The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

General Discussion About the 1974 DeFeo Murders and related topics
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sherbetbizarre
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The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by sherbetbizarre » Sat May 29, 2010 5:36 am

Looking for Actors for new play - Amityville -The Defeo Murders, Manchester

Vertigo Theatre Productions are looking for actors for controversial new play

Vertigo Theatre Productions have been described as one of 'Manchester’s Premier Fringe Theatre Companies'. After hit plays including the original plays '3sum', Rage, 'M' and the upcoming OUT! (Opens June) and holding the UK Premier production of the Off Broadway Smash 'Dog Sees God; Confesssions of a Teenage Blockhead' attention turns to a new Original play based on the true life murders that shocked America.

Amityville - The Defeo Murders tells the story of Ronnie Defeo who murdered his entire family in the famous Amityville house in 1974. To this day Ronnie Defeo has told so many different stories about what happened that the truth about that night may never be fully known.

From interviews, research, transcripts, speculation etc Vertigo's in house writers Craig Hepworth and Adele Stanhope create a play which looks inside the Defeo's house and the broken relationship of this family. We see the family come undone prior to the murders and explore why Ronnie would have done this, did he work alone and what really made him snap.

A controversial look at a story that shocked the world, Amityville the Defeo Murders is a dark drama about drugs, murder, family, abuse and asks if someone is just born bad?

Amityville - The Defeo Murders will rehearse every Sunday from August till its opening November 8th at Taurus Bar, Canal Street, Manchester. The small 50 seat venue will play host to the premier for one week and will close on November 13th (The anniversary of the shootings). if the show does well we will move it on to another venue.

This is unpaid work and requires commitment, however the exposure will be great as Vertigo always receive a lot of press and because this is based on a very popular story we except more media attention than ever.

APPLICANTS NEED TO BE FROM THE AREA (MANCHESTER, TAMESIDE, OLDHAM, WIGAN ETC) WE ARE A NORTH WEST BASED COMPANY WHO USE NORTH WEST BASED ACTORS.

Location: Manchester, United Kingdom

Payment details: no pay

Note: All minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.


Applications to this casting call require:
•A profile photo


Ronald Defeo Sr - Age 45 - American

A very challenging role as the father of the Ronnie Defeo who ended up murdering his whole family in 1974 in the now famous Amityville House. An aggressive/Violent father this is a brutal role requiring a great skilled actor. This role is of course based on a real person as the whole story is real. American Accent required

Males, aged 40 to 45 from the United Kingdom Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Skin colour: White


Louise Defeo - Age 35 - 45 - American Accent

Louise Defeo was the mother of Ronnie Defeo who murdered her and the rest of her family in 1974 at the now famous Amityville house. A loving woman who is caught between the volatile relationship between her husband and son and also suffers physical abuse at the hands of her Husband. A Great role to play, American Accent required

Females, aged 35 to 45 from the United Kingdom Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Skin colour: White


Alison Defeo - Age 13 to 15 - American Accent

Alison Defeo was the middle child of the Defeo family. Smart and attractive and a girl who loves life but can't help seeing the destruction that is been caused in the family by her brother Ronnie and her Father Ronald Snr. Alison Defeo lost her life during the murders of her family. Suits a new actor wanting to start out in a decent supporting role. Due to the nature of the play we would require contact from the parents to discuss the grown up subjects covered in this play.

Females, aged 13 to 15 from the United Kingdom Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Skin colour: White


Marc Defeo - Age 12 - 14 - American Accent

Marc Defeo was Ronnie Defeo's younger brother who also lost his life during the shootings at the famous Amityville house. A good natured young boy, heavily in to American Football but also upset by the arguments and fights between his older brother and his father. A great little role for any new young actors wanting to start out in a great support role. Due to the nature of the play we would need to have contact with parents to discuss the grown up themes covered in the play.

Males, aged 12 to 14 from the United Kingdom Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Skin colour: White


John Matthew Defeo - Aged 8 to 10

John Matthew Defeo was the youngest of the Defeo family who lost his life during the shootings at the Amityville House in 1974. A support role who is on stage a lot, suits a new young actor. John Matthew was a great natured sweet kid. Due to the nature of the play we would need contact with parents to discuss the grown up themes of the play and make sure that you are happy with that.

Males, aged 8 to 10 from the United Kingdom Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Skin colour: White


Robbie Kesley - Age 20 - 25 - American Accent

Robbie Kesley is based on the real life best friend of killer Ronnie Defeo (His name is changed slightly). Robbie in school was the star Jock who had scouts come and look at him, very good looking. Many believe he lost his way and was wrapped up in drugs and drink with Ronnie. A figure in the Defeo Murders who still has a question mark above him as to how much we really know about him is true. A great role for a new actor or experienced. Great supporting role. American Accent

Males, aged 20 to 25 from the United Kingdom Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Skin colour: White
http://www.starnow.co.uk/listings/Listi ... _id=165347

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Sat May 29, 2010 8:56 am

Hi there

First of all i just wanted to say what a great website and what a fantastic bunch of people you seem to be. Your discussions on this house, crime etc is intelligent and a joy to read so i thank you all for that.

