Season 3 casting - we need you!
What's the show?
The Silt Verses is an independent (as in, we're a team of two people cobbling it together outside of our day jobs) audiodrama podcast, featuring a potent blend of contemporary fantasy, folk-horror and satire.
The show is set in a world where gods are real and rife, acts of worship have tangible effects, and fervent worshippers can be transformed at any moment into horrible aspects of their own faith.
We've had two well-received seasons and somehow we've picked up nearly a million downloads, and had nods in the Observer, Mashable, the Times, and from BBC Sounds. Our listeners are awesome.
You can find out more about us here.
Who are we looking for?
We have a wide range of medium-to-small commitment roles available for our final season.
We're a diverse cast and crew, and we'd always enthusiastically encourage auditions from LGBTQ+ performers and performers with black, Asian, or minority ethnic heritage.
The show features a wide range of accents in the lead roles and we're always thrilled to hear more - UK/US accents aren't a necessity at all.
How will this work?
We work remotely with voice actors across the world, so there's no requirement to get to a studio.
Depending on the role, we'll either ask you to record your lines on your own time, or we'll arrange a directed Zoom recording session between you and your scene partners. (This will likely be in May-June, but we'll always work to find a date and time that works for all our actors.)
We would ask that you have a good-quality USB mic or other recording device, but that's it!
We pay £30 p/h, rounding up to the nearest hour (a small role will generally be an hour's work, a more significant role may be closer to 3-5).
We'll aim to close the audition process by April 23rd, depending on responses!
What are the roles?
Character audition lines and descriptions can be found below, or here in downloadable Google Doc format.
We've tried to include a juicy monologue or a couple of distinct lines for each character, but ultimately we just want to hear your take - if you're short on time, please feel free to give us a shorter snippet!
Audition lines should go to firstname.lastname@example.org (MP3 or wav).
If you’ve also got a showreel or examples of your work, please do send that through as well!
We'll have a number of other roles available throughout the course of the season, so if we love your audition but you're not quite right for a particular part, we'll very likely be in touch to ask if you'd like to work with us for another part.
5 episodes, moderate commitment
Val is a saint of liars - she’s something no longer entirely human, who’s been through an agonising experimental process and come out the other side with the ability to reshape reality (ending lives, rewriting history, wiping out memories) simply by speaking it into existence.
As such, her power is effectively godlike. Nobody really poses a threat to her in the narrative, and she knows that.
But she’s bitter, too - bitter and vengeful in a way that will become increasingly clear as the season goes on.
We’re looking for someone who can play the role as supremely confident, a little wickedly self-satisfied and arch (although entertainingly so, rather than completely insufferable), and a little alien in her strangeness and detachment.
She needs to switch on a dime from being playful and amused to being completely terrifying and commanding.
And in time, we want to hear the vulnerability and rage from her towards the people who made her like this.
The image that’s stuck in our mind for some reason is ‘Fleabag, if Fleabag was terrifying’, but we’ll gladly hear takes on the character beyond that!
(Calmly, with quiet amusement, to a watching crowd)
There was never a town here.
There was only a typing error, a misprint - a meaningless name that was wrongly added to a few stray maps and, even then, it was a mistake that was swiftly corrected.
There was never a town here.
(With a little buried anger and sorrow)
How could there have been a town here?
So close to the polluted waters and choking in polluted soil, at the mercy of the changing winds, beset by the environmental corruption of the old wars and now defenceless against the Peninsula’s bombardments.
No civilised government would have ever allowed you to settle in such a place.
No civilised government would have let you remain here so long.
And if they had, you’d have seen to it that they lost their power, by vote or by fire, and you’d have left this place far behind many decades ago.
And if there was never a town here - if your grandparents and their grandparents never dwelled here - then there’s simply no way that any of you can ever have existed.
You never played in these streets. You never set foot in this dead earth. You were never unlucky enough to breathe in this dry and wilting air.
(As her audience begins to crumble and fade before her)
You were never handed the gift of flesh, and you never carried the weight of bone, and there is nothing inside you which ever could cause your heart to beat or your blood to flow or your lungs to wheeze, no spark of life that could ever result in the faintest of thoughts or the most foolish of loves or anything at all.
