Monday, December 16, 2013

Auditions Announced for ‘Radium Girls’

Poster by Laura Mauffray Borchert

Auditions for Slidell Little Theatre’s production of Radium Girls, will be held January 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. at the community theatre.

The cast calls for 4 to 5 men and 5 women of varying ages, with some doubling of roles. Director Sara Pagones has left open the possibility of expanding the cast size depending on the number of people auditioning for the play.

In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girls traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees. As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire.

Written with warmth and humor, Radium Girls is a fast-moving, highly theatrical ensemble piece for 9 to 10 actors, who play more than 30 parts—friends, co-workers, lovers, relatives, attorneys, scientists, consumer advocates, and myriad interested bystanders. Called a "powerful" and "engrossing" drama by critics, Radium Girls offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth, and the commercialization of science.

List of Main Characters

GRACE FRYER, a deeply sincere woman, she is always concerned with doing what’s right. At the start of the play, she, like almost everyone else, believes in the great goodness of science, but through the course of the play, she faces the trials of questioning what goodness really is as she suffers through her illness inflicted by the radium paint she worked with.

KATHRYN SCHAUB, a friend of Grace, she is the dreamiest and most romantic of the three girls, always filled with ideas of love. Kathryn is the first to really sense the danger they’re all in, and becomes truly afraid. As her own illness progresses, she becomes more and more cynical, believing that people will do and say anything, except what’s right.

IRENE RUDOLPH, Kathryn’s cousin, is age seventeen at the start of the play. Later, she is in her twenties. She is the more pragmatic of the three girls – down-to-earth, straightforward, almost cynical, and sometimes tactlessly blunt. She is the first of the three dial painter girls to die.

KATHERINE WILEY is the executive director of the New Jersey Consumer’s League. She is a strong-willed woman with moral fiber, and works to help Grace go to trial against the U.S. Radium corp.

SOB SISTER (Nancy Jane Harlan), is a tabloid reporter. She follows the story of the “Radium Girls” and gives them publicity, though the presentation of her stories tend to be a little more scandalous and outrageous.

REPORTER (Jack/Jane Youngwood), works for the Newark Ledger He, like the Sob Sister, follows the story of the “Radium Girls” and gives them publicity. He is perhaps a little more dignified in his journalism than the Sob Sister.

MRS. ANNA FRYER is Grace’s mother, and the mother of many other children. She is a pragmatic woman, concerned with finances and all things practical.

MRS. ALMA MACNEIL is the supervisor of the dial painter girls, and possibly Irish. She is a hard woman who is concerned with her work and its quality, likely to a fault.

MRS. ARTHUR (DIANE) ROEDER is Arthur Roeder’s wife. She enjoys being the wife of a company president, and because she cares about her husband, she cares about the company. She believes in the good that her husband is able to do.

DR. MARIE CURIE is Polish by birth (she has the Polish accent), She is credited with the “discovery” of radium.

HARRIET ROEDER is the daughter of Arthur Roeder, age nine at the beginning of the play, and later in her thirties, telling her father how he needs to find a hobby and forget the past.

ARTHUR ROEDER is age thirty-four at the start of the play, and sixty-five at its close. Becomes president of the U.S. Radium Corp. It is when he takes over the company that the switch from dial painting to more medical pursuits is made. He is a husband and a father, and a good man, believing that what he is doing is the right thing (he views Knef’s offer to be immoral), and the greatness of the American Dream.

TOM KREIDER is Grace’s fiancĂ©, and a postal worker. Though he is somewhat concerned about money (certainly not to the extent of Grace’s mother), he is more concerned with getting married to Grace and starting a life with her.

C.B. “CHARLIE” LEE, at first Roeder’s vice president of the company, later becomes president. He is a true businessman, concerned most of all by the good of the company and the company’s purpose: to sell watches.

EDWARD MARKLEY works as counsel for the U.S. Radium Corp. He’s a calm, rational, matter-of-fact sort of man. Though when threatened or in the face of danger, he can be cold, very cold.

DR. VON SOCHOCKY is the founder of the U.S. Radium Corp., and the inventor of the luminous paint. When the girls all get sick, he is burdened with guilt, so he offers to testify for them. He himself gets sick from the radiation; with the girls, it was in their jaws, for him, it’s in his hands.

RAYMOND BERRY is the attorney for the dial painters. He is generally concerned about the welfare of the girls, to the point of disagreeing with Ms. Wiley’s tactic of using journalism and public sympathy for reform.

