Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Audition Jitters

Despite feeling really excited about the upcoming auditions for my play, "Leave," with Urban Samurai Productions, apparently my unconscious can't help tweaking me. I woke up on Saturday morning and it took me a couple of minutes to realize, "Oh, none of that actually happened. The auditions haven't taken place yet. Everything's fine. That was a dream."

I don't normally remember my dreams, or that I've even been dreaming, so it takes something major to break through and screw with my head. This production's major, so it certainly qualifies. And the dream was more a personal sort of "Wow, I'm doing everything wrong and missing the auditions for my play" kind of thing, rather than the auditions themselves going badly. It was just all a bit surreal, and I was getting sidetracked, and felt like I was letting the production down somehow. (A subset of directors probably wouldn't mind if the playwright was missing in action. Thankfully, Artistic Director Matt Greseth would actually miss his playwright. He loves new work, has great storytelling instincts, and enjoys working with writers to develop scripts. I'm a lucky playwright.)

And I've been pounding the electronic pavement to get the word out. Of course, a lot of good actors are already committed to other shows. A bunch more actors I know are Equity and this is a non-union house at present. Then you've got the subject matter. Gays in the military in this case means gays pairing up, which means physical intimacy, and some partial nudity. That's a tough sell for some actors, gay or straight, and I completely understand that. So we have to find four actors playing in the age range of late teens to early thirties (depending on how the pairings shake out) who are willing to go there. Otherwise the play doesn't work. Toss on the pile the fact that three of them have to look convincing as military or ex-military - one Army, two Marines - and we've got another degree of difficulty. Plus, the one female role is the mother of one of those Marines, so we have to get another sort of pairing to look like it makes sense.

It was almost weirder to put the word out to my actress friends. Because, in my head, my compatriots and I are all still in our mid to late 20s. Logically, and chronologically, I know that isn't true. But the way you feel internally isn't always what's reflected back to you in the mirror over the bathroom sink in the morning. Let's face it, if I sired a kid at the age of 25, that child and I would now be able to legally sit down and have a beer together in a bar. Yikes. Time marches on. Even so, I still felt strange asking, as if it was more insulting to ask an actress friend of mine to audition for the part of someone's mother than it was to ask a guy to take a role where he'd have to kiss another dude onstage. (Not that there's anything wrong with any of that. It's just the way my brain was throwing stuff back at me.)

So, in addition to continuing to work on the rewrites, I figured I'd throw another blog entry out there. After all, no human being can see all the theater in this town. There's always a new theater company I'm being introduced to for the first time. New actors, young and old, appear on the scene with delightful and dizzying frequency. If anyone in or out of my network hasn't seen the post on Callboard or MinnesotaPlaylist, well, maybe they'll trip across the blog instead.

Here's where I'll be next Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Perhaps I'll be seeing you there, dreams to the contrary notwithstanding.

Here's the synopsis...

Seth is a young Marine serving during wartime. Nicholas is his civilian husband who waits back home. In addition to the strain on their relationship caused by distance and absence, they must hide their love for one another behind code words and secret identities because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the United States military.

Seth’s mother Anne assists them by providing the cover of a woman’s handwriting for Nicholas’ daily letters, but Nicholas and Seth’s resolve is starting to weaken.

Jonas, another young gay Marine in Seth’s unit just coming to terms with his identity, forms an intense bond with Seth overseas.

Tyson, a former Army soldier who got fed up with “don’t ask, don’t tell” and didn’t reenlist, now works alongside Nicholas, providing temptation as well as a reality check.

When Seth returns home for an unexpected leave, with Jonas at his side, and post-traumatic stress following him from the battlefield, old relationships are tested, and new ones bloom. In the end, the realities of war call on one man to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Audition Information

