Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Total War, a semi-finalist in the 2009 Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition, is a five-act play set at a Catholic university where the student newspaper has published a Holocaust denial advertisement. Before faculty, students, and staff can begin the expected dialogue on free speech and religious pluralism, an anarchist-cell using the nom de guerre of “Total War” begins a campaign of guerrilla art attacks.
This will be the third draft of Total War to be presented at Cambridge’s Outpost 186. The first reading, in April of last year inspired a lone protester to picket the reading from the sidewalk.
The reading will feature the talents of local actors, including: Trudi Goodman, Kate Heffernan, Dan Schneider, Savanah Shaughnessy, Tom Sprague, Kendall Stewart and Matthew Zahnzinger. Anika M. Colvin-Hannibal will stage manage. Three more cast members are to be announced shortly.
Though a work of fiction, Total War was inspired by events I witnessed while attending graduate school. The play explores the history (and potential futures) of Jewish-Catholic relations, historical memory, and the conflict between grass-roots activism and institutional power. It is a story made timely after the recent scandal regarding Vatican’s recent lifting of the excommunication against the anti-Semitic Society of Saint Pius X and its Holocaust-denying Bishop, Richard Williamson.
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Saturday, March 6, 2010
Having taken a harsher view than much of the audience of the draft presented at the last staged reading of Total War, I did yet another rewrite. The new draft runs three pages shorter: Much of the craft of playwriting seems to be learning out to strip away the unessential. Most of the cast has elected to reprise their roles but three roles will be recast.
As this is simply a reading of a work in progress in front of a small audience, there will be no blocking. My concern is not so much the look or age of of the actors but their interest in the story and enthusiasm and insights into the characters. I will be available to answer any questions actors have about the characters prior to the reading. I will schedule read-throughs with any actors not comfortable with a cold reading.
To quote the press release:
Total War is a five-act play that addresses the legacy of anti-Semitism after the student newspaper at a Catholic university publishes a Holocaust denial advertisement. Before faculty, students, and staff can begin the expected dialogue on free speech and religious pluralism, an anarchist-cell using the nom de guerre of “Total War” begins a campaign of guerrilla art attacks.If you are an actor and this sounds interesting, continue reading:
Father Aldobrandini: (Male, early 40s to early 50s.) A priest and university professor. Sees himself as a "traditionalist." Anti-modernist in orientation and argely opposed to the innovations of Vatican II, but his opposition stops just short of becoming a schismatic.
N.B. Martin Comack has been cast as Aldobrandini.
Richard Doncaster: (Male, late 30s to 50s.) Dean of students at a Catholic university. Though a political animal, he has presented modern liberal version of in loco parentis that aims to protect the identity and traditions of the school while also recognizing the increased pluralism of recent years.
Donald Crincoli: (Male, early 20s) Undergraduate who works on the student newspaper. An impulsive and twisted comic vulgarian.
I'm sorry that my budget does not allow for a stipend for the actors, but snacks and beverages will be provided. There will be a talk back session after the reading for the actors and audience to share their observations.
Interested? Drop me a note about the role that interests you. Resumes are helpful but not necessary.