Any of this would have been a rank impossibility. None of it exists. None of it could ever have existed.
None of you were ever born at all.
#2: High Katabasian Roemont
Age: 50+ (or able to convincingly play an older character!)
3 episodes, moderate commitment
Roemont is the head of the Parish of Tide and Flesh - a religion dedicated to a river-god.
He’s led his people quite comfortably for some decades now, but as we start Season 3 of the show, he finds his reign increasingly threatened by the rise of a youth movement amongst the Parish that has no respect or memory for his achievements.
Across the course of the season, Roemont will begin to doubt himself, fearing that his past achievements will be swept away and forgotten - and he’ll suffer a dramatic public breakdown as he tries to deal with his enemies.
We’re looking for a versatile actor who can immediately impress us with a voice of authority and long experience, but then show us cracks, emotion and vulnerability as Roemont’s grip on power collapses.
HIGH KATABASIAN ROEMONT:
(Intoning the well-worn words of a ritual)
To become a Katabasian of the Trawler-man is to lose sight of light and love beneath dark waters; it is to renounce one’s past, to forget one’s old loyalties of family and fellowship; to become naught but a vessel of faith floating upon the currents of the divine.
Speak now of the man you will leave behind, the man you have been. Gaze deep into his reflection.
Confess his weakness, his crimes, his frailties. Renounce this man; strip his flesh free from your flesh; drown him in the river’s depths.
And be rid of him.
HIGH KATABASIAN ROEMONT:
(Forcefully, broken and ragged, beyond despair)
You do realise how laughable it is, don’t you? The…the temerity of it. To call yourself pure.
You are a rotten thing, Faulkner. A canker, an ingrown nail that’s dug into the flesh of our people and our faith.
This new draft will consume us. They’ll show no mercy; they’ll round us up like dogs.
Our people will be hunted into extinction.
Will you then be satisfied?
#3: Katabasian Greve
4 episodes, moderate commitment
Greve is the second-in-command of the Parish of Tide and Flesh, and an old friend to Roemont.
Smart, competent, drily humorous, and (initially) loyal to the High Katabasian, Greve eventually - and reluctantly - decides that Roemont is incapable of leading the Parish, and betrays him.
We’re looking for a performer who can bring some humanity and thoughtfulness to a character who’s ultimately going to prove themselves a traitor, but then pile on some audibly withering scorn and sarcasm when it’s required as well.
(Thoughtfully, gazing into the fire)
Maybe we toss away Mason’s proposal. We embrace our continued retreat; we watch as our disciples are caught and drafted or hallowed into battle-saints.
And then the government wins its war and next year it celebrates its newfound powers and popularity with a fresh round of purges against the illicit faiths, and the cycle continues, and that opportunity doesn’t come around again.
Or maybe the CLS wins, and their priests will be standing victorious along the riverbanks, preaching a new name and a new history for the god that used to belong to us.
If we must be devoured, at least we can negotiate the seasoning.
You didn’t impress me at all.
Roemont lost his footing years ago. A great man, once, but no longer.
(Drily and lightly)
Water gets deep enough, you start to think about betting on the salmon and not the bear.
Although perhaps you’re more of a flounder, aren’t you, Faulkner?
1 episode, moderate commitment
We meet Devereaux for one semi-standalone episode of the show.
He’s a nervous, wounded young man, travelling alone, who’s got some serious childhood trauma in his past (the disappearance and perhaps death of his sister). He struggles to talk to people and generally suspects that he’ll be laughed at or disbelieved.
At the episode’s start, he’ll deliver a long, haunted monologue explaining what happened to his sister, which needs to hold our full attention and give us the shivers. (Think the diner scene in Mulholland Drive.)
But then the episode will take an unexpected turn - Devereaux and Sebastian, the motel owner who Devereaux is sharing the story with, will continue to discuss the matter. They’ll empathise with each other. And they’ll slowly and gently begin to fall for each other. It’s going to be a love story that takes us by surprise.
So we’re looking for a performer who can really sink their teeth into Dev’s neuroticism, woundedness and shyness at the start (although without overplaying that to the point of caricature), deliver that starting monologue, and then slowly open up to some shy flirtiness, tenderness and passion.
