Matthew Hancock, Clarissa Thibeaux, Chad Addison in rehearsal for “Hype Man”
Three young actors. Different personal backgrounds. A trio of distinct professional credits in stage, TV and film. Somehow, under guidance from director Deena Selenow, they must instantly create a close bond to portray a rocketing hip hop band on the brink of national attention in the Fountain Theatre West Coast Premiere of Hype Man by Idris Goodwin, opening February 23.
Meet the talented cast of this funny, powerful and thought-provoking new “break beat play” the Boston Globe describes using “hip hop culture as a crucible where issues of racial identity, gender inequity, ambition, and friendship collide.”
Originally from outside Boston, Chad Addison has been in LA for 13 years. He’s excited to be working in his first play with The Fountain Theatre and to be able to dive into such a poignant piece of art. Music has always been a passion for him, so it’s an honor to combine the two in such a way. He was last seen on stage in the play Connect at Theatre 68. Aside from theater, he’s been pursuing TV/Film. Some notable credits include FOX’s 9-1-1, Most Likely to Die (on Netflix), NCIS: New Orleans, Grimm, Grey’s Anatomy & Bones. He was also a producer/actor on the independent film Paint It Red, which is now streaming on demand.
Matthew Hancock is excited to be back at the Fountain. Favorite theatre credits include: the Los Angeles premiere of the NAACP and Ovation Award nominated The Brothers Size (Oshoosi), I and You (Anthony), Trans Scripts (Zakia). Matthew has recurred on I’m Dying Up Here (Showtime), Emmy Nominated Giants (Youtube), Five Points (Facebook Watch). In addition, he has appeared in Snowfall (FX) and Prince of Peoria (Netflix) While not on the stage or in front of the camera, Matthew enjoys musical endeavors as Michael Siren. He is a LA Drama Critics Circle, Stage Raw award winner and Ovation Nominee for Hit the Wall (Carson). Matthew holds a BFA from Adelphi University (cum laude). To his incredibly supportive Family, Thank you. Follow Matthew on Instagram: @imatthewhancock.
Clarissa Thibeaux is an LA based actor/writer/producer working in television, film, theater, and new media. You can catch Thibeaux in Marvel’s Runaways as Xavin on Hulu. Previously, you may have seen Thibeaux in Echo Theatre Company’s production of The Found Dog Ribbon Dance as Trista, or in the horror films Flight 666, and Ice Sharks. She graduated with her B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University. Thibeaux currently resides in West Hollywood, CA enjoying every opportunity that comes her way.
Cost of Living tells two parallel, relationship-driven stories. John hires a caretaker, Jess, and the pair chip away at their judgmental personalities, slowly becoming friends; and Eddie looks to reconcile with his wife, Ani, after a prolonged period of separation. John has cerebral palsy (CP), a condition caused by abnormal brain development that is characterized by impairment or loss of motor function. Ani, because of a car accident, is a quadriplegic, meaning that all four of her limbs are paralyzed, although Majok’s script notes that “some of the fingers of one hand are partially functioning.”
Katy Sullivan in “Cost of Living”, Manhattan Theatre Club.
Actress Katy Sullivan, who played Ani at MTC to great acclaim, is a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, a disability different from the character Ani’s quadriplegia. Sullivan will return to the role of Ani for the Fountain Theatre West Coast Premiere. Actor Tobias Forrest, a quadriplegic, plays John. Jess and Eddie are able-bodied characters played by Xochitl Romero and Maurice G. Smith.
The following conversation is an excerpt from a January 2018 interview with Majok conducted by Melissa Rodman, a Harvard College senior who wrote her thesis on staging disability in 21st-century American theater. Majok discussed how Cost of Living uses humor and sexuality to paint a picture of four messy, contradictory, funny, and flawed people, destabilizing assumptions about disability.
Melissa Rodman (MR): I was wondering if we could start off talking about Cost of Living and where the inspiration for the play came from, particularly the disabled characters.
Martyna Majok (MM): It started with a monologue. I was struggling economically. I always kind of have. I grew up with very little money, so for me, all the plays are about class. Cost of Living was about class; queens is about class. All these plays are in conversation with class, but America is so focused on identity. That is their lens through which they see just about every play. I don’t know if it’s the same for literature and things like that, but I think particularly for plays where you really have the bodies on stage.
