Charged with running the understudy rehearsal for Franz Kafka's undiscovered masterpiece in its Broadway premiere, Roxanne finds her professional and personal life colliding when Harry, a journeyman actor and her ex-fiancé, is cast as the understudy to Jake, a mid-tier action star yearning for legitimacy. As Harry and Jake find their common ground, Roxanne tries to navigate the rehearsal with a stoned lightboard operator, an omnipresent intercom system, the producers threatening to shutter the show and her own careening feelings about both actors and her past. Will the show go on??
Theresa Rebeck is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. A widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad, her plays include Bernhardt/Hamlet, What We're Up Against, Dead Accounts, Seminar, Mauritius, Loose Knit, Spike Heels, Abstract Expression, and Sunday on the Rocks. In television, she has written for numerous shows including NYPD Blue, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, and Third Watch. She was the creator of the NBC drama Smash. Theresa’s awards include the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, the Peabody Award, and the National Theatre Conference Award.
DIRECTOR' MEL TUCK’S NOTES
Existentialism is a body of ethical thought current in the 20th century centering on the uniqueness and isolation of individual experience in a universe indifferent, or even hostile to man. It denotes the inexplicable nature of human existence and emphasizes man’s freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of his acts. Alienation is defined as a state of estrangement between the self and the objective world, or between different parts of the personality. There are actors that have substantial careers because they are attractive, and then there are actors who have chameleon-like skill at hiding themselves within the role they are playing. Both have their place and purpose. The battle between art and business is forever being played out before our very eyes. There are many arguments for art as opposed to business. We artists believe in the value of entertainment and intelligent growth for ourselves and our public. We are exploring polarities and the implications of internal versus external thoughts. How we are affected by our conditioning and how that manifests in our social lives and activities. In the theatre as in movies & TV one prime issue has taken precedence. Money. Money is a defining and deciding factor in avenues of artistic endeavor. What is the best possible way to make a play, movie or TV show successful. The sad reality is usually money takes precedence. And often funny means money. This is a very funny play.
MICHAEL GERMANT as Harry
Michael has a degree in languages from Concordia University and has studied at Acting Studio Montreal, UBC, VFS, Michael Howard Studios, and Austin-Tuck Studios. He has won several Best Actor Awards for the independent short Caught In the Spokes. This is his seventh play for Island Productions.
DREW HENDERSON as Jake
Drew was born and raised on Vancouver Island and graduated from the Victoria Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since moving to Vancouver he has booked roles on film and television projects and is very excited to switch gears and work on this show. He is a regular at Mel Tuck’s Master Class and feels honored to be directed by Mel for the first time.
SARAH BOES as Roxanne
Sarah graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since then has performed in over 50 plays in Canada and the United States. She has appeared in Queer is Folk, The Eleventh Hour and a number of independent films. She is very excited to be working with a terrific ensemble cast in The Understudy.
Director Mel Tuck
Director Mel Tuck is a highly regarded pioneer of Canadian theatre, a director of international reputation and an innovator in acting training technique and philosophy. In a career spanning over fifty-five years, Mel founded nine theatre companies and has directed over three hundred plays across Canada. He headed the drama department at Ryerson University for thirteen years, the acting program at Banff and originated and ran the Gastown Actors Studio conservatory for twelve years. Mel holds a BFA from the University of Alberta and has been recognized in the form of three ACTRA nominations. Mel teaches Advanced Scene Study at Austin-Tuck Studios on Powell Street in Gastown
Choreographer Sharon Bell
Sharon Bell’s dance career has spanned over thirty years and three continents. She acquired her certification as a Royal Academy of Dance teacher and has created over 100 dance performances for Children’s Music Festivals. She has spent decades working as a choreographer. Sharon is also an actor, having studied with Jo Bernard in Las Vegas while fulfilling a two-year contract as a dancer in “Bravo Vegas”, a hit show on the strip
Producer Mariya Miloshevych
Mariya Miloshevych is an Ukrainian up-and-coming filmmaker. This is her first time producing a play but she has produced and directed 5 short films in the past few years. Her short film “The Hallway” has won Best Short Film in Nice. “ Tangerine Crossandra” is was selected as a finalist at Roma Cinema Doc Festival. Her writing debut “Caligo” was a Semi-Finalist at Los Angeles Cine Fest Festival. She runs a local Vancouver production company called Ridley Cinematography.
Photographer Jayme Cowley
Jayme Cowley is a filmmaker and photographer with 10 years of experience in visual storytelling. He currently heads Jayme Cowley Media Co, a full-service video production agency based in Vancouver, BC. Jayme has worked with hundreds of clients throughout BC, such as VSO, TWU, Jelly Marketing, and Zoomin.TV. Photography remains an important part of his creative palette and he has worked as a photographer with Island Productions dating back to 2014.
Publicist Damon Jang
Damon Jang is a freelance performer, publicist and theatre instructor. He holds a Bachelors of Performing Arts Diploma in Musical Theatre from Capilano University. Damon is a member of the Association of BC Drama Educators and the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.
Stage Manager Jessica Hong Joo Kim
Jessica Kim is a third year English Literature and Creative Writing student at the University of British Columbia. Her recent productions include Stage Management for Rushed Production's "Albireo: A New Musical" and writing a one-act play, "Class is Cancelled", for the UBC Players Club's Annual Festival Dionysia. "The Understudy" is her Island Productions debut.
REVIEWS OF ISLAND PRODUCTIONS’ PREVIOUS SHOWS
The play explore themes of existentialism, alienation, and the ongoing battle of art vs. business.