The Fork / The Stage

The Fork-cast: Funny With a Chance of Pain


The Fork (the new play that I first wrote about here) is cast. Thanks to this project, I have learned for myself that getting a cast at all for a show in vacation-crazy August is pretty much impossible. But to be able to end up with a cast like we have despite that? I would say unto you that yea, miracles have not ceased.

First on board was Christian Busath, the result of one of the odder casting experiences I’ve ever had.

It was in the Hale Center Theater’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” that I first saw Christian, on the left. (It’s also where I first discovered the delightful Korianne Orton Johnson on the right, who starred in Jonah as Chum, best buddy of Humphrey, the great fish.)

I first saw Christian when he played Seymour in “Little Shop” at the Hale a couple of years ago. I loved his performance so much, I cast him to play Clash, the tough-talking leader in our gang of sharks in our Jonah movie.

Christian’s been in California for a few weeks working on finishing a movie he recently recently made. Part of that effort was a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for post-production. They were coming down to the final few hours of their all-or-nothing campaign, and I noticed Christian had been putting out some appeals on facebook. I didn’t think I had a prayer of getting Christian back from California to do our show, but right there in the comments section of his facebook appeal, I floated the long-shot idea of making a contribution to the cause in exchange for being in the show, in lieu of the other incentives they were offering. He replied that he was in if I was in. I made the contribution. And the deal was made. Right there on Christian’s facebook wall. That was a first for me.

Christian is playing the part of Carlo the chef, who may need to be renamed Carl the chef, depending on which was we go with the character. We’ll work that out in rehearsal. Excited to be able to work with Christian again. With Jonah and now The Fork, Christian will have been in 100% of the plays I’ve directed.

Mark Berrett

Next up was casting The Fork, the fearsome restaurant critic who unexpectedly shows up in the restaurant owned by Carl(o) and the waiter, Matteo.

The name of Mark Berrett, a regular in the local comedy improv scene, was given to me with high recommendations. I’ve never met Mark, but I have great admiration for those who hone their acting skills in this most terrifying of methods. I was hoping that this festival would offer me the opportunity to get to work with new people, and I’m glad to be able to have the chance to work with Mark.

That left me with one more role to fill. Matteo is the other owner of this small, struggling restaurant. He runs the front of the house, and his anxiety-ridden trips back and forth between Carl(o) in the back of the house and The Fork out front constitute a fair chunk of the comedy of the show.

I knew David Smith would be ideal for the part, but I also knew getting David would be forget-about-it impossible. For one thing, he was just coming up on the conclusion of a long-running show, where he played the lead and was getting great reviews, and has been playing through an injury. What’s more, I knew he was soon to become a new dad.

Where I first saw David Smith (that’s him on the right), it was in the SCERA’s “Plaid Tidings.” I liked him a lot, but not sure it was enough to kiss him.

I had first seen David in “Plaid Tidings” at the SCERA in Orem a few Christmases ago. We nearly kissed in the first act, which made me reconsider my affinity for aisle seats in a show that isn’t afraid to have its characters interact with its audience when they lose their glasses and mistake me for a total babe. Despite that near-miss, I was a fan of David’s triple threat talents and made a note to self to try to get him in our next show. I was delighted to be able to work with both David and his wife, Brittni (who played one of our Crabelles), in Jonah.

On another long-shot whim, I contacted David and floated the idea, fully expecting to hear a no. He floated back to me his interest, but some constraints on his schedule. I floated back some accommodations we could make to our schedule. We worked through all of them, except for that most unpredictable of wildcards — baby Smith’s arrival date. Please join me in praying that  baby Smith does not make his or her premiere before ours. We’re cutting it nail-bitingly close.

But I couldn’t be more excited to have David playing Matteo.

With a cast like this, I’m slightly giddy to start rehearsals next week. This show is gonna be fun.

But first, there are props to be made. More about that soon…

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One thought on “The Fork-cast: Funny With a Chance of Pain

  1. HOW EXCITING. I am so happy for you! And a teensy bit jealous. I’d KILL for a little theater here and some actor-type people and plays to perform in. I can hardly wait to hear more! Just read your earlier post about how this all came to be. It was interesting to hear of the challenges you faced when writing this. A little here, a little there…good lesson for me.

    Eagerly awaiting!

    Ruth

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