I'd like to introduce the cast of The Lying Kind. They are a small, highly organized gang of seven, and both in their sum total and individual parts they tell you quite a bit about what kind of theatre we are at the present time, and perhaps something about theatre itself these days. And, so, in order of appearance, a drum roll please:
MICHAEL KANE (Blunt) and DYLAN MOSLEY (Gobbel). I speak of them together, because they are together from the moment the play begins until the very end, each leaving the stage only briefly--one to find the toilet, the other to quiet a small dog and retrieve a fainting girl. They play a pair of constables, a team very much like Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello, a team of opposites with their roots in vaudeville, a pair of idiots who are just too nice to get their job done properly. I cast them exactly against their real life types and previous stage histories. Michael is the tall skinny goofy one who should (and could) be playing Gobbel, the junior partner, the timid and delicate one. Dylan in real life is a member of the Special Forces with three tours of Iraq behind him and the sort of guy you'd feel good about having your back--he should be playing Blunt, the tough take charge cop.Instead they are cast the other way. On a whim, I asked them to flip roles while reading in auditions, and lo, wonders ensued. Goofy Michael turned out to have a knack for bluster and pomposity. he says people say he looks like Paul Giamatti, but my wife thinks he looks more like a Victorian painter --a very serious and substantial British type. Dylan reading Gobbel suddenly got as sweet and soft as sponge cake--so he's Gobbel. Both possess the two essential requirements for playing idiots in farce: exceptional intelligence and physical agility. Dylan can and does haul a 250 pound man all over the stage; Michael does a sofa flip you'll have to see to believe. Both of them are very smart --- they know how to shape their idiocy to perfection, as a real idiot would not. I am working with both these actors for the very first time, and they have never been on stage together. But with the help of their instincts, natural good will and lots of practice, they have become a team--the ski bum and the guy with confirmed kills. They are a naturally odd and beautiful couple.
ALYSABETH CLEMENTS MOSLEY (Gronya) is no stranger to THEATREWORKS. She was a wonderful Lady Macbeth a few years ago, and before that she was a hot gypsy Phoebe in As You Like It, a terrific soubrette in The Bourgeois Gentleman, and a heartbreaking Rose of Sharon in our first Grapes of Wrath. Beth is one of the smartest women I know, and also one of the oddest-- a former stripper who can quote Shakespeare. She has a great look on stage (she's a beauty), a wonderful voice, and a flair for both stage comedy and stage evil-- and both are needed in her role as the vigilante punisher of sex offenders. Gronya is full of pain and menace, and Beth does what she needs to do with this role. She' brings it. She is actually scary--and quite absurd--though still not quite ugly enough (I've ordered bruises, tattoos and a wart). Beth is famously sarcastic and witty, but inside she's a delicate flower who has trouble with her costume and hurting people on stage. She takes care of homeless cats. She also has one of the richest, fullest, deepest laughs in town---she's gotten deservedly well paid in the past for her act, but I myself would pay even more to hear her laugh, something she only does offstage in this show.
BILLIE MCBRIDE (Garson) is making her THEATREWORKS debut, and it's about time. She's well known in Denver as one of the best actresses in town, a reputation that's well deserved. She's just as good as the women we fly across the pond to see in London. She's able to deliver silly senility while also being entirely truthful throughout---Garson has a few moments in the play where, is spite of her dementia, she suddenly speaks more directly and forcefully than anyone else. It takes the play suddenly into completely new and unexpected territory--and then she takes it back to comedy again. The phrase"consummate professional" is a stale one by now, but I'll trot it our again for Billie. Billie shows up. She's never late. She's got her act together from day one. She never unnecessarily calls attention to herself. She's bright eyed and alert from the moment the rehearsal starts until it ends. She commutes mostly and she commutes from Denver because she has work there, and last Sunday it took her four hours to get home on an icy road--and she did not whine about it. I also think she is very cute and hope that on at least one occasion she will make good on her offer to show the police her bum, as she does every night in the show.
GEDDETH SMITH (Balthasar) Geddeth is also new to THEATREWORKS, having come all the way from New York to play with us. It's no easy task finding male actors of a certain age, class and grace, and it's not surprising we had to go across country to find him. We are fortunate as a company to have arrived at a place in our development where we can actually seek out and find such a rare creature. And Geddeth is rare. He's an actual treasure. He's been on stage with half of the best known people in show business. He's worked with many of the best directors, including Sir Peter Hall in The Importance of Being Earnest. In rehearsal. Geddeth is detailed and meticulous. Working both from the outside in and the inside out, he finds his way into every single moment and phrase. Another consummate professional. Last week a package arrived in our office with his name on it. I took it to him at rehearsal. Inside was the first copy of a book he had written, about the actor Walter Hampden, a handsome volume published by the Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
An actual book. An actual contribution to the history of American theatre. I asked Geddeth how long it had taken him to write it. Ten years. But what's ten years? He's now about t write another biography--this time of Will Geer.
T. DAVID RUTHERFORD (Reverend Shandy). David (the "T" is silent) is another newcomer to THEATREWORKS but not to Colorado Theatre. In fact he's president of the Colorado Theatre Guild, and you can read a lot more about him in a recent interview in the Denver Examiner:
I knew nothing about David's theatrical eminence north of town when I cast him. I only knew he had a great look. He looks like a vicar which his lovely gray hair and smooth face--a countenance that looks nourished by gentle rain and good port. He's also a substantial fellow, and a big man is a very good sort to have around in a farce, especially when he can speak at a very heightened volume and fall down with a thunderous crash. David can do both. He also looks very fetching in one of his costumes, but we'll let you find this out for yourselves.
EMILY WHITE (Carol) Emily is making her THEATREWORKS debut, but she's no stranger. She's been a theatre student here for two years,acting often downstairs in the Osborne Studio. The part is written for a teenage who claims she's nineteen--almost. And where else would you find such a creature but in our own classrooms? Emily is bright, very cute and has the distinct advantage--in this role--of having her eyebrow already pierced for some serious metal.
And so here we have a cast fitted: a young student, a veteran of the Broadway stage, a regional actress of the highest quality, a genius former stripper, a member of the special forces, a boulder ski instructor, and the president of the Colorado Theatre Guild. An odd assortment you might say. It is indeed. But also very representative of a THEATRWORKS cast these days, which typically includes local actors, regional actors, actors from big cities on the coast, and students. We think it's a great mix,and the proof, as you will see, is in their really excellent Christmas pudding. Oh, and did I mention that the former stripper girl and the special forces boy were married in the first week of rehearsals? That's a fact. This show is their honeymoon. Some people go to Cancun; Beth and Dylan have come to the Bon Vivant, where they get to wrestle in public every night behind a couch. This is the way it goes when theatre is your life, your art, and often your happiness. We just like it like that.