So they said, “Oh, you wrote a play about disabled people or about disability.” I thought, “Well, no, it’s a play about class and loneliness, and it also happens to be told with two disabled bodies.”
So I had that monologue. I didn’t know what to do with it. What am I going to do with this 10-minute play? And, a few months later, I was asked for the 10-minute play festival to write about jobs. And so I thought about my most memorable job, and it was working with a man with CP, while I was in Chicago.
I went to the University of Chicago as an undergrad, and when I graduated, I ended up working for a graduate student at the same university. And so I wrote about that—I mean, I didn’t fall in love with him [laughs]—but I felt like this is a world that most people will not know about. And so, I went with that, and when we presented it, it was a really fascinating experience for me.
My play starts, and it’s just this woman standing onstage, speaking to someone offstage. And as soon as the character John enters in a wheelchair, everybody got so quiet. You felt them feel nervous. And it was so palpable to me. I didn’t know what it was. Were they nervous that I was about to make fun of a disabled character? Were they nervous at just the image of a disabled body?
Tobias Forrest co-stars as John at the Fountain Theatre
I have a friend who says that disability is like a walking reminder of mortality, that when somebody looks at a disabled body, they’re thinking about the fallibility of their own body and death. I’m thinking about that, and I didn’t know, and I thought, “Oh god, my play’s gonna tank.”
And as soon as John has the first joke, the audience was like, “Okay, okay. We can laugh.” But it was like they were still kind of feeling it out. But because he had the control in the scene, and he had the jokes, and he was in charge, people felt comfortable.
And they could laugh and kind of grow with the people. So I thought, “This is fascinating. I have to make a play that put two disabled bodies onstage.”
The stories about disabled characters that I had seen tended to be one of two kinds: one was the “Oh he’s gonna run the marathon,” that sort of an inspirational story, where disabled characters just are such saints that they almost aren’t actual people. So there’s a distance already there.
And the other is the dying-with-dignity narrative, which I think is very dangerous. It makes it seem like there’s only two options. You either have to be an inspirational amazing-genius-achievement person, or you must want to kill yourself. I wanted to make sure that I countered that and offered another narrative, and also for them to have humor and sexuality.
MR: I noticed while reading the play that the stage directions and descriptions of the real physical interactions between the characters really come across. I was wondering how your experiences informed your scripting the play?
MM: There are so many things, like how do you shift your weight to be able to accommodate a body being moved from a wheelchair? There are so many specific things, that I would just walk the actors through it. I can’t imagine writing that or trying to figure that out without having experienced it.
The first time I went in, and kind of got trained—I think it was my first day—and the guy, who I was working for with CP was clearly so used to training people how to help him, and so he walked me through it. And so onstage, I walked them through it.
And then for the quadriplegic character, Ani, I had to do more research on my own.
I never wanted to rely on an actor doing my dramaturgy, so I researched as much as I could with that, and talked to people. The two were kind of a combination of past experience and research outside.
MR: That makes sense. I’m thinking more about the playwright’s notes at the beginning, which are very extensive. What was going through your mind when saying Ani and John have to be disabled people playing these characters?
MM: I mean, it’s funny. It became such a big thing. I had just written it thinking, “Well, of course. Like, of course. Did you guys ever think that you had to cast it differently?”
It blew my mind, but then of course I remembered celebrities like Eddie Redmayne and Sam Claflin, the Me Before You actor, played disabled people.
MR: The Jake Gyllenhaals.
MM: Jake Gyllenhaal. People will look at plays and think, ‘Well, at one point he walked, so we have to cast a celebrity and CGI [computer-generated imagery] his legs.
You could CGI the legs onto someone with a disability, if you would like to, to be able to actually give these people opportunities to represent themselves onstage in their own stories. But I think a lot of people will cop out in that way, because it’s economic, like you’re saying.
It’s a risk to cast an unknown actor, disabled or able-bodied. And I understand that, but also if you continue to not let disabled actors play disabled characters—or any character, to be honest—then they’re not going to get the exposure and the experience to then become the Jake Gyllenhaal. R. J. Mitte from Breaking Bad, he’s now an offer-only actor. He’s somebody who was cast in Breaking Bad, who has CP, and now he’s a name. Now more opportunities are open to him, and people consider him for larger roles.
