By Thomas Putnam
I'm writing this blog on the day we remember and celebrate the vision and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. I'm also writing this on a day when I'm working with Diane Eaton on press releases for our upcoming auditions for the play INTO THE BREECHES. These overlap like a Venn Diagram in that this play has a character that must be played by a black woman. It's a terrific role and when we explored a few years ago the possibility of producing this play I was quite certain of the importance of casting this character before we even announced that we were going to produce it. It's crucial that this character is black.
As is often the case, my resolve to do something has either been forgotten or canceled out by...well...by wishful thinking? I respect this play and this character (as well as the others in the story) to the degree that my eagerness to produce it tips the scales. And here we are, ready to hold auditions next week and without a woman of color to fill this role.
Of course, I could trust the possibility of an ideal situation in which all the actors needed to fill the roles will miraculously show up at auditions. Wouldn't that be grand? It rarely happens, particularly when we are looking for an actor with very particular characteristics. In this case, we need a woman of color.
In the past we have tried to get the word out in press releases and newsletters and word of mouth. We have been fortunate to have actors of color in many of our shows. Such shows as The Crucible, He Held Me Grand, Driving Miss Daisy, Big River, Second Samuel, The Miracle Worker. But almost without exception none of these actors actually appeared at the regular, scheduled auditions. We had to search for them.
I'm determined to find the perfect woman for this role. It's a story worth telling. I don't know how we will find this person, but we cannot do this play without her. She's out there, somewhere.