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CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS

Murder on the Orient Express – Director Duff Taylor

 

Casting 11 actors to play characters described in detail below. Actors do not need to be the chronological age of the characters but need to be able to accurately portray the listed age range(s). Doubling of Miche/Marcel and Ratchett/Arbuttnot possible.

Character Breakdown:

Hercule Poirot (40s-60s) A famous Belgian detective; a “Big” personality; authoritative, witty, charismatic, and slightly pompous; driven to find the answers, good or bad, with a strong moral sense; very aware of his ability and his well-deserved reputation. Dialect encouraged.

Monsieur Bouc (30s-60s): A Belgian man of good humor; playful, proud, generous; a predilection for grandeur; a whirlwind of energy; must be an excellent comedian. Friend of Poirot. Dialect encouraged.

Mary Debenham (30s-40s): An English woman; a governess, capable yet romantic; a sadness around her eyes and a hardness about her person. Dialect encouraged.

Hector MacQueen (30s-40s): Tightly wound, edgy, and nervous; he seems to always be on the verge of falling apart or coming unwound.

Michel the Conductor/Marcel (30s-60s): One actor will play two roles: Michel: a good lookingFrenchman, with a quiet, almost grave sense of humor; unfailingly polite; Marcel: a Turkish waiter, snooty, smooth; must have great comic timing. Dialects encouraged..

Princess Dragomiroff (50s-70s): A Russian dowager; very formal, a sweeping, impressive presence; imperial, impatient. Dialect encouraged.

Greta Ohlsson (20s-60s): Inherently odd, and very devout Swedish woman; a frightened, sheeplike quality; must be an excellent comedienne with an impeccable Swedish accent. Dialect encouraged.

Countess Andrenyi (30s-40s): Hungarian, brilliantly beautiful, like something out of a fairytale; impeccably put together, with a warmth that wins over everyone she meets; her delicacy belies a steely edge; she is no wilting flower. Dialect encouraged.

Helen Hubbard (40s-60s): An outspoken and flamboyant American from the Midwest; jovial, obnoxious, domineering, deliciously nosy, and brash; unapologetic; must be an excellent comedienne.

Colonel Arbuthnot (40s-50s): Scotsman, also middle-aged, handsome, very matter-of-fact, occasionally tender; must have great comic timing. Dialect encouraged.

Samuel Ratchett (40s-60s): A middle-aged American businessman, evil at heart and frightening, brusque, unforgiving, stern demeanor; pushy, domineering.

Character Dialects:

This play has several characters who speak in dialect, so if you have proficiency in Belgian, British, Swedish, Scottish, French, Russian, and Hungarian dialects, please be ready to demonstrate that during your audition.

You are encouraged to visit YouTube The Actors Academy for information and help on how to do accents such as French (LINK); Russian (LINK); British (LINK); German (LINK); Scottish (LINK), Swedish (LINK), Belgian (LINK), Turkish (LINK), Hungarian (LINK), and American, lol, not Southern (LINK). Belgian is so close to French that I do not believe our audiences (nor the director) will require such attention to detail.

Audition Sides (audition scenes)  – 12 total

  1. Poirot

  2. Mary & Arbuthnot

  3. Ratchett & Poirot

  4. Hubbard & McQueen

  5. Poirot, Bouc, & Marcell

  6. Poirot, Bouc, & McQueen

  7. Poirot, Michel

  8. Poirot, Bouc, Countess

  9. Bouc, Hubbard

  10. Poirot, Princess, & Greta

  11. Michel, Hubbard, & Ratchett

  12. Poirot, Bouc, Arbuthnot, & Mary

Notable actors who have played these roles:

Poirot: Kenneth Branagh, Albert Finney, David Suchet

Mary: Daisy Ridley, Vanessa Redgrave*, Jessica Chastain*

Princess: Judi Dench*, Wendy Hiller*, Eileen Atkins

Arbuthnot: Leslie Odom Jr., Sean Connery*, David Morrissey

Ratchett: Johnny Depp, Richard Widmark, Toby Jones

Hubbard: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lauren Bacall*, Barbara Hershey

McQueen: Josh Gad, Anthony Perkins, Brian J. Smith

Bouc: Tom Bateman, Martin Balsam*, Serge Hazanvicius

Michel: Marwin Kenzari, Jean-Pierre Cassett, Denis Menochet

Countess: Lucy Boynton, Jacqueline Bissett, Elaina Satine

Greta:Olivia Coleman*, Ingrid Bergman*, Marie-Josee Croze

*Academy Award winners for acting