Because it’s not my identity, because I’m not a disabled person, I felt like it would not have been right if I had also taken—not just the identity I wasn’t—but to have it told with people for whom that it’s not their identity.
I think people have been using the excuse, “We just don’t know any disabled actors.” We did a lot of casting. I knew Gregg, who played John at MTC, from like six years before I wrote the play. I didn’t write it for him, but after I had written it, I thought, “Oh, I know somebody who can do this.”
For Ani, it was not difficult to find a disabled actor, it just was difficult to find the right actor, in the way that it is for any role. The most difficult thing was finding somebody who could be brash and have humor and be believably working class, and that was harder than it was to find a disabled actor.
MR: And when you had this team, what did you think about, in terms of actually staging the disability with these four bodies that were assembled? Did things change from script to stage? And then, of course, there are the two iterations, at Williamstown and at MTC.
MM: It’s interesting, ’cause when you see Katy in a wheelchair, you see that she doesn’t have legs and doesn’t have knees. Sullivan was born without knees and legs. So people kept calling the character she played, Ani, a double amputee.
There’s all these things on the Internet, “The play’s about a double-amputee.” I’ve tried so painstakingly to specify the character Ani is a quadriplegic, not a double-amputee. But they’re gonna see what they’re gonna see. From the Williamstown production to the MTC production, the rewrites that I made in between were clarifying exactly what the disability is.
I can say, ‘cerebral palsy,’ and people who don’t know anybody with cerebral palsy might not know exactly what that means. Some people think it’s like an accident versus neurological birth disability. And so, I decided, “Okay, I’m meeting the audience where we’re at.”
I want everyone to come in with a common knowledge. I want them all to feel safely taken care of, and that they’re all on the same knowledge plane. So I think I assumed more people would know more than they did about CP and would listen to more of the language versus see Katy and assume she’s in a wheelchair because she’s a double amputee.
Most of the rewrites were actually about the Jess character. The rewrites tended to be me having to explain how somebody who went to Princeton could end up sleeping in their car. ’Cause this was unbelievable to an audience. [laughs] And so I had to put in clues about how things broke in her life along the way, that she would end up being there.
At one point when I was working on the one for Williamstown, I asked Gregg to describe to me what his body felt like to him, and then asked his permission if I could use some of that language. And so that’s the part [in the play] where he’s talking about his body.
He walked me through what it would feel like to kind of walk, for him specifically, because he went through a lot of dance—physical dance—training, and things like that that enabled more mobility than for somebody who didn’t go through that kind of training. And so he walked me through what the body feels, and I thought that was interesting and important, ’cause I also didn’t know what it feels, literally what it feels like, and we’re talking about bodies. And so, in that sense, that was a really great collaboration.
And, I mean, the stages were different. Williamstown has a raised proscenium, so at one point they just realized, because the actors are in motorized wheelchairs, if they go out of control, they’re going to end up in the audience. [laughs]
You do have to kind of change things a little bit, but it’s fine. There’s ways, you know, it’s just part of it.
MR: You mentioned different kinds of audience perceptions of all of the characters. Can you talk a bit more about the audience response and how that factored into some of the staging choices?
MM: I think most of them had to do with responses to class, I guess.
There was an interesting experience Gregg had after a show.
Katy comes out, and she has her prosthetic legs on, and she doesn’t enter in the [prop] wheelchair. And Gregg enters walking, also without his prop wheelchair.
There was somebody who came up to him after the show, and said, “I’m so glad that you’re not actually disabled. Oh my God! Thank God!” And he told them he actually is disabled, that he does have CP. But this response of “Thank God! Thank God it was just pretend!” That was really interesting.
I was at some of the talkbacks, and I think people were surprised at the humor. They were expecting a certain kind of story.
With the last three plays I’ve done, which all have serious capital letters—they’re about poverty and immigration and disability—people are assuming that that’s gonna be a sad story [laughs], or it’s just gonna be a super serious story. I’ve learned to train audiences early on that they can and should laugh.
So I front-load a lot of jokes that I usually give to the person that is the “other,” that’s gonna be perceived as the “other,” so that they’re the ones who are in control of the humor and driving it, and the audiences connect with that person.
MR: Are there any other things that you wanted audiences to take away from the characters?
