Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Arts Collective at HCC Presents 'Eat the Runt'


Imagine having a voice in selecting the cast of a play.  As an audience member of Eat the Runt, which will run for three consecutive weekends at the Arts Collective (AC) at Howard Community College (HCC), you will have the opportunity to do just that.  #hocoarts

The casts of 'Eat the Runt': Photo by JilliAnne McCarty
Members of the audience who show up early are invited to vote on the cast for a particular performance.  Each actor, under the direction of veteran director and Arts Collective producing artistic director Susan G. Kramer, will play multiple roles with no regards to race, ethnicity or gender. 
The rules of the voting as well as the incentives to participate are shown on the Arts Collective website.

According to Kramer, the play by Avery Croszier includes a stellar cast of eight actors poised to take on the challenge each performance (in various roles) featuring HCC students, alumni and guest artists, as well as the work of the best professional designers in the area. 

Eat the Runt is billed as “an outrageous, delicious comic satire that can go in countless, mind-blowing directions.  A seemingly innocent job interview slowly spirals into chaos as jealousy, desire, and deception collide. When the truth is revealed, only the strongest will survive.”
Kramer noted, “The central relationships among the cast of characters could include lesbian, gay, or heterosexual entanglements depending on the cast chosen... some combinations will make sense, while others may plunge the play into the absurd. To quote the playwright, Avery Crozier, ‘but sometimes the greatest discoveries are accidents. This one's waiting to happen. Every night..”

“Casting nightmares drove me to write Eat the Runt, a play that’s recast every night,” explains Crozier. “Quite often, playwrights write fascinating and specific physical descriptions of characters that make the play impossible to cast - especially if it is going to first be presented in a small theater.
“So I’ve stopped writing plays like that. In Eat the Runt, I decided to create roles that any talented actor could play, regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender. This is not a play in which appearance doesn't matter. It is, in fact, almost entirely about appearance and identity, but is designed to give the director flexibility to cast the best actors available without regard to physical type. Or to choose physical types that heighten the excitement of the situations on stage.”

Crozier adds, “The play is set in an art museum, a wonderful arena for exploring ethnicity, gender, and cultural issues of representation. It’s based on a series of interviews I had for a job at a large encyclopedic museum, a job I was pretty certain I did not want.

“On the airplane I fantasized about sabotaging myself with each interviewer so that they'd reject me before I was put in the embarrassing position of rejecting the job. Ultimately, I opted to behave myself, but on stage I could be much bolder than in real life. In the play, the character Merritt lives out my fantasy, and manifests increasingly strange and contradictory behavior with each interview. My challenge was to figure out why Merritt would go to such extremes, which pushed the play into the realm of impersonation and lying. So it became meta-theatre, a play about acting.”

Eat the Runt runs three weekends: April 17 - May 3 in HCC’s Studio Theatre, with performances on Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.  The theater is located at HCC, Horowitz Center Studio Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044. 

Seating is limited so that purchasing tickets early is encouraged.  Individual tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors (60+) and military, and $10 for all students with identification.  The play is not recommended for children under age 14.  Tickets may be purchased through the Box Office at 443-518-1500 or online. 

Come early so you can play the part of an actual casting director.

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