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 30s (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.
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.
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