MM: I think the one about suicide or the idea of giving up never came into the conversation. Sexuality was a big one. I wanted to have sexy scenes and have a person taking agency with their own sexuality and pleasure. Hopefully, it’s like a widened lens that somebody has about another person’s life. It’s a wider empathy that they have.
I have a lot of friends who are disabled. I have a huge group of playwriting friends, but part of that group is people with disability. And so they will tell me about people assuming pity for them, and that gaze, that was something I did not want at all present in it.
People will say, “Oh, you poor thing,” or “That must be so hard,” and they’re assuming that they’re suffering daily and every minute and are thinking about their disability all the time. And I wanted to add more in the lives of these characters than just that.
Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. West Coast Premiere at the Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles.
STORYLINE: Achingly human and surprisingly funny, Cost of Living is a haunting, rigorously unsentimental play about the forces that bring people together and the realities of facing the world with physical disabilities. Unemployed truck driver Eddie is struggling to rebuild a relationship with his estranged wife Ani, recently wheelchair-bound with a spinal cord injury. Jess, in a job that she desperately needs, is trying to navigate her duties with John, her new boss with cerebral palsy. But, who is really caring for whom? By shattering stereotypes, the play reveals how deeply we all need each other.
SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY TO: Stephen Sachs firstname.lastname@example.org Submission Deadline: 08/24/2018
Producer/Theatre Company: Stephen Sachs, Fountain Theatre Director: John Vreeke Writer: Martyna Majok
[EDDIE]40 to 50 years old, Black/African American male. Ani’s ex-husband; an unemployed truck driver who doesn’t allow himself the luxury of self-pity; funny, engaging and playful; kind, would have made a great uncle for someone; working class, rough around the edges. Seeking actors of color for this role.
[ANI]Seeking an actress who is a wheelchair user or with mobility disability for this role.35 to 45 years old, open ethnicity, female. Eddie’s ex-wife; working class from North Jersey; she has a spinal cord injury because of a recent car accident and now uses a wheelchair; quadriplegic, though has some function in one hand; intense and brusque; hilariously foulmouthed, it’s her way or the highway, and she won’t hesitate to tell you so; a strong sense of self; dry sense of humor. This role requires partial nudity.
[JESS]25 to 30 years old, ethnicity open, female. John’s new caregiver; down-to-earth, working class; first-generation from an immigrant family; went to Princeton but has fallen on hard times. Overworked, under- qualified, and nearly homeless, she has a lot of potential but is working three jobs and still living paycheck-to-paycheck; a tough cookie, skittish, perhaps a bit too quick to defend herself. Seeking actors of color for this role.
[JOHN]Seeking a disabled actor for this role. 25 to 30 years old, male. A good-looking and very intelligent doctoral student; has cerebral palsy; uses a wheelchair and requires the assistance of a part-time caregiver. A rich grad student at Princeton, has the confidence and polish of a guy who comes from money; quick witted with a blunt sense of humor; he has a slight speech impediment due to the tension of his cerebral palsy. This role requires nudity.
SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY TO: Stephen Sachs email@example.com
The Fountain Theatre is now accepting submissions from hearing actors for the world premiere of Arrival & Departure, a funny and poignant new play written and directed by Stephen Sachs that will blend American Sign Language and spoken English.
Two lead roles have been cast. Deaf actress Deanne Bray (TV’s “Sue Thomas”) will play Emily, and acclaimed Deaf actor Troy Kotsur (Cyrano, Big River) is Sam. Bray and Kotsur are real-life husband and wife, and will co-star on stage for the first time.
Set in New York City, Arrival & Departure is a re-imagined modern-day Deaf/hearing stage adaptation of the classic 1945 British film, Brief Encounter. In Sachs’ new spin, a Deaf man and a hard-of-hearing woman, married to different people, meet accidentally in a NY city subway station. A friendship develops over time, escalating into a passionate love affair that both deny themselves to consummate. An unforgettable love story inspired by one of the most beloved romantic movies of all time. A fast-moving innovative new production blending sign language, spoken English, open captioning and cinematic video imagery.
Now casting the following roles for hearing actors:
RUSSELL – 25 – 35, African American, a uniformed MTA security officer working the NY subway system. Big-hearted, open spirited, warm and friendly, a guy you instantly like. Hopelessly romantic and in love with Myra, the counter girl at the Dunkin’ Donuts shop in the train station.