(With rising intensity and fear as he tells his own story)
Francine told me to shut up. She told me to stop crying.
And at some point late into the night, she grew impatient, and she whispered to me,
“There’s a god under the bed.”
“Dev, there’s a god under the bed, a god with many legs and big eyes and a bigger grin upon his horrible face, and he takes offerings that have been left for him in the night. So you need to stop crying, because if you keep crying he’s going to hear you.”
“And if he comes up from his haunt beneath the floorboards, and he hears you crying, and sees you thrashing about, he’s going to think you’re leaving him an offering, and he’s going to take the limbs off you, Dev, one at a time. Plucking them off of you like a doll’s limbs, like an insect’s legs, and he’s going to fix them onto himself.”
I was terrified. I told her to stop it, I begged her to stop, but she just kept insisting,
Sssh-ssh. I can hear the god under the bed is coming. You can hear him too, can’t you, Dev? So just be quiet and be still, and go to sleep.”
Maybe…maybe the Amicus is just like you are, Seb.
Exactly as good as you seem.
1 episode, moderate commitment
Sebastian is Devereaux’s scene partner and love interest for their shared episode.
He’s a young loner who’s set himself up as the sole proprietor, chef, cleaner, and bartender of a grand and semi-abandoned motel.
Seb is very much Devereaux’s opposite in many ways; he’s cheerfully sarcastic, confident and quick-witted. Beneath it all, though, he’s vulnerable and has suffered his own share of abandonment and loneliness (and tends to lie about most of this).
He’s also, essentially, a kind and decent person, with a bit of baby-bird syndrome when it comes to how he supports and cares about the more obviously wounded Dev.
By episode’s end, we’ll also need him to act as a bit of an impassioned action hero when the horror from Dev’s past inevitably resurfaces.
Oh, guests go missing all the time. That’s why I charge upfront.
Most travellers on the highway aren’t that sociable. Sometimes people check out without saying goodbye, or they don’t stay for breakfast.
(Acknowledging his terrible cooking)
I don’t take that one to heart.
But they take their cases with them, and they drive their cars away if they’ve got one. They just…
…drift on, heading to wherever they’re headed.
(More softly and sincerely)
That’s the real difference between a hotel and a motel, right?
In a hotel the ghosts stick around. In a motel they leave you after the first night.
(Softly, sincerely, intimately)
I feel dark as well. All the time. I feel like…I’m walking in a fugue. Like if I keep stumbling forward I’ll just fall off the horizon and disappear.
How absolutely remarkable it is that I can still stretch out my fingers into the darkness and touch something beautiful.
So. Maybe there is hope for something good.
4-5 episodes, moderate commitment
Elgin is a subordinate member of - in our setting - a revolutionary movement called the Woundtree. She’s young, and she’s been liberated from prison and a likely death sentence, and she is (when we first encounter her) six months pregnant.
At first she’ll come across as quiet, even meek, but over time she’ll come to strongly and powerfully advocate on behalf of making some hard, morally grey, even violent decisions - and she’ll challenge the leaders of the Woundtree when they show an unwillingness to act.
That doesn’t make her a fanatic or a villain, however; she’s just someone who’s been through hell and is determined to make things better, and as the season moves on she’ll reconcile with her movement’s leaders.
By the season’s end, she’ll be leading the movement onwards and offering the show’s final hint of grace and hope for the future.
We need a performer who can get across that toughness and that sense of a life hard-won, but also the essential humanity in the character.
(With quiet venom)
Our Widow of Wounds from across the border spends more time drinking our vodka supply into thin air than she does at our morning prayers or our meetings.
She tells us our god has no revelations to share from us. Our god isn’t speaking to her.
Despite that, she doesn’t have to sleep in the bunkroom. She gets the comfort of her own private house, where she’s free to sleep late and hide away all day and all night from the rest of us, and she can act like she isn’t a part of this community.
She isn’t on the work rotas, and all she contributes is sullen glares and objections, and moral boundary-lines she draws up then tells us we aren’t allowed to cross.
There’s an empty hollow in the heart of our movement, and right now that’s what’s likely to ruin us.
