason. If nothing else than to just feel whole. (pause) I don’t think those doctors are right at all. I think you have the choice on how you get to live. Most of those men laid out and died because that was better than holding on to a busted vessel. You, you got more life in you and I see you living long after next christmas. I see you making a huge difference in this world. Making more folk like you feel just as useful. I don’t know much about you but if you can stop the world in its tracks just to take note of you standing there, I believe you can move mountains if you wanted to.
56, female, black: driven, overworked, loving
Never you mind about that. Just don't go snooping into places you don't have no business hanging around, hear? (PAUSE) The last thing I can handle is hearing about another one of these babies in the news because you went and decided to do something...to get into some foolishness with that damn place. There's a lot of drama happening in this world. You have to be more observant because nobody else can look after you more than yourself. You can't just go some place expecting everyone and everything will take care of you. You have to be smart. Be prepared, you understand what I’m telling you?
(as China Doll): You get me every time with that. I don’t know how you keep that up. The power to just walk around uncracked by the world. You move with this sense about you that just can’t be bothered with flaws [...] even you have to admit: ignoring the problems in the world ain’t going to fix them. These men are going to do whatever they want whenever they want. Hell, just the other day, I caught Mr. Lawson staring all down my shirt at the quarterly report. I could have had a picture of the Eiffel Tower and he’d say the same thing: “I like how those numbers are rising!” god damn creep… [...] I mean isn’t it all just some game of make-believe? Those men, they sit in their suits all day pretending to be some King at a throne. They bark orders left and right because that’s what they believe they should do in life, right? Then you have us, those who throw on a pencil skirt and pretend that we can be seen as actual members of society. That, somehow, when we get that curl just right, it makes us more respectable, more recognizable. I watch that ball all night thinking “this is just a reflection of the world itself”. Those people dressing up to be soldiers and teachers. You all dressing up like queens and kings like we own the place
20-40, male, white
(as a Vet): I'm...uh, I'm Mark. I've served this country for 4 years and I just want to say that I see each of you on that stage today and I honestly think it's brave. You all have had people poke and make fun of how you each look and I'll be honest, it's not what I'd expect myself but I think that's why you all are here. I don't know any of you but you seem like decent folks. I just hope what you do outside of here today is safe. people are dying… …everyday and I think it might be worse than anything I've seen in the time I've served. like I said, I just hope whatever you do in life, just be safe. Don't harm anybody and know that your brother or sister may not get who you are and what you do but that don't matter none. I believe the lord made you all like this today to teach us something just like he taught me to hold a gun right. Most times, I don't think that makes much sense neither but I appreciate you all coming on here today and being as brave as you are. so...um, yeah, I guess that's all I have to say. thank y'all.
(as Walter): I’m sorry I didn’t... you don’t deserve any of that in your life. I don’t really know how to say it in a way for you to believe me but we aren’t so wildly different. You have this but you don’t know how much this means until you can barely see it from where you are standing. Time does this...this funny thing of making us feel like here and now is all we have. What if you could see tomorrow? Know that it existed and chase after that kind of life, right? What if yesterday was in arm’s reach so you weren’t afraid of losing it? (pause) I used to think there wasn’t much to some backwoods country boy shipping off to go play toy soldiers to the evil bad guys of the world. It wasn’t until I found out that I was someone else’s evil bad guy that I felt my future was all jacked up. God, the desperate need of a hug when covered in blood? A caress of the cheek? I always felt like I was inviting people in to taste the vial of poison. Somehow my body was cursed with forgetfulness on good day or bad memories on an awful day. I used to think I didn’t have a future because of my past. (Pause) But then I come to meet someone like you. Someone who has no hang-ups of yesterday and a non-stop vision of what tomorrow looks like. I honestly feel like if I could at least be a part of that...I could never know what your life is like. I’d never ask you to try and dumb it down for me to understand it. I just feel like maybe if I could spend some time with you...I...
(as Grandpa): My libritard hippie-dippy granddaughter seemed like a lost cause when she started dating that dark-skinned hermie thug without a job. She would enter our house with all types of nonsense like “Free Healthcare” and “Free the nipple”. All of it was free, free, free! In my day, those type of folks were strung up and we’d be having supper at the corral by sundown. Now, I can’t wait to start posting quick videos with my brave and open hearted granddaughter who stood up for the many injustices this country perpetuates in our own complacency.
[Symptom Speedtalk]: Phan-TC may cause side effects such as nervousness, irritability, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, dizziness, nausea, coughing, vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of taste, unfamiliarity to food, weight loss, stomach pain, diarrhea, heartburn, heartbreak, dry mouth, bloody saliva, nose bleeds, stool blood, ruptured ear drums, headache, spontaneous impulses, decreased sexual desire, bodily mutation, heavy sweating, and sneezing. Tell your doctor if you experience symptoms such as past war traumas, echos of screaming, bruises or injuries in inexplicable locations, or fevers that become severe and do not go away over time. Some side effects such as motor tics or verbal tics, difficulty breathing or swallowing, erections lasting longer than 4 hours, seizures, anal discharge, and death can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment. Phan-TC may slow developmental growth of the mind and body. Your doctor should watch to see if symptoms similar to other viruses like HIV, Influenza, or Polio develop while taking Phan-TC, as you may become more at risk if not treated immediately. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your existential placement in society while taking this drug. The outcome may be completely hilarious to those currently watching your every move. This may be due to your existence in incubation and being monitored by commercial radio waves. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking Phan-TC while being pregnant or if you are taking other medications.