I’m the writer of the new UK Fringe play Amityville - The Defeo Murders.

I just wanted to set all your minds at ease that this is not an over the top Hollywood style version of this story, it’s based on reports, interviews and some speculation to try and put together a credible explanation as to why this crime was committed and what drove Ronnie to do this.
We don’t pass judgement on anyone; characters in the piece are flawed but also have many redeeming aspects.

As i say it's more an examination of a family rather than an exploitation piece about the murders (in fact they take place in the last few mins and of the play and happen off stage), as a writer i was more interested in giving some of these characters a voice.

In our production you won’t find ghosts, a 7th body, the mafia etc, its a very simple story about a young man who’s addictions and anger affected a family etc

I know some must be nervous about the play (we are very small and only run 1 week) but don't be.

If you like i would happily keep you all updated along the way through here, even get your advice since you guys seem to be the masters of this subject and get the cast to come and say hello on here.

So there you go, i just wanted to say hi and to put your minds at ease, any input you have on what you would like to see covered in the play or what you wouldn’t like to see then please just let me know as we are still writing it.

All the best from here in the UK
C

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Dan the Damned
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Dan the Damned » Sat May 29, 2010 9:48 am

Welcome to the board and thanks for the info! Glad to see it's an original production and not an offshoot of Ryan Katzenbach's film project. Although I admit I may be a bit too hard on Ryan -- just basing things on what I think will be in his movie. Maybe he'll prove us wrong and present something more balanced than the book he published some years back.

But anyway, yes, please keep us posted on your play. And good luck with it! Billy would make a perfect Ronald Sr if you can put up his airfare from the states! lol

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Sat May 29, 2010 10:37 am

Hey Dan the Damned

Thanks for the warm welcome, ive been on here all day reading through all the info and opinions you guys share, it's great.

Yes our play is not based on his film and im sure we are both presenting very different takes on the story.

At the moment we have 3 confirmed cast members
Rick Carter will play Ronnie Defeo. Rick does very well here in Manchester and was the first CB in the UK Premier Production of Dog Sees God; Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead that my company produced. He recieved rave reviews. He is currently shooting a new TV series here in the UK called The Endz

Emma Willcox will play Dawn Defeo, Emma is a regular in my company and has earned rave reviews in 'The Breakfast Club', 'Rage' and 'M', a very talented young actress

Adele Stanhope will play the role of Shelly, Adele is the co owner of my company and blew audiences away in the lead role in 'M'. Adele is also the co writer of the play.

I will keep you guys up to date with everything

Thanks again for the warm welcome

C

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Shawn
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Shawn » Sat May 29, 2010 3:18 pm

Who's Shelly??????/
Any and all comments made by the poster "Shawn" are purely his opinion and do not reflect the opinions of the board owners, administrators or moderators. Also, all postings done by the member "Shawn" are property of "Shawn" and cannot be reproduced in any way shape or form without written permission from the poster known here(@http://www.amityvillefaq.com) as "Shawn". TIA.

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Sat May 29, 2010 3:25 pm

Good Question

Shelly is Ronnie's girlfriend in the play (its a small role) we changed her name slightly from one of Ronnie's previous girlfriends

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sherbetbizarre
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by sherbetbizarre » Sat May 29, 2010 3:43 pm

Yes, please keep us updated. I'd love to travel up to Manchester (from London) but I don't think my finances will strecth that far! :doh:

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Sat May 29, 2010 5:42 pm

Hey well you never know if it does well enough we may get it down to London in a small fringe venue for a week or so.

What i can tell you at the moment is the show opens the day after the bodies are discovered and starts with Ronnie at the police station been questioned by the police, the play then goes in to flashback to a few months before the shooting's happened and the next scene takes place in Henry's bar.

The play also ends back in the police station so its book ended each way. It's a 2 act play (1 hour each act)

The characters are in order of leads to support roles
Ronnie Defoe (Played by Rick Carter)
Dawn Defoe (Played by Emma Willcox)
Ronald Defeo Sr
Louise Defeo
Robbie Kelsey
Shelly (Played by Adele Stanhope)
Alison Defeo
Marc Defeo
John Matthew Defeo
Officer

Our auditions take place on June 27th, we have a high amount of people coming to audition (which is scary)

The play was booked in to the venue a few months ago and only recently did we realize that our closing night is actually the anniversary of the shootings, a minute’s silence will be held at the end of that performance.