DR. JOSEPH KNEF is at first Irene’s dentist, then Grace’s. He is the one to advise Grace to go to the company for help on the grounds that the company should feel obligated to help, that there’s a moral obligation. Later, he tries to make a deal with the company to come up with “favorable diagnoses” for any of the factory girls who come to see him.

DR. FREDERICK FLINN, PH.D is a fifty-something academic, warm and friendly. Works in physiology at Columbia University, industrial hygiene. He tells Grace that the radium has nothing to do with her ailment, but he is working for the company.

Monday, December 9, 2013

John Giraud - Connecting Through Music

John Giraud’s many talents are on display practically year-round at Slidell Little Theatre where he’s usually serving as the music director for shows like Seussical, Evita, The Producers, and Ragtime

A teacher of Talented Music for the St. Tammany Parish School Board, John has composed music for two original shows – Little Musical (with Scott Sauber) and Widow Bride – both making their world debut on our stage.

John Giraud in SLT’s production of
“Man of La Mancha.”
 Photo courtesy Paul Wood Photography

He just finished leading the orchestra in Slidell High’s production of Singin’ in the Rain and he also sings Opera on Tap with New Orleans Opera.  Back in 2009 he wowed audiences as Don Quixote in SLT’s production of Man of la Mancha.

Last summer John sang in a production of A Little Night Music for Summer Lyric at Tulane, his alma mater.

We caught up with John during his busy rehearsal schedule as director of our production of The Gifts of the Magi to find out a bit more about him.

Q: What was your earliest involvement in theatre?

GIRAUD: My first time on stage was at Le Petit in the French Quarter. I sang the role of Tony in a production of West Side Story.

Q: What attracted you to theatre to begin with?

GIRAUD: When I was a boy, my parents took us to see Peter Pan starring Sandy Duncan at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans. My dad managed to get tickets on the front row, but they were all the way against the side wall. Nevertheless, it was incredible because I was able to gaze in wonderment into the orchestra pit and see the amazing musicians as they were warming up and tuning their instruments. Then during the show, I watched in awe as Peter Pan flew out over the audience. It was magical.
Q: What is it about theatre that holds your interest today?

GIRAUD: It is alive. It is a point of connection. As we become more isolated through technology, it is important to gather together with a crowd of people you don’t necessarily know and share a journey through theatrical storytelling.

Q: What are five plays that you’ll never forget and why?

1) Little Musical and Widow Bride at Slidell Little Theatre, because I wrote the music. 

3) The King and I at the Saenger in New Orleans starring Yul Brenner, because he was defiantly fighting cancer and commanding the stage at the same time.

4) Sunset Boulevard on Broadway, because it was the first show I saw in New York

5) Les Miserables in London’s West End, because it changed me.

Q: What play do you think people should see, but probably haven’t?

GIRAUD: Unto These Hills at the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina. It is performed in an outdoor amphitheater at sunset as the smoke starts to drift through the mountains which serve as the backdrop.

Q: What was the oddest play you ever saw, directed or starred in?

GIRAUD: Not odd but probably the most unorthodox: I played music for an almost-all female cast of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Q: What was the best advice you ever received about acting?

GIRAUD: Be true to the character, even if your voice feels less than 100% or you miss a line. The audience won’t mind as much if they see it happening to the character and not the actor.

Interview conducted by Don Redman

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Gifts of the Fayards

O. Henry’s beautiful little story, “The Gift of the Magi,” tells the tale of deep personal sacrifice some people will make to provide a gift to a loved one during Christmastime, believing earnestly that it is better to give than to receive. There’s a Slidell couple who wholeheartedly agrees with that sentiment....

Local Family Brings Christmas Cheer to ‘Adopted’ Family

By: Justin Redman 

Christmas is the time of the year when a child’s face lights up with excitement from every present she opens from Santa. A time when families come together and enjoy the company of each other exchange gifts, and eat delicious foods. Each family has its own tradition, be it Secret Santa, Dirty Santa or just exchanging names, but for one Slidell family their tradition is the embodiment of the Christmas Spirit.

Jack Fayard, his wife Angela, and a few members of their family have not exchanged gifts with
Angela and Jack Fayard
each other since 2007.  That was the year they started their “Adopt a Family for Christmas tradition.”  Every year for Christmas, the Fayarads will adopt a family that is struggling financially or who otherwise would  not  be able to experience this joyous time of year.