MYRA – 20 – 30, Puerto Rican, works at the Dunkin’ Donuts shop in the subway station. Sassy, tough, funny, a straight-talker. A hard-edged survivor. She protects her oft-broken heart by not trusting Russell’s romantic advances, finally allowing herself to be loved.
JULE – 13, daughter of Emily (hard of hearing) and Doug. Caught n the explosive transition between girl and woman, Jule is fiery, emotionally high-strung, sarcastic and fiercely insecure. Sensing her parents’ marriage may be failing, she fights wildly with her mother, pushing her buttons, yet aching only to be loved, feel safe and belong.
DOUG – 45 – 55. A hardworking, well-meaning Christian man who still can’t figure out the track his own life has taken. A handsome husband and father, Doug loves his wife and daughter, pushing to keep things as they are, yet trying to understand why his home life is changing. Married quickly and unexpectedly to a hard of hearing woman, Doug struggles to overcome his own hidden prejudices as he fights to save his family.
COMMUTER 1 – 35 – 45, versatile ensemble member to play various roles. Voice actor to character of deaf film teacher Sam (lead), College Clerk, university teacher Jeff, ensemble. Familiarity with sign language a plus but not necessary.
COMMUTER 2 – 35 – 45, versatile ensemble member to play various roles. Voice actress to character of hard of hearing Emily (lead), church friend Marjorie, ensemble. Familiarity with sign language a plus but not necessary.
Auditions: May 14 – 24 First rehearsal: Mon, June 4, 2018 Opens: July 14, 2018 Ends: September 30, 2018
Contract: AEA Los Angeles 99-Seat Agreement
Pay: $10.50/$12.00 per hour for rehearsals/performances.
Email headshot and resume: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or mail to:
Stephen Sachs Fountain Theatre 5060 Fountain Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90029
The Fountain Theatre is now casting the following role for its upcoming world premiere production of Runaway Home by Jeremy J. Kamps, directed by Shirley Finney.
[ARMANDO] 35 to 45 years old, Mexican male. Owns and runs the small local store in the Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans. Has two daughters in Mexico. Guarded, vulnerable, empathetic, longing, wistful, independent, self-sufficient, courageous, inner-turmoil, soft but with a temper. He offers Kali a job in his store, trying to help the young runaway girl, which leads to a harrowing but hopeful end.
STORYLINE: Set in New Orleans, Lower 9th Ward, three years after Hurricane Katrina. In this funny and deeply moving story, 14 year-old Kali embarks on a journey. Rhyming, stealing, and scamming her way through her still-destroyed neighborhood, engaging the lively folk who remain and running from her worried mother, Kali picks through the wreckage of what used to be her life and is forced to confront the cost of moving forward and embrace the loving power of family.
Rehearsals start August 7th. The production opens September 16th and runs to November 5th. The Fountain Theatre operates under the new AEA 99 Seat Agreement.
The Fountain Theatre is now casting a 3-week development workshop for Freddie, a new project by Deborah Lawlor that combines theatre, dance and music to tell the unforgettable true story of a legendary dancer.
STORYLINE: Based on a true story. Greenwich Village, 1964. Freddie Herko was a brilliant 28 year-old ballet dancer of extraordinary charisma and talent haunted by dark self-destructive demons. A fiery denizen of Andy Warhol’s Factory, Herko became more eccentric, unpredictable and self-destructive. While dancing in his NY apartment to Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Herko leapt out the window and fell to his death five stories down. The project “Freddie” chronicles the friendship between Freddie and Shelley, the naive young woman caught under his spell who desires to be a dancer. By fusing theatre, music, dance and video, the project will capture the explosive spirit of a passionate artist and a turbulent era.
Director: Frances Loy Writer: Deborah Lawlor Producer: Stephen Sachs Co-Producer: Simon Levy Associate Producer: James Bennett Casting Director: Frances Loy
Dates: 3-week rehearsal period in October, culminating in 3 public performances. Exact dates to be determined based on artist availability.
