I worked at the City Theatre a couple of years ago in the MOMENTUM 2006 New Play Festival. I was a part of the reading Mezullah 1946 (which ended up becoming a full production the following season). It was then that I had the opportunity to see first hand the high caliber that was expected of anyone who was a part of putting together a show at City — cast, crew or otherwise.
When I got the call from Kellee VanAken to audition for Flight I felt honored to get the call, but I knew that getting past general auditions would be a fight. At first glance I was too young to play the character Nate and when I heard what was needed for the audition, a five minute personal “story” incorporating singing and movement/dance, singing an excerpt of a song of our choice a cappella, and then the actual audition of a monologue from the show, I thought to myself , “Alright…here comes the hard part.”
The audition went as well as it could’ve gone. I was committed to the choices that I had made, I took direction — all those things that help one get a role. And when it came time to call people back later that day, lo and behold I got a call…but not for callbacks. I was offered the job right then and there!I was so overjoyed! I told my mother, my girl, a few close friends and then nobody else really. I then came to the realization that I still had a very difficult road ahead of me. Flight is a very complex and colorful show that would not be easy to tackle. I had to get to work! Research.
And now comes the hard part.
The rehearsal process was grueling. We had long days where we probed deeper and deeper through the surface to really get to the heart of each character. And it was not easy-street for any one of us in the cast, for our one-man orchestra that is George Jones, for our very meticulous leader, Leisel, or for the true puppet master; playwright Charlayne Woodard. Charlyane was there everyday giving her art over to us (and you know how sensitive most artists are about their baby). This was the beauty as well as the daily knock-down, drag-out struggle — this was the process.
This was the hard part.
But now that we are open and have been performing for the last couple of weeks, I realize that I have been wrong once again. The hard part is now letting it all go, trusting that grueling process and staying true to one’s character journey and staying honest with those with whom you share the stage because they’re all you’ve got. HAVING FUN! And just committing to telling the story. Telling our stories — and the hardest part of all…getting that boy out of that tree!
Joshua Elijah Reese (Nate)