Step into the spotlight

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By Jennifer Wadsack

Grab your rodeo gear, whiskey bottle and siren-red dress!  The Los Alamos Little Theatre is hosting auditions for its September production of the Sam Shepard one-act dramedy “Fool for Love.”

LALT veteran Corey New will direct the play and former LALT president Jennifer Wadsack will produce it.  

By day, director Corey New makes “people’s computer problems go away.” Similar to Shepard, New also writes, acts and directs. LALT audiences remember New as the tea-sipping, crumpet-eating Algernon Moncrieff in May 2008’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” But New began his LALT career by directing “The Balcony Scene,” (2000) and “Barefoot in the Park,” (2001).

New has even directed his own plays for the Little Theatre: “Dweller in the Ravine: A Love Story” and “My Better Half,” (both in 2003). In addition to his current directorial pursuits, New is busy at work on a screenplay.    

Shepard directed the initial theatrical production of “Fool for Love” in 1983, but many know him better as a movie star. Perhaps you caught sight of Sam Shepard right here in Los Alamos during the December 2007 filming of “Brothers.”  

Or maybe you saw him as Chuck Yeager in “The Right Stuff,” as Gil Ivy in “Country,” as Doc Porter in “Crimes of the Heart,” as Spud Jones in “Steel Magnolias,” as Thomas Callahan in “The Pelican Brief,” as Garrison in “Black Hawk Down,” as Frank James in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” as Eddie in Robert Altman’s version of “Fool for Love,” and the list goes on. In fact, if you’ve seen “Easy Rider,” you’ve heard Shepard drumming for the “Holy Modal Rounders.”

However, Shepard actually considers himself first and foremost a writer – and with good reason. By the age of 30, he had already written 30 plays that had been produced in New York City.  

And his career only took off from there, as he authored such acclaimed plays as “Operation Sidewinder,” “The Tooth of Crime,” “Curse of the Starving Class,” “True West,” “A Lie of the Mind” and “Simpatico.” Of course, he has also written for film: Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” and “Wim Wenders’s Paris,” “Texas” and “Don’t Come Knocking,” to name a few. His scripts have been nominated for Tony Awards and his 1979 play “Buried Child” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.  

With such associations as Jessica Lange, O-lan Jones and Patti Smith, Shepard is no stranger to romantic entanglement, which provides the basis of “Fool for Love.”  

Set contemporarily in a cheap Mojave-Desert motel room, the play is rife with oxymorons and dichotomy.  

As torn between presence and absence as he is in real life, the Old Man (father to protagonists Eddie and May) broods over the entire play from an adjacent platform.

Thirty-something May, clad in a frumpy skirt but sexy lingerie, repels yet attracts half-sibling, cowboy-stuntman, sometime boyfriend Eddie, who himself dallies with the remote and appropriately offstage Countess.

May has dalliances of her own: Martin, a dull and unsuspecting date who arrives during the course of the show, in particular.

As May follows a passionate kiss with a swift knee to Eddie’s groin, a seemingly irreconcilable dialectic emerges. Rashomon-reminiscent  recountings trace the characters’ sinuous love triangles.

Auditions will be held from noon-2 p.m. Sunday in the Los Alamos Little Theatre at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St.  The cast includes one adult female (May) and three adult males (Eddie, Old Man and Martin). Scripts will be available for overnight checkout from the Mesa Public Library.

Even if people do not fit the age range of the characters, they are encouraged to audition if they can make themselves appear to be the same age. The show will run at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, and 26 and at 2 p.m. Sept 20. For questions, contact New by e-mail at filmzealot1@yahoo.com or producer Jennifer Wadsack by phone at 919-363-6988.