SPECIAL NOTE: This is a 3-week developmental workshop of a new theatre piece combining theatre, dance/movement and music. To explore and discover how the text intertwines with dance/movement. It will culminate in 3 public performances. This project is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Roles: [FREDDIE] 20 to 30 years old, male. Charismatic, dynamic, tortured soul. Must have strong training and experience in classical ballet. [SHELLEY] 20 to 25 years old, female. Naive, innocent, excitable, light quality. Must have strong training and experience in classical ballet. [GLORIA/DIANE DI PRIMA/MARGARET/BABY JANE] 30 to 50 years old, female. Seeking versatile actress to play multiple roles. Grounded, motherly quality. Flirtatious and exuberant. Must have some training in classical ballet. [TINA/ONDINE] 30 to 40 years old, female. Darkly mystical and mysterious. Must have some training in classical ballet. [ANDY/JOHNNIE/GEORGE/EDDIE] 20 to 40 years old, male. Seeking versatile actor to play multiple roles, including aloof to friendly to intimidating to gregarious. Must have some training inn classical ballet. [BILLY/RALPH/SERGIO] 20 to 40 years old, male. Seeking versatile actor to play multiple roles, including gregarious Italian and down-to-earth dependable. [JIMMY WARING/ROTTEN RITA] 40 to 50 years old, male. Two roles: sober, sage “mentor” type plus lightly effeminate with strong comedy skills. [PETE/ONDINE/ARTHUR] 30 to 40 years old, male. Seeking versatile actor to play multiple roles: from opera nut who holds forth to straight, strong and dependable husband of Shelley.
The Fountain Theatre is now casting the West Coast Premiere of a new stage adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll, adapted by Pierre LaVille and Emily Mann from Williams’ screenplay. Not yet seen in Los Angeles, Baby Doll premiered at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, 2015. The upcoming Fountain production will open July 16, directed by Simon Levy.
Producers – Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor Director – Simon Levy Stage Adaptation – Pierre LaVille and Emily Mann, based on Tennessee Williams’ screenplay Casting – James Bennett Previews 7/13-7/15 Opens: 7/16 Runs: Friday-Monday thru 8/28 Casting Director: James Bennett Interview Dates: April 18-20, 2016 Callback Dates: April 23, 2016 Start Date: May 30, 2016 Pay Rate: AEA 99-Seat Code, $200 rehearsal stipend, plus $25.00/performance
STORY: 1950s, Mississippi. Dilapidated plantation mansion. Comedy/Drama. 19-year-old married virgin, “Baby Doll” Meighan, must consummate her marriage the next day on her 20th birthday, as long as her middle-aged husband, Archie Lee Meighan, upholds his end of the bargain: to provide her with a comfortable life. But Archie Lee is having a lot of problems, with his finances, his wife, and his cotton gin business. After Archie Lee spitefully burns down his neighbor’s gin to save his failing business, his rival, Silva Vacarro, arrives to seek revenge. There he meets Baby Doll, who becomes instrumental in his erotic form of Sicilian revenge. What ensues is a complex mix of desire and desperation, with Baby Doll as both player and pawn. Williams’ unconventional depiction of gender roles, adultery, and female sexuality is as steamy today as it was in the 1950s.
[“BABY DOLL” MEIGHAN]– LEAD – female,open ethnicity, able to play 19; Southern; wife of Archie Lee; she’s a fascinating contradiction: childlike; still sleeps in a crib; innately sexy and seductive, but still a virgin; charismatic; turns heads wherever she goes; naïve but also coy; uneducated but smarter than she seems.
[ARCHIE LEE MEIGHAN]– LEAD – male, ethnicity, 40s-50s; Southern; owner of failing cotton gin; unshaven, dirty; often comically baffled by Baby Doll and life in general; easily overwhelmed; a closet alcoholic, which can make him abusive; a product of deep-seated Southern prejudices; desperate to be a success and impress Baby Doll and consummate the marriage.
[SILVA VACARRO] – LEAD – male, ethnicity, 30s; Sicilian immigrant who’s lived in the South for a while; successful owner of rival cotton gin; dark, the “foreigner”; attractive, sexy; enjoys toying with Baby Doll and Archie Lee; he doesn’t like to lose.
The Fountain Theatre is now casting and holding auditions for the world premiere of Dream Catcher by Stephen Sachs, directed by Cameron Watson. The new play will open January 23rd, launching the Fountain’s 2016 season.
