Washington Ensemble Theatre's Suicide Forest Open Auditions

About the project and the company

Washington Ensemble Theatre is holding open auditions for their 2022 production of Suicide Forest by Haruna Lee, directed by Mimi Katano.


Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese-American consciousness and its looming relationship with sex, suicide, and identity. In 1990’s Japan, a teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society as a salaryman desperately tries to escape his masochistic psyche. Both are clawing for their self-worth. When their two journeys collide, they expose their darkest desires fueled by shame as they now confront life and death with the notorious Suicide Forest looming over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, examining the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.


A Note from Playwright Haruna Lee on Audience, Race and Cultural Representation:

This play is undeniably a Japanese nightmare in its deep exploration of self-erasure, masochism and reflections on a shame-based society. The characters portray Japanese people, however, this play is written in English, originally intended for an English speaking audience. I’ve been told that themes of this play could transcend race and culture… Perhaps the easiest choice for an American audience is to cast Asian American actors who pass as Japanese and can speak English fluently, while ignoring the Japanese text. However, I would be interested in the more difficult and uncomfortable casting choices that could shed light on the complexity of Asian and Asian American Diaspora- a way of presenting the play that doesn’t mask the simultaneity of cultural inheritance, exploration, appropriation, breaking down of language, and generational gap that is a reality of any immigrant story, as well as this play.


The open call will be taking place over Zoom by appointment. If you are not available on those dates, or if you are not able to secure an audition slot, you are welcome to send in a video by April 3rd of your audition to casting@washingtonensemble.org. In person auditions and callbacks will take place at 12th Ave Arts on Capitol Hill. 



4/3, Sunday: Virtual Open Call 10 AM-2 PM

4/9, Saturday: Invited Auditions in person TBD

4/10, Sunday: Callbacks in person 6 PM- 9 PM


In the room will be casting director Sien Méndez, director Mimi Katano, and Producing Director Erin Bednarz. 



In an effort to make the casting process more accessible, Washington Ensemble Theatre does not require a formal headshot and resume – but we would like to get to know you! Please send us a picture of yourself (selfies welcomed), your contact information, or any of the following:


-Describe the work you like to make
-Your past experiences that feel relevant to you
-A resume if you would like to share

Audition requirements

At the open call, or in your video submission, we would love for you to share some prepared material with us. This can be a monologue, an excerpt from your favorite book, a poem, a song, a combination of these things-- anything that makes you feel like you are sharing your best self with us. Feel free to prepare as little or as much as your heart desires. We would like to see between 1 and 3 minutes of material.

Character breakdown / Project needs
Japanese white-cllaor man in his 60’s. He is one in a sea of many. A man of uniformity. Hostility and rage, subordination and complicity dance chaotically inside him.
Japanese. another white-collar working man in his 40’s-50’s
Japanese. A schoolgirl, 16 years of age. She grapples with her sexuality in a male-defined society.
Office Lady
Japanese. a white-collar working woman in her 30’s-40’s. Unassuming. Ordinary, but turns maddistic in Salaryman’s fantasy.
Japanese. Daughter of Salaryman, maybe 16 years of age (played by 60+ performer. Eery and grotesque, she is a part of Salaryman’s nightmare.
Japanese. Daughter of Salaryman, maybe 16 years of age (played by 60+ performer. Eery and grotesque, she is a part of Salaryman’s nightmare.
Clan of Goats (doubled by the actors who play Friend, Office Lady, Miho, and Chiho)
GURIKO, is a Capricorn. Stubborn and climbs well. GO, is an Aquarius. Overly enthusiastic. GOBŌ, is a Gemini. Nosy KAMIYA-SAN, is a Pisces. A Know-it-all.
Additional information
Preferred method of submission


Pay type


Audition location

Seattle Washington

Pay type

400 400

Union Requirements


Equity Contract