Auditions are set for Cherry Docs the Williams Lake Studio Theatre’s final play for the 2018-2019 season.
Long-time theatre member Merla Monroe will be directing Cherry Docs and said she’s been involved with drama practically all her life. This production will be her first time directing in Williams Lake, though she’s directed several for other theatre troops she’s been a part of.
Cherry Docs will be the Studio Theatre’s festival play this year and from the plot description Monroe gave, it’s easy to see why. This dialogue-driven two-man play deals with the heavy subjects of racism, justice and morality.
The plot is centred on a young skinhead who uses his steel-toed boots to kill a South Asian Shopkeeper and is awaiting his preliminary hearing for the murder. The court assigns him a lawyer and when he arrives he turns out to be a middle-aged Jewish man.
“There’s the conflict right there,” Monroe laughed, “The play is just the two men the whole play, it takes place before and after the preliminary hearing before the sentencing. Because the skinhead is guilty, he admits he’s guilty but it’s not black and white, good versus evil.”
Much of the play is about the two discussing their radically conflicting ideologies and Monroe said that it makes the audience examine their own prejudices they might hold.
She picked it after watching the cinematic version, Steel Toes, due to its focus on the interaction between the two main characters and said: “This would make a great play.” Upon watching the credits, she saw that it was indeed based off of a play and asked the Studio Theatre Society to order a copy of the script.
“As I read it I realized I was holding my breath, it just grabbed me. I read it again right away and it grabbed me again, it was the same,” Monroe declared.
Rather than suggest it right away, however, she held onto it for about four years and kept it in her back pocket. While and its subject matter continued to grip Monroe’s attention, it had been a while since she directed a play and she hesitated to make the leap.
Once she did last year, however, she found that the Theatre immediately railed around her with volunteers to stage manage, run lights and produce alongside her.
As this year’s festival play Cherry Docs will go onto compete in Theatre BC’s Zone Festivals, which are separated into 10 zones. If Cherry Docs wins at its zone, the play will then go on to finals on Vancouver Island as well as other festival circuits.
“It’s a big commitment for anybody who decides they’d like to come out and audition and work backstage, it’s a big commitment,” Monroe said. “Our auditions are in January and we’ll be working right through until the festival in May.”
Auditions will be held Jan. 8 at Kornak & Hamm’s Pharmacy building downtown by Paradise Cinema and Jan. 9 at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre both at 7 p.m.
Monroe is looking for two men, one young in his late teens to the early twenties or a young looking 30-year-old willing to shave his head. For the character of the lawyer, she said she’s looking for anyone between the ages of 35 to 65.
While making her selection at auditions Monroe said, especially for this two-man play, she’ll be really looking for chemistry between auditioning actors as well as physical traits, like the apparent youth for the Skinhead character. Those with some acting or speech delivering experience may also have an easier time auditioning, as large parts of the play are based around monologues.
“This is a community theatre so we want anybody who wants to come out to try out, everybody’s welcome for both auditioning for a part and working backstage,” Monroe said. “They might find a talent they didn’t know they have.”
The play will run at the Studio Theatre from May 8 to 11 and May 15 to 18 with a final show on May 22 before heading to the festival. Initial Zone competitions will take place from May 23 to 26 in Kersley, with more to come depending on how it fares.
“I think most people who end up seeing this play will leave feeling a bit uncomfortable but have lots to talk about,” Monroe said. “I think people should come with someone else so they can talk about it afterwards. It’s not the same old good versus evil, it’s so much more than that.”