Christmas is a big deal for Jack and his family. Growing up, Jack’s parents would ensure that every Christmas was a merry one and it didn’t matter if his parents’ business was busy or slow throughout the year. This feeling that Jack experienced growing is what drives him and his family every year to adopt a family who for whatever reason cannot afford the simplest of things. 

Jack believes that every family should be able to experience a festive Christmas and with the aid of friends and families who help by donating items that are on the list of the adopted family.  The Fayards are not part of an organization, and they handle every aspect of organizing, collecting donations and delivering the gifts to the family themselves.  Jack and his family have friends at various churches that help them with the selection of the family.

Since Jack started Adopt a Family for Christmas in 2007, the Fayards have helped seven families and this year because of the huge offering of support from their friends they will be adopting two families.  Jack looks forward to this every year and says that this is a huge blessing for his family.   For Jack to see a family a joyous Christmas is an honor and hopes that this is a family tradition that will continue for years to come.

Slidell Little Theatre’s production of “The Gifts of the Magi” – a musical homage to O. Henry’s classic tale – is on stage weekend through December 15.
Make reservations online at

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Director's Vision: Giraud Discusses 'Magi'

John Giraud, the director of SLT’s production of “The Gifts of the Magi,” talks about his vision for the musical now onstage at Slidell Little Theatre through Dec. 15, 2013....

Tell us about your vision and inspirations for your production.

Inspired by the newsboy narrator, Giraud keeps
with the newspaper theme to decorate the cityscape.
 (Photo by Don Redman)

Giraud : I see this show as a storybook tale for grown-ups. Since the narrator of the story is a paperboy, I thought it would be interesting to use newspapers in representing the city skyline. The husband character, Jim, sings about how “a new frost upon the city covers up the grime”, hence the layer of white on top. The actors themselves provide great inspiration for the show. In rehearsals, they bring their own ideas and suggestions of how to tell the story. What we end up with is something greater than I had originally imagined.

What are the challenges to staging this production?

Giraud: The biggest challenge to staging this production is making sure that it stays simple. The O. Henry plays are so strong on their own. The music and staging should enhance the stories of “The Cop and the Anthem” and “The Gift of the Magi”. You don’t want the packaging to outshine the gift itself.

What the audience can expect to see?

Giraud: The audience can expect to see very talented local actors giving a Christmas present to this community. They have given up many family dinners, weekend events, and sleep in order
to put this show together. Amid the bustle of the Holiday season, I hope that watching this show helps you remember all the things you love about Christmas! 
Della and Jim Dillingham (Jessica Stubbs and Rob Reidenauer)
try to keep Christmas simple in SLT’s production of
“The Gifts of the Magi.”
(Photo by Justin Redman)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meet the Poster Artist

Photos of an Alaskan landscape, a window pane and an early sunrise combine to make exquisite “Magi’ poster

Cameron J. Metrejean
Cameron j. Metrejean, a student attending Northwestern Louisiana University in Natchitoches, was in rehearsal  for the college’s production of West Side Story when he first got word that he had been chosen to design a show poster for Slidell Little Theatre.

His enthusiasm quickly gave way to panic.

“Shortly after the excitement wore off I got nervous,” he said. “I suddenly had something to live up to and I had no idea what I was going to do for this poster.”

Slidell Little Theatre routinely relies on the kindness of individuals willing to freely volunteer their talents and earlier in 2013 Cameron had responded to the theatre’s call for poster artists and submitted an application with sample works.

This was not Cameron’s first show poster; he had designed posters and playbills for such shows as The Importance of Being Earnest, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.

But that didn’t calm his nerves when it came to coming up with a design idea for SLT’s production of The Gifts of the Magi.

“I quickly looked up the show and found that I had heard of this story before and a few minutes later I had an idea. That’s what half an hour of nervousness does to me,” he said.

Cameron has “dabbled in photography” for several years, but it wasn’t until he attended college that he started apply his photography to show posters.

“I got that the image would be of a wrapped gift with light shining down on it,” he said, explaining his initial conceptual process. “I wanted the poster to have a sense of being timeless, so it could work for any generation. That is why nothing you see in the picture is out of place or anachronistic aside from the red bow which purposefully stands out brighter in contrast to the rest of the picture.”

The final poster image is an amalgamation of three photos: The frosted window frame, the snowy landscape, and the table with the wrapped gift.

“The landscape picture was one I had taken myself a couple years back while in Anchorage, Alaska, back when I was still taking pictures with a pocket camera,” he said. “I had seen a beautiful gap in the clouds that emitted some wonderful looking sunlight and I had to capture it.”

