Monday, November 17, 2008

Up to the read thru

The first reading of the full length script of PIG TALE was in the Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwright Project for TOSOS on June 22, 2008. Chesley/Chambers is our monthly play reading series where we read a play for an audience and then all go out to dinner afterwards. It's a great casual way to hear plays (which I think is more effective than reading them b/c they're written to ne heard) and for us to get together as a company and catch up/ network etc. Many of the plays we've read at CH/CH move on to full production if not by us by other companies. That's not the intent of the Project but it's an added bonus.
The reading of this draft of PIG TALE was a big success. We had a terrific turn out. Not only did the play really come across but Wings Theater had representatives in the audience which facilitated talks on partnering for a production. Ray Klausen, who's doing our set, was in attendance and Chris' mentor and friend of TOSOS, Tina Howe was there.
(in the pic above, we're all eating cupcakes b/c it was also my birthday, l to r. Moe Betran, me, Jamie Heinlein who read stage directions, back row l to r, Kevin Held, Chris, Steven Fales and Jessie May.)

Once it was agreed that PIG TALE was actually going to happend, (gulp!) we set about putting a cast together. We had a terrific cast for the reading, but they weren't all avialable for a December/January run. Company member Kevin Held currently lives in Los Angeles and our new friend Steven Fales is also in LA about to open his new one-man show MISSIONARY POSITION. Jesse May had read from PIG TALE several times when it was in development at Hunter. He's so great in the role of Dave (who becomes the pig) we needed to cast him right away. Moe Bertran (who I've been lucky enough to work with before) came aboard for the reading and was absolutely terrific. We thought it'd be wise to sign him up too. This left two roles open: KYLE, JOHNNY's stoner, sex-fiend best bud who happens to have a Masters in Compartive Folk Lore and JOHNNY...the lead!
We had an all day EPA and another day of appointments and call backs. We saw so many talented actors and were made absolutely miserable be the limitless casting combinations. I'm always amazed at how many amazing actors there are in this city. And we were only looking to cast two roles! If were looking for all 4 parts we probably would still be around that table matching headshots to headshots and banging our heads against the wall.

In the end, we wound up casting Patrick Porter as JOHNNY and Tim Dietrichs as KYLE. They are both really great!!!!

Chris had been working on the script in the interim and on November 8th we had our first readthru at Hunter College. In photo on the right that's (l to r) Tim as Kyle, Jesse as Dave, Patrick as J0hnny and Moe as Mama.

On the left is (l to r) Chris, Tracy Calhoun (our press rep) and me--sweating and looking to my chair for support. 1st read thru always make me nervous--as you can tell from my shirt--b/c you don't really know everyone and you want everything to be perfect. We started a little late. Traffic in the city was murder and the trains were very screwed up. It's never rained in New York City before so the MTA was completely at a loss! Actually, this kind of relaxed everyone and we got a solid read thru done, everyone met everyone else and we were able to get some photos taken and get ready for our blocking rehearsals. More later...

1 comment:

Patrick Porter said...


I was the one who was like REALLY LATE! So I'm glad that Mark thinks this was a relaxed read-thru!! I had spent half an hour on the E train between 14th and 34th street, followed by a brisk walk from 8th/34th to 7th/34 to wait on a nonexistent 1 Train then another brisk walk to 5th Ave to catch a Cab uptown to Hunter College and tried every wrong building until finally I got to rehearsal - aggravated, po'd and embarassed because I'd held everyone up! Lookin at this pic I'm pretty sure I'm staring at an unsuspecting Jesse thinking, "can I make out with this dude?...well...the least I can do is try to 'get through it'" ;-) oh the torture of working with beautiful people!!

It went well and we were off...