C

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Dan the Damned
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Dan the Damned » Sat May 29, 2010 6:04 pm

C'mon Sherb, if the Sex Pistols made it from London to Manchester, so can you! :P

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MerchBoi
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by MerchBoi » Sat May 29, 2010 9:22 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:Yes, please keep us updated. I'd love to travel up to Manchester (from London) but I don't think my finances will strecth that far! :doh:

Sherb! I'm going to the UK soon and will definitely try to see this (being a young producer I love new edgy stuff like this). You can totes come along for the ride if I can make the whole thing happen.
MerchBoi...resident Gay Mascot for Amityville Horror Truth.

"The last chance,
The last dance,
One moment in time.
One song,
Doesn't last that long.
Life turns on a dime.
The wheels of fortune seem to pass you by.
Tomorrow there's a dawn again.
A dream can still be born again.
Take a chance,
While there still is time.
Because life turns on a dime."
-IN MY LIFE

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sherbetbizarre
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by sherbetbizarre » Sun May 30, 2010 4:24 am

Dan the Damned wrote:C'mon Sherb, if the Sex Pistols made it from London to Manchester, so can you! :P
Hey, I was at the Pistols's famous Lesser Free Trade Hall gig in Manchester... I was only 4, but I unsprooled there ala Foland. (note to Vertigo: No John Foland in your story? ;) )
Merchboi wrote:Sherb! I'm going to the UK soon and will definitely try to see this (being a young producer I love new edgy stuff like this). You can totes come along for the ride if I can make the whole thing happen.
That would be fantastic!

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Mon May 31, 2010 5:42 am

MerchBoi - Love the Xanadu picture

Watched it in NY and thought it was brilliant

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Dan the Damned
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Dan the Damned » Mon May 31, 2010 8:24 pm

sherbetbizarre wrote:Hey, I was at the Pistols's famous Lesser Free Trade Hall gig in Manchester...
:shock:

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MerchBoi
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by MerchBoi » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:02 pm

Vertigo, thanks. I worked on the show. :)
MerchBoi...resident Gay Mascot for Amityville Horror Truth.

"The last chance,
The last dance,
One moment in time.
One song,
Doesn't last that long.
Life turns on a dime.
The wheels of fortune seem to pass you by.
Tomorrow there's a dawn again.
A dream can still be born again.
Take a chance,
While there still is time.
Because life turns on a dime."
-IN MY LIFE

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:40 am

Merch im jealous of you, came to see it when it was in NY at the Hayes and laughed so hard, it was amazing.

OK guys we have just finished a very strong act 1 draft which has got us all very excited here at Vertigo.
Can you tell me what kind of things you would not want to see in the show?

C

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Dan the Damned
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Dan the Damned » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:22 am

Nah, it's your show. You should put whatever you feel like in it. Hell, make it a musical if you desire! lol

The other day you said this:
In our production you won’t find ghosts, a 7th body, the mafia etc, its a very simple story about a young man who’s addictions and anger affected a family etc
And that would be my answer. If I wrote such a play, I'd do the same -- I'd stay away from ghosts and the mafia and people helping Ronnie kill that night.

But I'd also keep the angry family aspect out. We have just as much evidence of the DeFeos being a happy family as we do of them being an angry family.

But really, you should follow your own heart. A lot of us here have very different opinions on what went on that night. Some of us think it was just a paranoid stoned loser who felt he could wipe out the family and get all the money/house to himself -- or maybe he meant to kill his dad and the rest just happened -- some of us felt that maybe he was possessed -- and some of us feel he had people helping him that night. So you won't get a solid answer, anyway.

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:13 pm

lol i would stop writing if i turned this in to a musical lol

I think the angry Father and Son story is an interesting one and is very much the central ground for our play. After talking to a few people who seem to have some connections to the case or the family they all seemed to say the same that tensions between Ronnie and his father were very high, almost destructive, this was mainly brought on by Ronnie and his drugs and mood swings. Our story is very much about a family that behind the closed doors was one that was coming apart. Not as a whole, Alison, Marc and John are seen as very happy kids but who are aware of the tensions that are caused between the parents due to the disappointment in Ronnie and what he was becoming or rather what he was not becoming which was an adult who would take responsibility for his own life and future. Several people have mentioned the violent father and on a personal note it's something i believe. I don't think Ronald was a horrid father or husband but i think when someone like his son Ronnie brings so much negative to the table it would cause a reaction from a father who wanted the perfect family.

Louise in our play is portrayed as a woman who should be silent but has a strong opinion on things but is often stopped from sharing that opinion by her husband. She loves Ronnie and cares about him but can also see the cracks appearing and worries, she tries to get through to him and also tries to stand her ground with him but because she believes he can be better than he his she caves. She’s one of my faves in the story, very smart, very loving but can see the destruction coming before it does.

