Theatre Terrific held an open class audition for their professional production of dirty white. It was a rainy blustery day. Over 30 folks rolled or walked in. One of them was a tall, thin fellow with torn pants and dirty socks with blood on the heels. He carried a skateboard with him. He didn’t smell so good. The class was conducted with group games and some improv scenes. The tall thin fellow had to improv a scene with another actor. The other actor moved and jumped and was very active. The tall thin fellow was absolutely still. He listened intently and watched his partner, responding only with the smallest of actions. The director couldn’t take her eyes off him. Something…something was riveting. She didn’t know what.
At the end, everyone had left, and the director asked the tall thin fellow to stay behind. She asked his name. It was Adam. He spoke in a very high pitched small voice. How had he heard about this audition? He said that his job aid had told him about it. She asked why? Adam said that he always wanted to be an actor. He said he could do funny voices. She asked like what? Adam did a Golem voice from Lord of the Rings. She laughed. It was very different than his high pitched voice. She asked if he would like to comeback for a callback; to try for a part. He said yeah. Who was his worker? He gave a name. She thanked him and off he went into the rain ….with no jacket….slapped his skateboard down and pushed off.
The director couldn’t stop thinking about him. She looked up the name of the worker and called the job agency. It was an agency that assisted developmentally challenged people find work. She asked about Adam and went to meet with the worker. She told him about Theatre Terrific and would the worker support Adam if he got a role in a production and needed to keep a schedule. The worker was very supportive. The Director asked if he could perhaps coach Adam to shower before he came. Acting work in close quarters.
The evening of the callbacks the Director arrived early to find Adam with his skateboard waiting at the door. She thought; he sure seems to want to be here. Other’s arrived, some script and physical work was tested. Adam was the last to leave. He pulled out cigarettes and offered one. No thanks said the Director….how are you getting home? Adam laughed and jumped on the skateboard again. Off he went. He hadn’t showered.
The cast was chosen and the Director took a chance. She called the worker and gave him the working schedule and asked if he could make sure that Adam was there on time.
The work started. Adam was always the first there and the last to leave. He took to sitting himself at the piano in the studio, playing the same tune over and over again. He would arrive with no socks, torn pants, a muscle shirt and smelling pretty rich. He showed us some tricks he was trying on his skateboard. He followed the exercises and when not working would sit and watch. He liked to sit and watch a lot! The cast would have tea and some food after each work session. Adam would eat everything in sight. The Director made him pass the food around first to everyone else, hoping to make him aware of others needs too.
Adam took direction. He listened. A scene came up where he had to describe running away. His high pitched voice was not decipherable. No one could understand. He did it again and again. After numerous tries the Director stopped everything. Adam….she said…..try it one more time and say it with love. Say it…. as if you love to say it. Adam did it again. His voice dropped to a rich smooth velvet. Quiet, but deep. There it was. Adam’s voice.
The layers fell away from there……in leaps and bounds. Adam did his homework with great seriousness. He didn’t laugh anymore at the acting work that outsiders may find silly. He read his script over and over. He joked around with the other actors. One day at a check-in at the beginning of the work one of the actors thanked him for smelling good. Adam had begun to shower.
Workshops, rehearsals and a two week run of dirty white came to an end.
The cast and crew had a party at one of the actor’s houses. It was late, about 1am in the morning. The only people left were the cast; dreading that final parting. Adam jumped up and said…..Let’s do the whole play! A weary cast and director said that they were too tired. I will then…..said Adam. And he did. He went through the whole play, each character, each scene, each action , each voice, one after the other….from the beginning to the end. The cast and director laughed hysterically in amazement, awe and wonder. Adam knew it all. He had heard it …… he had held it …..and he gave it all back to us.
Adam is taking classes with Theatre Terrific now….and yes….he is always the first one there.
As told by Theatre Terrific’s Artistic Director, Susanna Uchatius