The table shot proved to take a little more effort though.

“Though I’m much more savvy with Photoshop than the average person I knew I wouldn’t be able to throw too many separate elements together convincingly,” he said. “I needed natural morning light for the picture, and luckily there was a table in my dorm room right in front of a window on the side where the sun rose.”

But there was a tiny detail he still had to overcome – the table belonged to his roommate and Cameron needed to use it right where it was in order to capture the sunrise light. And to state the obvious, Cameron would be creating quite a bit of a commotion early in the morning to catch the sunlight.

Fortunately, his roommate had made plans to spend the night elsewhere and granted Cameron permission to clear the table off for his photo shoot  as long as Cameron promised to “put everything back the way it was.”

“The night before the picture I cleared off his table, dusted it off, spread one of my white bed sheets over it to serve as the likeness of a fine tablecloth, and placed the items on the table,” he explained. “The gift package was some pieces of cardboard that I had wrapped in a brown paper bag wrapped in a piece of elastic (not twine as it is able to emulate from a distance). Perhaps it was the college student in me but I had learned to be resourceful with some things.

“But the center piece package wasn’t the only gift in the picture. I couldn’t help myself and decided to throw in a little nuance to picture referencing the show. If you look closely you’ll see a hair accessory on the corner of the top book on the left side and a gold watch chain hanging out of the wooden box on the right side.”

The next morning’s shoot went as he had planned, resulting in nearly 20 photos of the tableau in varying degrees of sunlight.

Cameron eventually combined the photos of Alaska, the frosted window frame and the sun kissed gifts on the table to create the single poster for “The Gifts of the Magi.”

“It's a poster that I hope piques people's interest and prepares them for an engaging show,” he said.

Cameron is currently majoring in Performance and Directing Theatre at Northwestern State University where he has performed in West Side Story and Touched: a Neutral Mask Piece

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Radio City Playhouse Features Three Classic Radio Shows

The Senior Actors Theatre of Slidell (SATS) will transform Slidell Little Theatre tonight into Radio City Playhouse.  They will perform three shows from the golden age of radio and WGSO 990 AM will broadcast the show over the internet and the radio.  The three shows SATS will perform are Little Orphan Annie, Our Miss Brooks, and Stagecoach.  These shows were very popular and eventually turned into other mediums: one a television show and one had the honor of becoming a movie and a Broadway production.  Stagecoach was originally a movie re-enacted for the radio.

Little Orphan Annie
 Little Orphan Annie was a fifteen minute show that debuted in Chicago in 1930 on WGN.  It was adapted from the comic strip that was created by Harold Gray.  Gray got the name from the 1885 poem Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley. The show followed the adventures of Annie and her friends.

When the show debuted there was not a coast-to-coast radio network established so two casts performed the show.  There was a cast in San Francisco and one in Chicago.  In 1933 the coast to coast networking was established and the cast from Chicago became the only cast to perform.  Shirley Bell was the voice behind Annie and was replace by Janice Gilbert in 1940.

Ovaltine was the main sponsor of Little Orphan Annie and if you drank enough Ovaltine you could redeem the proofs of purchase for the secret decoder ring and then you could decode the secret message at the end of every show.

Little Orphan Annie went off the air in 1942 but the comic lived on until 2010 and this show was turned into a movie and into a hit Broadway production.

 Our Miss Brooks
Our Miss Brooks was a comedy about an English teacher at Madison High School, Connie Brooks.  It was a radio show on CBS from 1948 to 1957 and starred Eve Arden.  The show was written and directed by Al Lewis and would eventually be a television show.

Connie Brooks was clever, sarcastic and kindhearted and her character was related to by many teachers across the country.

Arden would receive letters from teachers who shared with her their experiences and Arden even had several job offers to become a teacher.   

Our Miss Brooks was ahead of its time.  It was the first show who had a strong independent woman who was witty and held a professional job.  The radio show did outlive its television counterpart and still to this day the situations portrayed in the show are relevant.

John Wayne, left, and Ward Bond
Stagecoach is the tale of nine strangers traveling through Apache territory and the hardship they faced on their perilous journey across the Wild West.  The movie was John Wayne’s breakthrough role.  He played the character Ringo Kid.  The radio broadcast was adapted from the movie and was converted to a half hour radio show that aired on NBC Theatre on January 9, 1949. John Wayne and Claire Trevor and other members of the cast reprized their roles for the radio show and the script was almost identical to the movie.

