Don Fried — Playwright & Author

Casting Call for “Blood Privilege” Rehearsed Reading

Cape Fear Film & Video is holding auditions for a rehearsed public reading of Don Fried’s dramatic play Blood Privilege. The reading is a fundraising event to raise money for Cape Fear Film & Video’s production of Don’s screenplay Phoenix.

Auditions: Saturday, August 4th, 9 am – 12 noon, Morning Glory Coffee House, 1415 Dawson St., Wilmington.

Reading: Thursday, August 16th, 7 – 9 pm, TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th St., Wilmington.

Rehearsal: One 3-hour rehearsal, to be scheduled based on availability of the cast.

The Play: Blood Privilege tells the story of Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory who, according to legend, sexually tortured and murdered over six hundred young women to bathe in their blood as part of a beauty ritual. However, she may not have committed the crimes of which she was accused and convicted. What is certain is that she lent a large sum of money to the Hungarian king and had the bad judgment to insist that he pay her back.

Blood Privilege has been produced in London, Los Angeles and Denver. The British Theatre Guide review of the sellout London production said:

Don Fried gives us a clever and intelligent woman, an efficient operator and a prototype feminist battling against male and royal control. This is a picture of the way someone can be schooled into transgression, of how the law can be followed and yet manipulated, and how power can be concentrated in an elite, none of which has been limited to sixteenth-century Slovakia.”

Roles (and playing ages):


Elizabeth Bathory: 20s-30s. Intelligent, headstrong noblewoman, obsessed with physical beauty.

Katalin: 20s-30s. Young Elizabeth’s innocent governess and intimate companion.

Szilva: 30s – 50s. Elizabeth’s secretary; ruthless, hard-working.

Thurzo: 30s. Elizabeth’s cousin. A progressive noble, rising in the political hierarchy.

King Matthias. 50s – 60s. Irresponsible royal, drunk with power and privilege.

Nadasdy: 30s – 50s. Brutal, impoverished noble and soldier. Elizabeth’s husband from a forced and abusive marriage.

Pataky: 30s – 60s. Chemist, physician and consultant on beauty. Above morality.

Lorand Sigray: 40s – 50s. Baron and judge. Informative and knowledgeable, but rarely helpful.

Andras: 20s – 30s. Prison guard.

For More Information: Contact the playwright/director, Don Fried, 303-815-6164.

Synopsis: Elizabeth Bathory is a beautiful young Hungarian/Slovakian noblewoman who was born during the last years of the 16th century. When her parents die, the king assigns her progressive cousin, Count Cuyorgy Thurzo, responsibility for her education and upbringing. However, she is impregnated by a peasant, and the King removes Elizabeth from Thurzo’s care and marries her to the brutal soldier Count Ferenc Nadasdy, with instructions for Nadasdy to train her in the appropriate behavior of Hungarian nobility. Appropriate behavior, in this case, includes exercising draconian discipline over the serfs belonging to the estates under her control.

While Nadasdy is away during prolonged wars with the Turks, Elizabeth becomes a capable manager, but she also becomes increasingly addicted to the power of her position and the brutality with which she can exercise it. When Nadasdy returns during a lull in the fighting, Elizabeth refuses to cede control of their properties. The struggle escalates, and she has him murdered.

Now a powerful and independent noblewoman, Elizabeth accumulates a retinue of sycophantic charlatans anxious to capitalize on her wealth. She becomes obsessed with trying to retain her youth and beauty, and is eventually accused of beautification rituals involving the sexual torture and murder of a large number of young women. The King, under increasing pressure from a population which has had enough of this sort of treatment, is finally forced away from the nobility’s long-standing position of defending such actions as being within its rights and prosecutes Elizabeth as a scapegoat. At the same time, he attempts to seize her wealth for personal gain.

At the end of the play, Elizabeth is convicted and walled up in a room in her castle to live out the final years of her life.



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