Articles @ 24 August 2010

The Director’s Perspective – Casting
David Kendall

When I first read the script for Decktechs, I was blown away by the richness of all of its characters. To be able to co-direct and help revise drafts of Decktechs is an opportunity to fully realize the depth of these fictional beings. However, writing and directing are only a part of how these characters will be brought to life. The other component that has to be added to the equation is actors. Great characters deserve to be manifested by actors who can truly step into an alternate world and become someone else. So, when it came time to cast the characters, we wanted to make sure we were putting talented and experienced actors into these roles.

Perhaps the most satisfying part of this experience was being able to hire actors that my wife and I had worked with before. Darwin Harris, Decktechs’ James, had worked as an actor along with Carrie Lee at Chicago’s Navy Pier off and on for eight years. During that time, they both enjoyed acting and performing careers on various stages around the city. It was having this rapport, friendship and history with Darwin that made him the perfect fit for the role of James. Darwin currently lives and acts in Los Angeles.

Erick Esteban, who will play the character Albert, shared the stage with Carrie Lee at the Tony Award winning Goodman Theater in the production “Let The Eagle Fly.” If Carrie Lee and Erick weren’t on stage together, they were out watching each other perform in different venues around Chicago. Erick’s humor and charm were what stood out to her and were what eventually lead her to cast Erick in the role of Albert. With a tendency to steal a scene, we are very excited to have Erick on board. Erick, like Darwin, enjoys life as an actor in Los Angeles.

Our two main female characters on Decktechs couldn’t be more different from each other. Ana is our lead character’s main love interest. She is a sweet and frail young woman who pulls on Don’s heart from millions of miles away. Supervisor McCrae is Don’s hard-edged boss who is all-too-present in Don’s new environment. To cast these characters, we again went towards Chicago. Although, it has to be said that I have shared screen time and stage time with both women that Carrie Lee cast in these roles.

Before moving to Chicago, Michelle Milne and Lindsay Nance were both actors in Goshen, Indiana where I also lived and taught for nearly ten years. Lindsay attended Goshen College’s acting school and Michelle was a theater professor there. I had the pleasure of acting with Lindsay in a production of “A sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” at New World Arts. It was here that I first witnessed Lindsay’s acting talent. I had worked with Michelle in a few different capacities at Goshen’s New World Arts Theater, but my most memorable work with her landed us both in a regional commercial for MFB, a bank in Northern Indiana.

Michelle Milne was recently hired as a professor at Colombia College in Chicago. We are excited to have her playing the role of Supervisor McCrae. Lindsay Nance is acting in various theaters and films in Chicago and we are pleased to have her playing the sweet character of Ana. Both women are fantastic actors and have the chops to pull off what their new roles demand.

The last of our core characters to get cast was actually our lead, Don. We were very fortunate to find him in the city where we currently reside too. Reece Thomas is a Savannah native and attends Savannah College of Art & Design’s school of performing arts. We first noticed Reece when we were scouting local talent and had him read for Don. We were instantly drawn to him. After reading several other strong potential Dons, Reece was at the top of our short list. We had him read along with the other cast members and they felt the same way we did. After that, we locked the young Reece Thomas in as our lead character.

As a director, I couldn’t be more pleased with the talent I have sitting before me. I am so excited about working with this cast that I can barely stand it. The same can be said for the creative team that is doing all of the hard work to prepare the way for them. I have had the extreme pleasure of working with a strong collaborative group that I am very pleased to call myself part of. Thanks to our actors, our creative team, and YOU, our fans and backers for supporting us with generous monetary donations and spreading the word. We promise to continue to work hard at putting your contributions to good use!

-David Kendall
Co-Director/ Draft Writer