Ernest Haycox wrote the original story with Dudley Nichols writing the screenplay and John Ford was the director of the movie.  In 1986 Stagecoach got the remake treatment from Hollywood.  It starred Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

These three shows will make for a great night of entertainment and will broadcast 7pm on WGSO 990 AM or you can be a part of the audience and watch the performance.  The Radio City Playhouse is sponsored by Slidell Memorial Hospital.

Friday, November 15, 2013

'Junior' Member of SATS Making a Lot of Noise

 Joel Sweetland isn't old enough to technically qualify as a member of the Senior Actors Theatre of Slidell (SATS) program-- the minimum age requirement is 50 years of age -- but this teenager's contribution to the group has earned him the title of  “honorary” SATS member.  

Joel Sweetland as Sound FX engineer in SATS' premiere production
of Slidell Radio City Playhouse in July 2013.
Photo by Justin Redman
Joel is part of the sound effects crew for the Radio City Playhouse production.  All the gunshots, doors opening, phones ringing and any other sounds that you will hear during the broadcast, Joel will help produce.  Sound effects is not the only part of a theatrical production Joel has participated in.  He has been involved in several aspects of play production: he has directed skits for his Vacation Bible School; worked in lighting and sounds for Slidell Little Theatre; and he has acted in several plays.  His most recent role was in Seussical where he played the Grinch and one of the Wickersham Brothers.  He was also involved in the sound effects and lighting for Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.  We caught up with Joel and discussed what an honorary member of SATS feels like and what challenges he faces for a radio broadcast.

How did you become an honorary member of the SATS program?
Sweetland:  I saw a post on Slidell Little Theatre’s Facebook looking for volunteers to help the Senior Actor’s Theatre of Slidell.   Even though I knew I would be the youngest there I asked if I could help and they said yes.  It has been a lot of fun and like any other production we feel like family.

Is there any difference between sound effects for a play and radio?
Sweetland:  Yes there is.  During a play I push a button on the control board or computer and the sounds are played on the sound system but for a radio broadcast we produce the sound effects by hand.  For the radio broadcast we are opening doors, shooting guns with blanks, dialing on a rotary phone and using other ways to produce sound effects.  In fact one of the members created a cool hand turned device to simulate the riding on a stage coach effect

What is the most difficult sound to create for a live radio broadcast?
Sweetland: The most difficult sound is the gunshot for Stagecoach.  We only have two pistols so we have to time it just right so that while one pistol is reloading with blanks the other is still shooting.

What is the easiest sound?
Sweetland: The opening and closing of the door is the easiest.  All you have to do is make sure that is loud enough for people to hear it as you turn the knob and open or close the door.

Which of the three shows is your favorite, Little Orphan Annie, Our Miss Brooks, and Stagecoach?
Sweetland:  Stagecoach is my favorite.  It is the most challenging but it is also a western.

Interview conducted by Justin Redman

Thursday, November 7, 2013

An Interview with Scott Sauber

Making Directing Look Easy

Scott Sauber is no stranger to Slidell Little Theatre, having directed and appeared in several productions, including SLT’s Theatre for Young Audiences’ most recent production of Goodnight Moon, and the main stage smash hit Seussical, which launched our 51st Season.

Scott Sauber
Sauber has more than 20 years of theatrical experience and education and teaches Theatre in the Talented Arts Program at Slidell High School. He  is a graduate of the University of New Orleans’ Theatre Department. He is a multiple-award-winning actor, light designer, director and educator.

We  recently caught up with Scott to find out more about his experiences in theatre and maybe learn a little more about him as a person.

Q: What was your earliest involvement in theatre?

SAUBER: I saw the 1991 Wing and a Prayer production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in New Orleans and can vividly remember thinking, "I will do that...and only that... for the rest of my life."  I now have directed the Wing and a Prayer productions since 1999.

Q: What attracted you to theatre to begin with?

SAUBER: The philosophy at Wing and a Prayer is that you were never judged if you were willing to participate.  You were never singled out, never made part of a competition and always guaranteed a spot in the cast in the exact place that you fit perfectly for the production.  I maintain that approach to this day.  I cast anyone interested in being in the theatre.  You have to trust that I will put you exactly where you belong.

Q: What is it about theatre that holds your interest today?

