On Sunday and Monday, many of Lexington's best actors will gather at the Bell House to audition for The Jungle Fun Room, an award winning play by Brian Hampton.
Hampton -- whose birthday is TODAY ;-) -- tells me his latest work to come to the Lexington stage is "about a group of struggling actors who work and are preparing for a birthday party at the New York City Zoo. When they get hit with the news that the Birthday Mom is an Oscar-winning actress, things start to go a bit wacko. Well, a lot wacko. In a good way for some, and in a bad way for others. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say there are some really funny and moving reactions to this news! There’s a lot of humor in the play and some extremely funny characters, but at the heart of it, it speaks of success and what drives people to get what they want."
The value of having his play performed by Kentucky's oldest community-run theater company is not lost on Hampton. "The production at Studio Players is the regional premiere of the play, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Ever since I was in Lexington in 2005 with Checking In at Actors Guild, I've wanted Studio Players to produce The Jungle Fun Room when the time was right. I love the talent, heart, and history behind Studio Players, and I love the Lexington community. Everyone has been so welcoming to me and so supportive. I love the show so much. It really makes me laugh and really moves me. Sometimes I forget that I wrote it, actually! It’s gonna fit like a glove there, I just know it!"
"The auditions are this weekend, and I’m so excited for Bob Singleton (the director). I love the audition process. I love to see everyone’s variations and interpretations of the characters. The auditions for The Jungle Fun Room are especially meaningful too because the show itself speaks of the audition process. Even if you aren’t an actor, we all audition in some way or another. Job interviews, dating, meeting a new friend. And what makes everything come together in one moment is magic."
"There are also two sides to the coin, and I make a lot of fun of the auditioning process in the script, too. So when you see and hear actors auditioning about auditioning, it’s really hysterical. And then there are scenes that really rip your heart out. It’s gonna be great, and I hope a lot of people come out. In the play, everyone is celebrated. That’s the spirit of the show. I wish I could be there...but I’ll be there for opening night, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!"
The Jungle Fun Room was the winner of the Audience Favorite Award at the Penobscot Theatre’s Northern Writes New Play Festival and had its world premiere in last summer’s New York International Fringe Festival at the Actors’ Playhouse.
So, does Brian Hampton have a secret talent, one that he will share? "Ha! I'm actually a pretty decent cartoonist. My brother, Wade, is an animator, and as a kid I wanted be as strong of an artist as he is. I'd try to copy his stuff, and as a result I've developed a style of drawing cartoons. In fact, the very first graphic for the first reading of "The Jungle Fun Room" was my cartoon... And I just posted some of my other drawings that I did on vacation on my Facebook page. So, I guess that's my secret talent."
He adds, "and ... I must say, they aren't nearly as strong as his work (he's currently animating the new Chronicles of Narnia movie). So, I'm glad I went into writing and acting instead. LOL"
With Studio Players' track record of producing hit after hit, and with Bob Singleton at the helm, the writing is on the wall, on the jungle fun room wall. Please see details below and consider bringing your talent to the Bell House tomorrow or Monday to take part in the hilarity.
Director: Bob Singleton
Production Dates: September 16-October 10, 2010
Roles available for:
1 male (age range: late 20s-30s)
1 male (age range: early 20s)
3 females (age range: late 20s-30s)
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.
For more information, contact the director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Carriage House on Bell Court
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 6:00pm
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 6:30pm