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Video: What Does It Take to Be A Bit Player?

A primer for the Bit Players Improv auditions to be held Saturday in Newport.

resident comedy troop at Newport’s , is looking for a few good players. Their are open to the public, and they especially encourage women to try out their comedic chops.

“For some reason, improv groups are overwhelmingly male, though that’s not the case in regular acting companies,” Jack Maytum, owner of the Firehouse Theater, said. “Right now we only have one female member.”

The current members of the Bit Players will be at the auditions to evaluate those who try out. According to cast member Dylan Eberle, they need to get a feel for how players will work with the company as a whole, as well as their acting abilities.

“Sometimes people will be really funny at auditions, but they may only be able to do one thing well.  With several members of the cast there, someone will be able to pick up on that,” he said.

The group would like to add several members to their roster so they can rotate and deepen casts for a heavy summer schedule, but they’re not out just to fill a quota. If no one fits their needs, they'll take a pass. The group said they need to make sure they find the best and the most congenial people available.

The Bit Players formed in 2007 and has become one of the most popular companies around. They recently were awarded the Providence Phoenix’s “Best Comedy Night” designation and are in the running for Motif Magazine’s “Comedy Group of the Year” award.

The Bit Players now consists of ten members who range from 21 to 56 years old, so age isn’t an issue.  Acting experience helps, but isn’t necessary either. The most important qualities for the Bit Players are stage presence, quick wit, and a sharp intellect, Maytum said.

Saturday’s audition will consist of some warm up exercises and working on pieces together. It's not necessary to bring monologues. They’ll last around two hours and everyone is expected to stay for the whole time. As a reward for trying out, everyone who attends will get free tickets for that evening’s performance.

For more information, contact the Firehouse Theare at (401) 849- FIRE (3473).

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