(With quiet, cold sincerity and passion, but without raising her voice)
Your disciples believe in this cause, Widow.
We’re not afraid of the god you’ve raised, and we’re not ashamed of it either.
We bear its brand upon our backs out of choice, and when the time comes and the gods have all starved and fled…we’ll kill it, too.
We don’t need to be kept safe from it. You’re the only one we’re likely to lose faith in.
All of us are prepared to do whatever we have to keep the torch aflame.
And the fire is dying out here, in your hands, while you guard it from the rest of us.
So. We’re calling for a vote.
Dan the Fanatic
4-5 episodes, moderate commitment
Dan is a regular member of the Woundtree’s movement, and for much of the season we need him to be pure comic relief: hopelessly devoted to the cause, utterly bombastic, speaking only in religious slogans and melodramatic statements. (We’re picturing a booming, Brian Blessed-esque voice.)
Towards the season’s end, we’ll get to see the more vulnerable, doubting side to Dan, but it should come as a legitimate shock.
DAN THE FANATIC:
He was the very cruelest of the oppressors against me!
I pray night and day to the Tree, Widow, that my hand will draw the marks of my revolt against him.
That my flesh shall take the great shape of my revenge upon Officer Edward Penton!
When I wrap my arms about him and the Tree surges forth from my body into his, we shall show him fear!
We shall show him fear, Widow!
DEREK THE FANATIC:
(Exultant, still rambling excitably on)
“Let our foes destroy one another,” I prayed. “Let nation cleanse nation, that a better world may be born in their mutual ruin.”
Most of them were falling far to the east, we saw, but one seemed to turn and twist in our direction, a burning white star that grew larger and larger, as if the carrion-gods themselves had heard my challenge to them-
Alice the Hatchery Keeper
2 episodes, minor commitment
A tough, no-nonsense former prisoner who’s keeping control over the Woundtree’s attempts at farming.
Needs to radiate firmness, simple common-sense, and the character is going to die horribly so we need a good final yell!
Direct hit on the southern side of the hatchery, Rootkeeper. The upper floors have halfway caved in; everything’s ablaze.
It’s a god-rocket, for certain, but it’s intact. Hasn’t opened, and…I don’t think the Saint’s woken up.
Window seal broke in the night. Wild god got into one of the chickens. It changed, and it slaughtered the rest of the roost.
Had to barbecue the lot of ‘em.
Propaganda voiceovers (multiple)
The show is filled with propaganda - mostly radio adverts, glossing over the horrible realities of the setting in a cheerful and sunny tone.
These will generally be less grounded and more overtly satirical (and short), so they’re a great chance to do something a bit hammier and more darkly comedic at speed.
A couple of examples below.
This advert is in the style of an old-fashioned domestic’ advert.
A MOTHER OF FOUR addresses the listener in a semi-conspiratorial tone, as if sharing a secret.
MOTHER OF FOUR:
(Cheery and unerringly bright)
As a mother of four, I’ve got enough to worry about between shopping, chores, housework, and these rascals. Keeping my home warm and bright should be the last thing on my mind.
(We hear laughing children)
That’s why I signed up to a Platinum contract with the Church Electric.
A Platinum contract means an automatic monthly debit, so I don’t need to worry about bills or changing energy costs.
It means great exclusive extras, like access to the Church’s latest minor deity, the Effervescent Flame.
And it adds my entire family to a shared licence as contracted worshippers of the Saint - so we don’t need to worry about an unexpected knock on the door, either.
Now I can get back to what’s really important.
(We hear more laughing children - the MOTHER OF FOUR also laughs merrily along with them)
(As a final slogan)
Praise the Saint!
This advert is in the style of a ‘See It,Say It, Sorted’ or army recruitment ad - tough-talking but warm, a hint of Ray Winstone.
If you’re not currently contracted to a licenced organisation or a licenced faith, the call for enlistment could come at any time from next week.
Make sure you’re prepared for the knock at the door. Toothbrush. Toothpaste. Clean change of clothes.
Everything you need to keep the Peninsula safe.
(As a final slogan)
If you’re not under contract, we’ll make contact.