Inspired by a true event. Solar power confronts spirit power in this new drama about climate change, cultural change and the moral consequences of personal choice. Roy is the youngest member on a team of high-level engineers brought in to launch the most important project of his young career: the construction of a solar energy plant in the middle of the Mojave desert. But Roy suddenly finds himself thrust into the center of a crisis when the discovery of long-buried Native American artifacts threaten to bring the billion-dollar operation to a halt. The disaster gets deeply personal when the whistle-blower turns out to be Opal, the fiery and unpredictable young Mojave Indian woman with whom Roy has been having an affair. SEEKING:
Female, 20’s, Mojave Indian. Tough, edgy, bold, sensual, fiery “Rez chick”. Passionate, wild, unpredictable, powerful, foul-mouthed, speaks her mind. Under-educated but world-wise, smarter than she looks. Burns for love and a better life but feels unworthy of both. A fighter, a survivor, she suddenly finds herself thrust into a turning point that could change her life path. Seeking a strong, skilled powerful Native American stage actress with a very wide range and a deep emotional well.
Male, 30’s, solar power engineer. Clean-cut, nice-looking, WASP New Englander. Well educated, articulate, logical, science-minded. Aches with ambition and the need to be seen and approved by his colleagues. The Genesis power plant is his life-or-death opportunity to make a name for himself. His driving ambition blinds him to the painful truth about himself. His fierce desire for success hides a sad, inner loneliness. Seeking a strong, skilled powerful stage actor with a very wide range and a deep emotional well.
Auditions start December 2nd, 2015
Rehearsals start on/about December 14, 2015
Previews January 16 – 22, 2016
Opens January 23 – March 14, 2016
CONTRACT/RATE: AEA 99-Seat Transitional, $25 per performance plus $200 rehearsal stipend. Non-union permitted.
Submit headshot & resume to: email@example.com
Multiple award-winner Stephen Sachs is the author of twelve plays including such Fountain productions as Citizen: An American Lyric (adaptor), Bakersfield Mist, Cyrano, Heart Song, Miss Julie: Freedom Summer, Sweet Nothing in my Ear and Central Avenue.
Heralded by The Los Angeles Times as “one of our finest contemporary directors,” Cameron Watsonhas earned critical acclaim for recently directing Picnic and Top Girls at Antaeus Theatre Company, Cock at Rogue Machine Theatre, and Trying at The Colony Theatre starring Alan Mandell.
Heather Wolf at the casting table for ‘I And You’ at the Fountain Theatre.
What I Learned Watching Other Actors Audition
by Heather Wolf
Ready? Show of hands: How many actors have ever wished to be the proverbial fly on the wall at an audition? Well, volunteering to be an audition reader may just contribute to that most integral tool in an actor’s arsenal: keeping your sanity.
I was given the opportunity to sit on the other side of the casting table during the Fountain Theatre’s casting of I and You, directed by Robin Larsen. It really was an invaluable experience. In preparation for the actor’s life (read constant, unavoidable rejection), there are countless articles, books and instructors all trying to drill in to our sensitive, artist brains that it is not personal. Well, let me add my voice to the throng: It is NOT PERSONAL.
How can I say such a thing? Knowing that it is, quite literally, your life? I know what makes it such a personal and consuming experience for an actor. But across that table, it really is nothing personal. In a good way. Guess what? While you walk out the door obsessing over every moment from your audition, your pic & res is already in the “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe” pile and probably not for the reasons you think.
You may have been the production team’s favorite actor and won’t even get a callback because of [insert-character- stat-here]. How is that fair? How is this supposed to help with the whole staying sane thing? What you keep hearing is true: all you can be is you, all you can control is your work, let the rest go. I am a witness.
More good news: everyone staring at you from across that casting table is on your side. They want you to be great as much as you do. They understand the courage it takes just to walk through that door. When they smile and welcome you and try to put you at ease, it is genuine. So breathe, try and calm those pesky nerves and remember why all those people are there. Putting actors first is the modus operandi of The Fountain Theatre and they actually deliver. Even if you’re just passing through on an audition. After hearing the same lines read over and over, hour after hour, day after day, they are still rooting for you when you walk through that door; hoping that you will be the answer to their casting prayers. It is as difficult for, and means as much to, the people on the other side of the casting table as it does to you.
The audition room at the Fountain Theatre.
As an actor, I intellectually understood these concepts. But experiencing it first-hand from the other side of the casting table is another thing altogether. Every actor should be an audition reader at least once. If offered the opportunity, grab it. It really is a priceless and freeing experience for any actor.
