Auditions set for ‘The Meaning of Our Tears’ docudrama

KING — The Stokes County Arts Council will be holding auditions for its upcoming August theater production of “The Meaning of Our Tears” at Mount Olive Elementary School, 2145 Chestnut Grove Road in King, on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Monday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The production is based on the books “The Meaning of Our Tears” and “White Christmas, Bloody Christmas” by M. Bruce Jones and Trudy J. Smith. These books chronicle the history of the Lawson Family Murders by Charlie Lawson in 1929 on Christmas Day. The production is a historical docudrama narrated by an ensemble of speaking chorus members, not singing, called the Residents of Germanton. The story is presented to the audience by the story tellers who talk to each other as well as to the audience. Scenes from the past are brought to life where the Lawson family and the Residents of Germanton interact with each other.

The narrators deliver commentary on events, facts, rumors, and speculations in regards to the life and murders of the Lawson family in 1929. Scenes will take place within the real time of the story and seamlessly transition to narration and back again. While this play does depict the story of the Lawson Family murders, it is not and should not be considered a “horror” play. The production is a “historical” play and presented in a similar manner of an ancient Greek tragedy. At no point in time are the murders depicted on stage, but the murder scenes and the injuries inflicted are described in detail by the narrators. All characters in the play are human and should be played as such.

Character Descriptions:

Charlie Lawson- Father, Farmer, short tempered/loving/stern, Actor age range of mid 30’s to mid 40’s

Fannie Lawson — Wife, Mother, strong willed/loving, Actor age range mid 30’s to mid 40’s

Arthur Lawson — Son, strong willed/hardworking, Actor age range 15-20

Marie Lawson — Daughter, farm girl, loves modern things, but grounded, Actor age range 14-20

Carrie Lawson — Daughter, bright, smart, speaks a lot, Actor age range around 12

Mae Bell Lawson — Daughter, youthful/mischief, Actor age range around 7

James Lawson — Son, quiet, should be able to memorize a few lines, Actor age range around 7

Raymond Lawson — Son, no lines, Actor age range younger than 5

Residents of Germanton — All roles will have to carry the narration of the story and must be able to memorize well. Will serve as story tellers and are responsible for giving the information to the audience. Must be able to engage with the audience as well as each other.

Men 1, 2, and 3 ( Ages 30+) — Play various residents of Germanton including tobacco farmers, doctor, Marion (Charlie’s Brother), sheriff, and various men of town.

Men 4 & 5 (Ages 16-20’s) — Must be able to play same age as Arthur. Will be responsible for playing the roles of Sanders (cousin) and Abe (visitor to Lawson home), and able to memorize numerous lines.

Women 1, 2, 3, and 4 (Ages 20’s+) Women of Germanton playing various roles including nurse and church ladies. All need to memorize lines well, lots of narration.

Woman 5 (Age 16-18) — Plays opposite of Marie as Ella May, Marie’s confidant.

The play is written by Justin C. Hall and will be directed by Justin M. Bulla, with performances to be scheduled in August at South Stokes High School Auditorium.

For additional character descriptions, visit the Stokes County Arts Council website at or the Stokes County Arts Council Facebook page. For additional questions regarding the auditions or production, call 336-593-8159 or email at

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