(as White Savior Teacher): You're wrong. Your son has a gift. He could be anything he sets his mind to so long as you give him that chance. You don’t see him like I see him. I see a dreamer who has been waiting to be seen by someone all his life. I see our future resting in his hands with a chance to make a real difference. You can’t deny that I have a real chance to give him the education he needs. [...] (Singing) “Walk with me, lord! Walk with me! While I’m on (lordy) this tedious journey, walk with me.” When they knock you down, you get up. When they go low, you go high. Unless they are payin’ your bills you do what? Pay them no mind.
(as PHAN-TC Actress): I was just like you, afraid to even leave my bed for fear of what the day might bring. The daily pressures brought on by constant anxiety weighing me down took me away from the things I loved most. But then I tried Phan-TC: a twice a day pill that gives you back your hope and freedom. You can now walk easily through the park without constantly wondering when the sky will fall. Phan-TC targets to core points of the brain where anxiety triggers most until the deadened nerves leaves you calm and prepared to take on the day and breathe in the fresh air. It can easily become apart of your morning and evening routine. Simply take one before breakfast and at night and allow the stress to melt away. Why let anxiety live the life you deserve to live? Let Phan-TC take over your worries today.
20-40, female, white
(as Vivi's Funhouse): Then we would have to go back. Start all over again. We put on our handy-dandy work helmet and we do the work. We sometimes have to do some of the hardest work at the beginning so that when things feel as messy as you feel today, we’ll at least know we did everything we could. Ok, friends! Let’s go on in and imagine a better world, okay? One where sadness is just a star long behind us! (more relaxed and non-performative) This is really hard to do without real children, folks. I feel like I’m talking to myself most times. And that cheer track? What is that? Why can’t we have the children here? Where are the children?
(as Karen): I can't believe what i'm seeing, to be honest with you, Phil. I mean look at them! They're in clown clothes and wild eyelashes. they expect us to take them seriously looking like that? I would never let any child of mine walk out looking like these freaks. I am honestly glad I have decent children who have some sense to hold themselves with a sense of decorum. You all are a bunch of degenerates who should hope the lord doesn't strike you down right here with that awful disease for the type of lives you all are leading.
[Transatlantic 1930's] Imagine with me for one moment you are… a tree. An organic being raw from nature itself. We can touch and feel you as a solid being: whole. Time moves forward. You have no sentience or knowledge of yourself yet for you are only a tree rooted in the present moment. Example A: Reality. We will use the terms described by common pop-culture reddit would call “Cuils”. [Twilight Zone 1950's] Cuil 1: you are now a plank of wood. Perhaps you used to once be a whole tree but now you are a part of a whole. Time moves forward. You are broken away from that which you once understood. You cannot speak, grow, or adapt to your world for you have been cut from the head and feet. You are simply a fraction thereof. Time moves forward. [Unsolved Mysteries 1980's] Cuil 2: You are no longer wood alone. You are a Frankenstein culmination of mass steel, bricks, and wood. Time is still. You feel completed yet still feel the ache of your once sawed off pieces. Time is still. You feel your parts made vulnerable with glass and are weighed down by bricks. You are swallowing these moving creatures. Time is still. You beg them to see you, notice this sense of unrecognized pain but...you are not recognized as a living being to them. You are merely structural, functional. Time is... [Morgan Freeman's Earth 2010] Cuil 3: You are time...Irrevocably spanning in two directions stretching in the middle. Your uppermost crown forms antennas that receive radio signals and synthetic waves of knowledge. Numbers absorb into you as binary code that shifts into codexes, serial numbers that identify the appliances inside you such as a device to process empathy of other beings, and IP addresses for secured servers within your organs called rooms. Your roots now dig deep cinder blocks into the earth as you were once familiar with except, you do not feel the soil. You feel cold reinforced steel upon your skin. You see the sky become dark as a mass of metal rain lands, splashing fire around you and burning your bones to ash. Toxic waste suffocates the air and the living beings rot away inside you. The cherry blossoms around you curl away into slime and mulch as the trees shrink to shrub and soon, an imploding blast collects scattered matter into a single form. A sickened seed. You are no longer a building anymore. Something else. Not shifting forward in time nor backwards. Not broken or built. In this moment, you are both the relative connection of everything yet unborn of anything. Is time...is time...It’s time. [direct address to audience] Cuil 4: You race between a speed of stitched-like line within a fabric of cloth that holds a large hue of colors assuming the figure of a clock tower. Time. The dong of your bells ring as the streak of blue, red, and orange spans across the thread you lay upon. Time. It is as soft as the water upon your once growing leaves but as sturdy as your roots struck through earth’s axis. Time. You grow taller than the neanderthal wheel, the sun-wrought sand block pyramid, the bloodied colosseums, and a plantation house filled with bloodied cotton balls. Out blossoms from the dirt, your crown sprouting leaves. Time. Time. Time. [Radio Talk Show] Well, my galactic space travellers, we will soon find out more of the linear extremities of our reality next time here on, “The Outer limits: A Study of Time and Space”. I’m The man in the Radio signing off by saying Good night, and Good luck.
(as Martin Luther King): I am sure that most of you have read that arresting little story from the pen of Washington Irving entitled "Rip Van Winkle." The one thing that we usually remember about the story is that Rip Van Winkle slept twenty years. But there is another point in that little story that is almost completely overlooked. It was the sign in the end, from which Rip went up in the mountain for his long sleep. When Rip Van Winkle went up into the mountain, the sign had a picture of King George the Third of England. When he came down twenty years later the sign had a picture of George Washington, the first president of the United States. When Rip Van Winkle looked up at the picture of George Washington—and looking at the picture he was amazed—he was completely lost. He knew not who he was. And this reveals to us that the most striking thing about the story of Rip Van Winkle is not merely that Rip slept twenty years, but that he slept through a revolution. While he was peacefully snoring up in the mountain a revolution was taking place that at points would change the course of history—and Rip knew nothing about it. He was asleep. Yes, he slept through a revolution...