SAUBER: I love the fact that every 6 weeks, my "goal" will change.  I may be parading around in the world of Seuss, or tap dancing my way through the rain.  I can do every dance number in Joseph, and follow it up by singing something from 1800s France in Les Miserables.  If I get bored with a project, in just a few weeks, it is guaranteed to change.  In 21 years, I have never been bored with a project -- just sad to let them go in the end.
Scott Sauber starred in and directed
'Goodnight Moon'

Q: What are five plays that you’ll never forget and why?

SAUBERJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started my career. I have directed it 8 times, I love every song, and it was the first production I created on my own (with  best friend and work partner, Frannie Roseberg.)

The Full Monty at LePetite because it was my first LePetite show...and it was a big deal...and it touches your heart...and we won awards...and I went THE FULL MONTY!

Rent at LePetite.  Because we were the first non-Broadway Company given the rights...and it was good...and we won awards...and as a cancer survivor, to stand on stage and sing, "...Because reason says I should have died three years ago..." followed by LaVieBoheme and Seasons of Love is UNFORGETTABLE!

Beauty and the Beast at Jefferson Performing Arts Society - because it was my first professional credit. I played Lumiere, the role of a lifetime and we did 23 performances including an 18 show run at the Grand Theatre in Biloxi where we were titled "the Talent" and I had the privilege of repeating the show (with the same company) for three years.  I could do that show every single day and never get tired -- also never get used to the marathon!  Like Sutton Foster said, "it never got easier -- and I thrived on that!"

Big River at Rivertown Repertory Theatre - not because it earned me a star on the wall, but because the role of Huck Finn was complex, but fun.  A huge line load, but fun.  A lesson in humility, endurance, kindness, adventure -- but still fun.  And one night, the final scene touched me so deep, that I cried my way through the scene and the curtain call -- because I wasn't acting, I was living. And that is fun.

Q: What play do you think people should see, but probably haven’t?

SAUBER: The one-man show Cotton Patch Gospel.  AMAZING!

Q: What was the best advice you ever received about acting?

SAUBER: Sonny Borey at LePetite would say at the end of every prayer circle, "We have worked so go out there and make it look so easy."

The interview was conducted by Don Redman.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ opens January 17 at Slidell Little Theatre

Auditions for SLT’s upcoming production of the dark comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” will be held Sunday, December 1 and Monday, December 2, at Slidell Little Theatre, at 7 p.m. both nights.

The play is directed by Ronald Brister. Performance dates are weekends January 17- Feb. 2, 2014.

Audition updates will be posted on SLT’s website, as well as its social media outlets including Facebook and the community theatre’s blog site. Or, direct your questions by email to

All auditions are open to the public. Some cast members may receive multiple roles.

A farcical black comedy revolving around Mortimer Brewster, a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and the local police, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves. His family includes two spinster aunts who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and "just a pinch" of cyanide; a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home (which then serve as graves for the aunts' victims); and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein, to conceal his identity and now looks like horror-film actor Boris Karloff.

Character Descriptions:

Kind and sweet elderly spinster who prides herself on having strong social conscience and doing the morally right thing at all times, like poisoning elderly men who are all alone in the world.

Martha’s elderly spinster sister who also prides herself on having strong social conscience and doing the morally right thing at all times, like poisoning lonely, elderly men side-by-side with her sister.

Martha and Abby’s nephew. A theatre critic who has publicly stated he hates the theatre, he finds himself in love with the daughter of his aunt’s next door neighbor, a minister. His whole world is about to be turned upside down.

Martha and Abby’s nephew. He truly believes he is Teddy Roosevelt.

Mortimer’s fiancĂ©, Elaine is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Harper. She is surprisingly wise in the ways of the world for a minster's daughter.

REV. DR. HARPER - male
Next door neighbor, minister and Elaine’s father. The epitome of a good pastor, he believes that the Brewster sisters are the salt of the earth.

OFFICER KLEIN - male or female
Hardworking officer of the law; with Brophy lays out the background for the show.

OFFICER O'HARA - male or female
A police officer who fancies himself a playwright, even though everything he writes has a double meaning in connection with what’s going on in the house itself.

OFFICER BROPHY - male or female
Hardworking beat cop; with Klein, provides the exposition of the Brewster sisters’ good works as a backdrop for the show.

Lieutenant ROONEY - male
Hardworking law officer who is definitely in command. Can turn a phrase and his attitude on a dime.

Mortimer’s murderous brother. He has no problem in using his aunts to hide his murders even though it might put them in harm’s way. To escape from the law, he has had several surgeries, the last one leaving him disfigured.

