Shaun Baer

actor - singer - writer

The First Days of School

Captain's Blog - Stardate 60406.1

We're two days into rehearsal for my next project, "The Boys Upstairs" by Jason Mitchell and I'm really excited about this project. We've got a great cast and the script is a lot of fun. Plus, it's always fun to do an area premiere, because you get to be the first version of these characters that the local audience will see. One of the most interesting things for me about this piece is looking at is as both and actor and a writer.

From an actor's perspective, my character Ashley has a lot of great stuff to play. There's some great one-liners, some fabulous reads, and a good bit of physical comedy which should be great fun to learn and play. There is also a southern accent and a bigger-than-life career for the character. His energy is very "third circle," which essentially means he's in people's faces a lot and loves being the center of attention. His love for his two best friends is paramount and never wavering, despite some great arguments and conflicts. It is transcendent of momentary stress.

But then, using my writer's eyes, there are a lot of areas for the actor to play. The situational comedy and the relationships are very clear, but what's behind them for Ashley has left me with a lot of options. It's a really nice balance of telling a very clear story but giving the actor the freedom of how to get there. We have the time in our process to really explore that and dig deeper than our first choices to find the layers to make these guys more than just what's "expected" of certain gay archetypes.

As some of the scripts I've been writing also have gay, male voices at the center of the work, it's interesting to see other people's take on gay culture. Also, as we discuss the piece, it's fascinating to hear the thoughts of the fellow creatives in the room, spanning a number of ages and backgrounds, and seeing how gay male culture has evolved and discussing the merits and pitfalls of some of the current trends.

The producing company, Pride Films and Plays, has focused it's mission on giving a voice to gay culture, male, and female identified, and this play will not disappoint. "The Boys Upstairs" offers three very different characters with a variety of universal experiences. There's something...or someone...for everyone "Upstairs."

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