I received this joyful email from teacher Sheri Nutter out of Oregon as she works on my play Humbug High. I just had to share her experience, especially as she is approaching the play from a multi-cultural casting standpoint.
My principal forwarded your letter to me. I am directing your play. I wanted to let you know that I LOVE this script! I This is my twelfth season (2 plays a year) of being a creative director, but my very first play as a solo director. I am so excited about this play. I am also very nervous! It is a challenging script to direct and a huge cast. My friends were asking me why I chose this play (huge cast so many scene changes) for my first one directing entirely on my own (I recently moved from KY to OR) and I said ‘because it is a funny, well written script!’ I have co-directed many scripts over the years that by production time, I absolutely hated, lol.
… [we have a] very small and unique student body (90% international students). Several of the characters are Russian, Jonathan is Columbian, and so so funny, you should hear the line ‘Dude, that is cold’ said with a heavy Columbian accent; hysterical! Leland is Korean, and he too, is really funny. The ‘Jelly Dance Remix’ has been rapped by an Ethiopian, and the music arranged by another Ethiopian. The Ghost of Christmas Future is played by a boy from Vietnam who is an extremely talented dancer, who is making his entrance to Eddie’s room as a dance to a Celldweller song called UrsaMinor. Strobe and black lights, it will be awesome.
Anyhow, I thought you might want to know your play is being performed by kids literally from all over the world.
Thanks Sheri! I know it’s important with school material to try to be as open as possible with characters so that they could be played by anyone from anywhere. Schools need that flexibility though it’s hard to be that open and make sure the characters are specifically detailed as well. I love hearing about productions where there’s a natural fit between my play and a multi-cultural cast. I also like hearing that someone is plunging into their first solo directing experience with one of my scripts!