DR. EINSTEIN - male or female
Jonathan’s accomplice who is a timid man who would like to escape the life he has been living on the lam with Jonathan, but does not know how to do so. It becomes easier just to do what Jonathan says, because he knows what Jonathan is capable of.

MR. GIBBS - male
A lonely, disillusioned, disgruntled man who feels the world has been against him and that he has nothing to live for.

MR. WITHERSPOON - male or female
Executive Director of the Happy Dale Sanatorium, Witherspoon is lonely, a bit crotchety and unhappy with life in general.

The Northshore’s premier community theatre since 1963, Slidell Little Theatre is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to engaging, educating, and involving members of the community in high quality theatrical productions. SLT is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Interview with Director of "Duck Hunter Shoots Angel"

Travis Brisini is a frequent contributor to the Slidell Little Theatre community, particularly the Theatre
Travis Brisini
for Young Audiences series. A graduate of LSU with a Ph.D. in Performance Studies, Travis has written, directed or performed a wide variety of pieces ranging from the traditional to the avant-garde. When not at the theatre, he can be found reading, writing and gardening.

We recently asked Travis to take a few moments of his time from directing Duck Hunter Shoots Angel to tell us more about himself. We believe you’ll agree with us — he’s a tremendous asset to our community.

Q: What was your earliest involvement in theatre?

BRISINI: I came to the theatre through a roundabout route: literature. In college—as an English Literature major—I began taking courses in Oral Interpretation (the performed interpretation of written text) and it changed my life. Rather than literature being an individual pursuit—and a consumptive one at that—oral interp showed me that it was possible to share my favorite authors and pieces with others through performance. From Oral Interp, my interests moved toward performance art, spoken word poetry, writing my own pieces and a host of other genres of performance. It was almost ten years until I was in a “play,” as they’re commonly understood. My first performance piece was a staged reading of a portion of “Travels with Charley,” by John Steinbeck.

Q: What attracted you to theatre to begin with?

BRISINI: Performance seemed like a meaningful way to get more out of my love of reading and art. There’s a certain sort of camaraderie amongst performers that was appealing to me as well: the theatre attracted people who cared about the arts, were comfortable acting out, and had good taste.

Q: What is it about theatre that holds your interest today?

BRISINI: My interest in theatre/performance today has a couple of dimensions. On the one hand, I find it very compelling as a paradigm for thinking about the world: what does it mean to seriously consider the notion of performance as the state of the world at large? In this sense, it’s a lot like the kind of process philosophy I enjoy. The other compelling feature to me is the capacity of performance to examine non-linear, conceptual, metaphoric or otherwise difficult ideas. Doing a performance about or inspired by ideas, and seeing what kind of conclusions are reached by the audience, is a certain kind of research.

Q: Tell us five plays you’ll never forget, and why:

Travis Brisini, bottom right, with cast of TYA
production of "A Year with Frog & Toad
1. Cataclysm!—an adaptation of S.I. Witkiewicz’s The Water Hen: This play stands out in my mind as an archetypal example of an imaginative, faithful adaptation. It retained the tone and general sensibility of the original, while tackling a host of issues not originally discussed in the 1930s staging (at least not overtly).
2. Cats—I’m not afraid to admit that I have a real fondness for Andrew Lloyd Weber’s oft-maligned musical. Partly this is because of the source material—T.S. Eliot’s book is a pretty unlikely source-text, and I’m a little jealous someone else got to it first—but most it’s because of the unusual wordplay and general weirdness of the whole endeavor. Its lack of an overarching narrative appeals to me as well, in an impressionistic sort of way.
3. The Lion King—watching this show on Broadway turned me off to musicals for years. Painfully true to the movie, and entirely dependent upon spectacle to trick the audience into forgetting that there was nothing new to see, I left feeling like as long as it was fancy enough, you could trick people into paying for anything. It took me a long time to get over my problems with the musical as an art form.
4.  The Ticket That Exploded—an adaptation of the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name: this work was really instructive in helping me understand how to go about putting together a challenging, disjointed, and daunting performance piece. It made me less afraid of a fragmented narrative.
5. Lay of the Land, by Tim Miller—this piece is an illustration of the powerful effect that a well-written, well-rehearsed, humane story can have on a controversial issue. Miller’s deconstruction of California’s Prop-8 was heartbreaking and inspirational.

Q: What play do you think people should see, that they probably haven’t?