Urban Samurai Productions (USP) invites you to audition for its upcoming production
Written by Matthew A. Everett
Directed by Matthew Greseth
Leave is an original script by local playwright Matthew A. Everett regarding the U.S. Military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. The play focuses not only on the difficulties that gay men have serving in the military, but also the effect of the policy on their loved ones back home, who must hide their feelings for fear of accidentally outing their partner. USP will open Season 2011 with a full production of this world premiere of Matthew A. Everett's expanded version of the play, which has been presented as a one-act at previous venues.
Stipend:  $200
Performances: February 11-26, 2011
Rehearsals: An initial read-through and script discussion will take place before the end of the year. Regular rehearsals will begin in January 2011 and take place Sunday afternoons/Monday-Thursday evenings at SJCC.
Auditions: Monday, November 8th & Tuesday, November 9th, 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Callbacks: Thursday, November 11th, 6:00pm to 9:00pm - (please note, this is a change)
(callbacks were originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 10th)
Auditions will consist of readings from the script and actors will be seen in 10-minute intervals.
All roles in this production are OPEN:
Tyson - 20-35 - Took a voluntary discharge from the military because he refused to serve under a policy that made him hide his true self.
Seth - 20-30 - Marine who chooses to hide his homosexuality in order to serve in the military.
Nicholas - 20-30 - Seth's partner
Jonas - 18-25 - Marine in Seth's unit who is trying to come to terms with being gay.
Anne - 35-50 - Seth's mother
All male actors involved in this production must be comfortable with partial nudity and with portraying homosexual intimacy, including kissing.
To make an audition appointment for Leave, please contact Managing Director, Ryan Grimes, at ryan AT urbansamurai DOT org. As USP will be holding auditions for two productions within a week of each other, please clearly state in your email the production for which you are auditioning, the date and time you would prefer to audition, and your gender. Please bring a headshot and resume to your audition(s) and arrive early to complete an informational form. USP encourages all interested actors to audition for this production; there are no race-specific characters in Leave.
Audition, Rehearsal, and Performance Venue:
Sabes Jewish Community Center (near the intersection of I-394 and MN-100)
4330 Cedar Lake Road
Minneapolis, MN 55416
The use of Mapquest or a similar driving directions application is strongly discouraged. Please visit sabesjcc.org for directions to the SJCC from most areas of the Twin Cities.
For more information about Urban Samurai Productions please visit our website at urbansamurai.org

Monday, November 01, 2010

"Miss Me Yet?" (VOTE!)

Hard to imagine you may not have heard, but mid-term elections are happening tomorrow (Tuesday, November 2nd, most polls are open from 7am to 8pm). What with the blanketing of the airwaves with political ads, you'd think we'd all have plenty of information on who and what we're voting for. Me, I still need some basics.

Thankfully, the freebie neigbhorhood newspaper had an extensive voters guide in it, querying the candidates from governor to school board about what they stand for, what their plans are, etc., so I'm perusing that to get a jump on things. I live in fear of accidentally voting for a nut job, which for me would be worse than not voting. And not voting is not an option.

I need to doublecheck with the Minnesota Secretary of State's website - www.sos.state.mn.us - to make sure my polling place hasn't moved while I wasn't paying attention between the primaries and now. That site also has a rundown of all the offices on the ballot that I'll be voting for, so I can be sure my little last minute voter homework cramming is complete. For some reason, it makes me giggle that the Secretary of State website ends up having "sos" in it. Ah, fun with initials.

The local League of Women Voters website is also another handy reference - www.lwvmpls.org. After all, women haven't even had the vote for 100 years yet in this country (ridiculous as that sounds). They tend to be very watchful, level-headed, and informative about these things. For instance, there's an amendment on the ballot for Minneapolis that I've heard zilch about. Best not to be surprised. I can read up on the pros and cons thanks to the League.

Driving in to work today, I ended up stuck behind a car with one of those George W. Bush bumper stickers with his picture and the question, "Miss me yet?"

Which reminded me of a time a couple of weeks back when I was returning from working my second job (and let me tell you, these days, though it's exhausting sometimes, I'm grateful to have even one job, much less two, to help me pay the bills, and support the writing work. Anyway...) I was getting my backpack out of the car when this guy wandering through my parking lot at night sort of sneered at me. He'd seen the Obama bumper stickers on my car and so felt compelled to ask, "So, you still happy you voted for Obama?"

I thought about it for a split second and realized, "Yeah, I am." So I said so.

End of conversation. Guy just kept walking.

Personally, I feel like progress is being made. But things only have a chance of going the way we want if we stay involved in the process.

People have bled and died so I could amble down the street to the local elementary school, walk into the gymnasium, pick up a ballot, step up to a little voting station, fill in a dot, or complete an arrow, and register my opinion on who should be leading us for the next two, four or six years, locally and nationally.

Seems like the least I can do is do a little research on the people wanting my vote, and then show up.

While I certainly have my own opinions and preferences, I honestly don't care how you vote, just that you do vote. So get out there and make your voice heard.

And watch out for the nut jobs.