This past Wednesday evening I had the great pleasure of having my feature script read by a cast of wildly talented actors for an audience in a theater in West Hollywood. After a week of oppressive political sadness, nothing delighted me more than listening to a room break with laughter.
A dark comedy about a highly dysfunctional family who comes together for an unseasonably early Thanksgiving at the threat of their dying mother abolishing their trusts if they don’t. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to express my gratitude to the actors that made my words leap off the page. (Which, hopefully doesn’t reflect on my abilities as a writer, but more the depth in which I am thankful for their efforts.) That gratitude also extends to my friends, family and representation who supported and encouraged me during this process, and everyone who braved traffic to spend their Wednesday evening at my twisted family affair.
A few words on my cast. Sam McMurray honored us by richly and energetically narrating, a job that never got a break and is far beneath his talent. Stephanie Faracy vibrantly and tragically commanded our Matriarch Lily to life, and as I was told later, brought several audience members to tears with her performance. Julie Ann Emery, not only guided me through pulling this event off, but made us all sit up a bit straighter and try to keep up with her genuine and magnetic performance of Abby, the sharp, determined eldest sister. Jonno Roberts created a Tom, the fast talking, eldest brother, that was better than what I wrote, and punched a level of energy into the theater that was unmatched. However, Julie Mann stole the show away from Jonno when he wasn’t talking, with her unrivaled comedic-timing and spirited take on Carmen, Tom’s self-medicating wife. Rudy Martinez read Ben, the unassumingly evil boyfriend of James Jr, and was so convincingly corrupt that I am actually afraid to be friends with him now. JR Wickman read James Jr. the bastard son, with veracity and believable rawness, and Evan Larimore, my first-time actor, real, live brother, bravely faced his first live-audience and read Winston, the youngest sibling, with the aloof-weirdness I could have only hoped for. I am so lucky to have had them, and won’t soon forget that.
I’m excited and humbled by the positive feedback I’ve been given, and am receiving excellent critiques on how to further improve it. I’m looking forward to this script’s next step… stay tuned!