In the midst of a flurry of dramatic activity, Montana Actors’ Theatre is raising the curtain on a three-week run of a play that looks at how people deal with others who have developmental disabilities and mental illnesses.
MAT is also involved in the production of a high school play tonight through Saturday and auditions a week from Sunday for a Shakespearian classic.
The troupe’s production of Tom Griffin’s “The Boys Next Door” starts at the Montana State University-Northern Little Theatre in Cowan Hall Friday at 8 p. m.
MAT veteran actor and director Pam Veis, a case manager at the Center for Mental Health in Havre, said in her director’s notes that working on the show has had a major impact on her.
“Directing ‘The Boys Next Door’ has been an amazing journey for me, and I dedicate this show to individuals with disabilities who live and contribute to our community every day, ” she said.
The play looks at three men with developmental disabilities and one with severe schizophrenia and the social worker who helps them in their group, with Veis saying a major theme is how their social worker learns from the four with mental disabilities.
The primary roles are acted by Kristi Doll, playing Jackie Palmer, the social worker; Darren Overlie, playing Arnold Wiggins; Michael Sloan, playing Lucien P. Smith; Martin Holt, playing Norman Bulansky; and Patrick Ulano, playing Barry Klemper.
Joel Soiseth, Candice Snyder, Aneta Jones, Lynette Crasco, Mary Kaercher, Andi Daniel, Mike Zook and Darcy Zook round out the relatively large cast.
While the play contains some misconceptions and issues common in the early 1980s when it was written, issues like the misconception that schizophrenics commonly come from abusive homes, and the use of “the ‘R’” word, Veis said, the play lets people see what people with disabilities experience every day, from frustrations to joy and achievement.
Veis added that the play has highlighted for her many things she has learned from working with and talking to people with disabilities and that she hoped people watching the play would enjoy it as much as she has directing it.
The play starts with the doors and backstage lounge opening at 7:30 p. m. each night and the show starting at 8 p. m. It runs Friday and Saturday this week, with performances March 15-17 and March 22-24.
Tickets, also available online at www.mtactors.com, are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and the show is free for Northern students with valid identification cards.
MAT auditions ‘Richard III’
Montana Actors’ Theatre is looking for some Shakespearian actors — no experience required.
The troupe is holding auditions Sunday, March 18, starting at 1 p. m. in Montana State University-Northern’s Little Theatre in Cowan Hall for William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Richard III. ”
The play offers 20 male roles and four female roles.
For more information, people can contact Jay Pyette at 945-0272, or via email at email@example.com.