Dawn is played as quite aggressive, a girl becoming a woman who is sick of seeing Ronnie get so much attention (good or bad) from her parents, she feels like she’s left on the sideline a bit, however she’s smart and as many teenagers do she knows how to play her parents to get what she wants, that normally involves speaking out against Ronnie (which causes tension between the 2). At one point the story was going to involve Dawn as one of the shooters that night but the more i researched for the past 6 month’s nonstop the less i believed that theory.

The most controversial aspect i guess we have is the plan to murder the parents is born out of a night of drugs and drink between Ronnie, his best friend and Dawn. This is a silly conversation between 3 people just talking, but it's from this conversation that Ronnie gets the idea to kill his family.

Money plays a huge part in the play; Ronnie in our play did this through a mixture of greed (hoping he would benefit from their deaths) and a mind so messed up on drugs that he could murder the entire family.

It is a family dark drama looking behind the curtains of the perfect houses and seeing that all is not well, a family who had its flaws but had the best intentions except a son who was so far removed from reality through his addictions that he carried out the ultimate sin.

Did the father hit the mother and Ronnie? who knows for sure, in my opinion he did, through frustration and anger, though i know he loved Louise very much
Did Dawn play any part in the murder? i doubt it, but i think she was a frustrated young woman
Did Louise see that the problems between her husband and son could lead to something more destructive? I’m sure she did, however she could never have known to what degree.
Did Ronnie's friends have anything to do with the killing? Debatable, but i believe they had heard him talk.

So that’s our basis, a family drama which ended in a horrific crime, no bells and whistles, no ghosts, no wild conspiracies just a simple story of what i as a writer and my co writer believe to be the most obvious explanation.

A line from the play

Butch (puts down his glass and runs his hands through his hair in frustration)
"I don't want to be here, this town is the kinda place where nothing ever happens, nobody knows its hear and never will because Amityville is somewhere which holds no interest for the outside world, and why should it?

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Dan the Damned
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Dan the Damned » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:17 pm

We often talk about different ways we'd like the story of the haunting and murders presented (on TV or film). I think 3 or 4 of us have "come up" with the Amityville Musical idea -- and searching around on the Web a few years back I noticed others who had also come up with the Amityville Musical idea long before us.

One of the more serious ideas we've toyed around with here is presenting the story as a series of flashbacks (which might seem a bit cliched, but what isn't these days). Start the play with Ronnie entering the police station, not under arrest, but there "for his own protection" (even though the cops do seem to suspect him).

Ronnie gives them 1 or 2 versions of what happened that night, which are acted out on the opposite side of the stage, with Ronnie as the narrator.

Then as Ronnie sleeps on a cot in a police storage room, other cops enter the station having found the incriminating evidence against Ronnie. Ronnie wakes up in the morning as the prime suspect, and goes through another scenario of the murders before confessing. And on and on.

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:58 am

We do something similar throughout the play in regards to Flashbacks with the story starting in the police station and ending in the police station.

The problem with the use of many flashback moments in a play is keeping the audience locked on one story, unlike film where you can transition simply to a flashback a stage play would require set changes all the time and rapid costume changes as well as lighting changes.

We actually had the scene in the play where at first Ronnie denied the charges, then he blamed the mob guy etc, we saw him go to sleep that night and get awoken by the officers telling him they knew it was him and Ronnie again giving several versions of the event. (good scene actually)

However the thing you learn very quick when writing a piece like this is pacing, the whole thing took far too long to get to the story we wanted to tell which is about the DeFeo’s so we had to remove it, it was quite hard to take out actually because myself and Adele loved the feel of the scene, but you have to make cuts to keep the play moving.

It now opens with Ronnie’s with his head laid on the table in the interrogation room and we find out he’s been in there for hours and that he’s lied about several different things. At the end of the scene the officer pulls out the photos of his family and slams each one down on the table in front of him, each time he does it a blast of light hits the stage and a gunshot rings out for each photo, the last blast of light then drops the scene to blackout and moves to flashback which is where our story stays till the end. The last line you hear before the lights come up on the blackout are "to put a gun to your family's head is..., help me understand Ronnie, why would a person do that"

We have also played the police officer idea a bit more, Ronnie is arrested during the play for theft and it's the same officer from the opening of the play, Ronnie walks free and the officer tells him "one day Ronnie you will be back in this room facing me across the table, and next time you won’t be so lucky, it's only a matter of time"

emily123
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audition info

Post by emily123 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:31 am

Hi just wondering if u could give us some info on auditions i know they are on 27th june but dont know the venue and would be interested in auditioning. Are there any scripts to learn and pls could you confirm the venue and time of the auditions

Thanx v much

Emily

Vertigo1
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Re: The Defeo Murders stageplay (UK)

Post by Vertigo1 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:13 am

Hi there

You can email us Headshots and CVs to vertigoproductions04@yahoo.co.uk
You must be UK based and from the North West

Thanks

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