Monday, May 01, 2006


I'm looking for a cast for my May 7th reading at Playwight's Platform. The script is on my web site, it is the first play that appears when you clink on the link to "full length plays". I need to fill 10 male roles (!)-- some can be doubled-- and 4 females, plus a Narrator who in a production would be a strolling musician--- but for this first-draft reading I only hope to hear the dialogue. I'm looking for some people who don't hate such "costume" plays in principle to listen and give me feedback at the reading, and a small army of actors comfortable with period language to read the parts, letting me hear what it sounds like and telling me whether in their opinion the roles are playable.

By G. L. Horton
A dock worker’s family struggles to survive in pre-revolutionary Boston, where the British crown’s need to raise revenue combined with the colonists’ resistance to taxation and to Parliament’s restraint of trade has escalated discontent to near rebellion.
The resultant economic collapse turns neighbor against neighbor as individually and collectively they try to find a path to prosperity. The Caldwells side with the rebels, mainly because smuggling is the only job available for the males. However, the the family’s food and lodging depends on its women, who work in Caleb’s tavern. The tavernkeeper is convinced that hostility to the British is bad for business.
Jonny, an Irish soldier in the Redcoat army who has seen what the British government has done in his own country, is inclined to be sympathetic to the colonials, but he is pessimistic about their chances of winning concessions from King George. Jonny is attracted to Caldwell’s niece Mary, a bar maid in Caleb’s tavern, and she returns his interest, but neither has the resources or the freedom to consider marriage. Mary’s cousin Luke finds Jonny a charming fellow too, and tries to convince the soldier that he can successfully desert and join the colonist’s cause. War looms-- all who have even a degree of freedom must choose a side and take their chances.
James MATThew Caldwell, 38, dock laborer
SARAH, 33, his wife
James MARK Caldwell, 16, his son
LUKE, 14, younger son
SERENA, 12, daughter
MARY Walters, 22, Sarah's niece
CALEB Knowlton, 45, tavern keeper
PATrick Carr, 25
Granny FEN, 60
SGT Packer, 50
REV. Dillon, 50
Some of these roles can be doubled.
If it makes sense to say something about the play's history, here it is:
Decades back, can't remember the year but the Platform was renting the space on Charles St then, Ellen Stewart -- LaMamma herself-- came to the Platform and did a writing workshop. She asigned an arbitrary subject: the Boston Massacre; and some arbitrary elements -- I forget exactly what-- and maybe a dozen or 15 of us got to work. I did some historical research-- most people, considering the time constraints, went mythic or expressionist. We narrowed down to a few who were serious, and La Mamma put out feelers to fund development and production(s) in a subsequent session. Never happened. I threw the scenes that I'd printed out and heard read during the "semester" into a drawer, and the rest of the 1st draft was on my primitive computer's back up disks-- Trash 80? Osborne? Whatever---. When I went looking for the script a couple of years ago I had an incomplete mess, much of it in an unreadable antique wp program-- Peachtree? Heaven knows-- . But I had 5 or 6 scenes of hard copy and I could guess at about every 3rd or 4th word of the garbage files my text translator produced from my old text files. In late 2004 I went back for more research, and in early 2005 I wrote a new 1st draft, hoping to hear the play read at either the Platform or the ICWP retreat at Ohio State U in the summer of 05. OSU just hadn't enough actors to do a reading: we had ONE male, age 60, and my play is full of young men spoiling for a fight! The man and 6 women tried valiantly to do multiple characterizations and let me hear the first few scenes, but after a while got so confused about who was playing what that we just dissolved in giggles and gave up.
What I hope to discover from the reading is whether the basic plot and theme are interesting enough for me to continue to work on-- possibly hoping for colleges or Historical Re-enactors to do it some day, since big costume plays are economically out of the question in theatres.


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