So, here are my ten audition tips taken from the other side of the table:
Relax. They want you to be there. They are on your side. They want every single actor who walks in — including you — to be the answer to their casting prayers.
Be professional. Be prepared. Be on time. Arriving early is on time and on time is late.
Always bring your headshot and resume. Even if you know they already have it. At the end of the day when the headshots are spread across the casting table so they can make their callback choices, you want your lovely face shining up at them from that table reminding them who your are. Not an empty blank white sheet of paper with your name scribbled on it.
Do your work. All you can really control is what you put into your audition. You may be a cold-read ninja and think you can just walk in and nail it. But if you have actually been provided advanced notice with the sides and the script, take that gift! Give yourself every advantage. You’ll need it.
You don’t have to memorize the lines. It impresses no one. I know many actors feel that having their lines memorized is part of doing the work, but that is not what matters most. This from Stephen Sachs, award-winning director and co-founder of The Fountain Theatre: “We really don’t care if the lines are memorized or not. It means nothing to us. What matters is their performance, the freedom of their work. Often, an actor will memorize the lines thinking it will “free” them and enable them to do their best work but then they are concentrating so hard on remembering the words that it completely locks them up. I see it all the time.”
It is okay to make mistakes. Honestly. Skipping a line, having to start over, glancing at your sides, does not impact whether you’re cast or not. Strive for perfection, just don’t be derailed when imperfection strikes. It may be the best part of our day.
Be flexible and directable. Most actors claim they love direction. Listen and process what you are being given. Because if you go back and give the exact same read? Your goose is pretty well cooked. If you need clarification, ask!
The audition room is a “no fly” zone. Walk calmly, don’t fly in and out the door. The second you have said your last line and hear “thank you” doesn’t mean you are required to turn tail and run. Gather your things, say your final “goodbye” or “have a nice day” and exit at a reasonable pace. I promise, you have the time.
Leave it in the room. However you feel you did, leave it in the room. Your job is done. It is out of your control. Just keep on keepin’ on.
Be an audition reader at least once. Volunteer, ask friends, do a show and run your own session, but find a way. The perspective it gives you as an actor, the understanding of the process, knowing first hand what the other side of the table has to deal with and what you can and cannot control, is genuinely priceless. At least it was for me.
The Fountain Theatre is now casting the Los Angeles Premiere of the acclaimed new play, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV by Aaron Posner, adapted from the beloved best-selling novel by Chaim Potok (The Chosen). Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the John Gassner Award. The LA Premiere runs February 15 – April 20, 2014, at the Fountain Theatre, directed by Stephen Sachs.
STORYLINE: Set in post-war Brooklyn, the powerful coming-of-age story of a Jewish boy’s struggle to become an artist against the will of his Orthodox parents, community and tradition. Asher Lev could be the next Picasso. But as the son of devout Hasidic parents who struggle to understand the value of his art, Asher Lev is torn apart. He knows he is commanded to honor his parents, but he must also be true to himself. As we glimpse the pieces of Asher’s painful past, we witness events that climax in his most famous work and the decision that will change his life forever.
[RIVKEH LEV/OTHERS] – 35-45, versatile actress to play multiple roles: RIVKEH, Asher’s mother. A caring, broken woman torn between her husband and her son. Shattered by the sudden death of her brother, she becomes Asher’s tragic muse. ANNA, a gallery owner and talent seeker. RACHEL, a model.
[ARYEH LEV/OTHERS]– 40 – 55, versatile actor to play multiple roles: ARYEH, Asher’s father. A dedicated, well-respected man and stern father. Stubborn, close-minded, he struggles to understand how painting could be important to his son. YITZCHOK, Rivkeh’s warm-hearted, gregarious brother. REBBE, the wise leader of the Hasidic community. JACOB KAHN, a fiery older man and well-known artist, who becomes Asher’s blunt, life-affirming mentor.
[ASHER LEV] 20’s-30 (ages from 12 – 30). Sensitive, intelligent, aware. Wise beyond his years. A highly gifted painter, an observant Jew. Fiercely determined to discover his true self. Seeking strong actor with deep emotional well and stage command, speaks directly to audience.
Auditions: Dec 17 – Dec 20, 1pm – 5pm. By appointment only.
Send pic & resume to: Fountain Theatre, Attn: MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, 5060 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029