BRISINI: Rather than a particular play, I feel like folks should look into the artists associated with the Fluxus movement: an odd little art movement of 1960s and 1970s typified short, disorienting little performance pieces that blur the boundaries between art and everyday life. The most well-known participants include Yoko Ono (yes, that Yoko Ono), Allan Kaprow, Lamonte Young and Joseph Beuys. I particularly like “I Like America (and America Likes Me),” wherein Beuys wrapped himself in a felt sheet and lived in an apartment with a coyote for a couple of days.

Q: What was the oddest play you ever saw, directed, or starred in?

BRISINI: My entire oeuvre is one big odd event. I’ve played a deranged fascist child, an unscrupulous postmodern medicine-show huckster, and Godzilla. I’ve co-directed 50-minute long fragmented dance numbers about wolves and suicide and written lines for glitter-covered washboards. Once I tied a long string to a bag full of cooked shrimp and hid in an upstairs window so I could pull it across a busy thoroughfare. Another time I released a bunch of ladybugs.

Q: What was the best advice you  ever received about acting?

BRISINI: I had a full-blown meltdown thinking about auditioning for my first singing role, mostly because I was afraid and too proud. My wife—paraphrasing my brother-in-law—reminded me that “you’ve got to humble yourself to learn new things.” This, oddly enough, is by far the most relevant, meaningful advice I’ve ever received about the stage. Pride prompts nothing but the desire to preserve itself; abandon your pride, and you’re able to embrace the new possibilities open to a beginner.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

'Duck Hunter Shoots Angel' Audience Guide Hits Webstands

The latest edition of Prologue, Slidell Little Theatre’s audience guide for main stage productions, features articles by award-winning writers and storytellers and even includes artwork by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

In this edition of Prologue, readers are treated to the backstory behind Mitch Albom's hilarious comedy Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, onstage at Slidell Little Theatre October 4 – 20, 2013. Within its pages, readers can explore more about the play and it characters as well as discover more about the writer, the director, a little equity playhouse in Chelsea, Mich., local duck decoy carvers and Slidell's duck-hunting past.

Here’s a brief glimpse of the talented people freely offering their time and talent to this edition of Prologue:

Kathleen Bader DesHotel

Kathleen DesHotel
I am a southerner raised in New Orleans, La.  My roots have been washed away by Katrina along with all our family photographs.  But, well, ah… things happen, and life is all about the next step and  maintaining the faith. Learning was encouraged, nay required of me, in being told to go to college and make something of myself.  After a few sputters at other careers, I gave in to everyone’s advice and became a teacher.  After 30 years of loving teaching, I retired to follow a path to my own creativity in writing. I have a loving husband who patiently supports and/or tolerates all my hyperactive endeavors.  Even when my body is tired, my mind revs ideas and plans.  I generously call myself a multi-tasker; yet, perhaps I am more of a tornado at times.    Life is unpredictable; I figure it out in pieces every day. It is important to feel good about myself and even more important to help, not hurt others.  I have written an art column for almost eight years for the Slidell Times Picayune and now for The Advocate. To relax, I take photos, write poetry, crochet, build and paint artwork on birdhouses, read, and reorganize the clutter being a tornado creates. In spite of all the twists and turns of life, I am continuously happy to be alive and making new discoveries about myself and my world.

John Case

John Case
John is a native of Brookhaven, Miss. and graduate of the University of Mississippi.  He is married to Brenda Lowry and they  have lived in Slidell, La. since 1973. John and Brenda own Lowry-Dunham, Case and Vivien Insurance agency and they have two sons Christopher and Alan. Writing is a hobby and John prefers to write historical fiction, however he has written some historical non-fiction.  Most of his work has appeared in Slidell Magazine but some has been in various newspapers and trade journals.

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall

Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental journalist Bob Marshall has joined the staff of The Lens, where he will bring his widely recognized expertise to bear on issues of wetlands restoration, flood protection and coastal erosion. Marshall was a reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune for more than 30 years.

Don Redman

Don Redman
Don Redman currently serves as vice president of Marketing on the Slidell Little Theatre Board of Directors. An award-winning journalist, playwright and published author and poet, Redman was awarded the St. Tammany Parish President’s Literary Artist of the Year Award in 2006 for his adult comedy, Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Wolf Note? When not volunteering for SLT, Redman is the associate editor of a regional travel magazine, and creator and sporadic contributor to The RedmanWriting Project blog.

Now celebrating it’s 51st Anniversary, Slidell Little Theatre is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization operated entirely by volunteers with no paid staff. SLT is dedicated to engaging, educating, and involving members of the community in high quality theatrical productions. SLT is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.