As most of my regular readers are aware (both of you), I was asked by Young Footliters to direct their March show. Now, I’ve never directed kids before (the cast of Glengarry aside), but I said yes anyway, if they would help find a show. I looked around myself, and was leaning towards directing a classic 40s comedy of some sort (or earlier – Charley’s Aunt had come up in my mind at one point). But due to a number of factors, Footliters opted to try a script based on Laugh In. They ordered the scripts sight unseen.
Yes. I said Laugh In. Sock it to me, bet your sweet bippy, good night Dick Laugh In.
Auditions were scheduled for last night and tonight. The scripts came in last week, and we all well, we all were at various levels of displeased with the script. To be fair, I was impressed by how the jokes managed to be both inappropriate for the age group I’m directing AND stale and humorless. After a quick discussion Sunday night, we decided to try to find something else.
Yes. I said Sunday night. With auditions less than 24 hours away, we decided to bag Laugh In and try to find something else. We did this on Sunday night.
So I went to the library yesterday afternoon and started to search the catalog for plays for young adults or children. I looked at a lot of catalog entries, til one name jumped out at me. It was a name I like, a name I respect. David Mamet.
Yes. I said David Mamet. Author of Glengarry Glen Ross (among others), which I directed last fall, which contains over 175 f-bombs. That David Mamet.
The library had a collection of children’s plays written by Mamet. So I rushed to where the collection was located and quickly scanned the book. The first play, The Poet and The Rent, had the right number of parts I needed. It also was dedicated to William H. Macy. As far as I was concerned, that was two quick things in its favor. It soon became three things in its favor. The play is a clever, funny, smart, piece that doesn’t speak down to its cast, that doesn’t involve fairy tales (do you have any idea how many plays for kids involve fairy tales?) and is simple to stage – no elaborate sets, no elaborate costumes, no elaborate props. Just basic, good storytelling.
I checked out the book, photocopied it, and brought it to auditions. I had about eight kids tryout last night, and they seemed to enjoy the piece. We checked today, found the script was at Samuel French, ordered copies and got the rights.
So I’m directing Mamet again. And I couldn’t be happier with it.