Website URL Fourth Wall Down Theatre Collective
Fourth Wall Down (a professional theatre collective), and You
Written in 1968, Mel Arrighi paints a stark future for America, with “An Ordinary Man”. Given the civil unrest of his time, he predicted the possibility of the US government enacting a form of apartheid, under the guise of ‘maintaining order’. As a theatric vehicle, this ‘memory play’ centers around the ‘New Nierenberg’ trial of one Andrew Neff, for his role as propagandist for the Liberty Party: a totalitarian regime which has taken power through fear and misinformation. After losing an international war, members of the Liberty Party are charged with Crimes Against Humanity, for their gross mistreatment of the African-American population. As the play progresses, we are shown scenes recounting how Andy fell into this role, and left to debate his culpability, and our own.
Multiple venues throughout the St.Louis Metro area
Submissions accepted through December.
Flexible rehearsals throughout January.
Performances throughout February.
“An Ordinary Man” focuses on White Indifference, Nationalism, Racism, the cyclical nature of politics, civil unrest, and one’s conscientious concern for one’s fellow man. A forgotten play from half a century ago, its ‘alt history’ allows a unique platform to explore many of the issues which trouble our collective consciousness today, in America, and in St.Louis. We will also be donating a portion of our profits to a local non-profit.
Andrew Neff (30s-40s, Caucasian): Anti-hero/Rising Star. Likeable, for a living. A talented filmmaker/ad man hired by the reigning government to produce “educational” propaganda, Andy considers himself to be apolitical, but his ambition and narrow perspective manifest themselves as a willful ignorance to the broader scope of his influence. Devoid of malicious intent, yet willing to be a tool for other’s socio-political agendas, he uses the “Good German” defense: simply doing a job/following orders. His jovial indifference becomes the moral crux of “An Ordinary Man”.
Harris Fisher (40s, Caucasian): Holding a friendly seniority over Andy at their production company, Harris faces a crisis of conscious, and recuses himself from the government contracts; a dangerous rebuff, given the rumors of his ‘latent homosexual’ nature, and the current administration’s stance of ‘deviancy’. Harris holds out hope for Andy’s humanity, and America’s.
Helen Neff (30s-40s, Caucasian): Andy’s covetous wife, Helen leans toward possessional and social aspirations, keeping up with the status quo. She revels in her privilege and power through the warm smile of Hostess, thinly veiling a rather vindictive nature. Her status is her identity.
Austin Coker (30s-40s, African American): A schoolmate of Andy’s, Austin was a respected professor of English before the Reforms. After mandated job reassignment and travel restrictions, he finds himself separated from his family, working as a building superintendent, and forced to live in the ‘housing zone’ of Harlem. When Andy happens upon him, sweeping the sidewalk in workman’s jumpsuit, he coaxes Austin into serving as a ‘cultural consultant’, for his films. Austin only agrees in the hopes of reuniting with his family, through Andy’s connections. He is disenchanted and disenfranchised, but perseveres, swallowing his fire and biting his tongue.
Monica Lambert (20s-30s, open ethnicity): Perhaps a slight New Orleans accent she tries her best to hide. Andy’s secretary and future mistress. She attaches to Andy as a means of survival, both as a woman, and to insulate herself from discovery. In the final scene of the play, it is revealed that she is “passing”. Her callousness towards POC is born of self-preservation, and her distain for Andy is thickly shrouded by her well-quaffed and affectionate outward show. Monica does not self-identify as ‘Black’, but casting is open, so long as nothing is given away.
Mr. Swanson (open age, Caucasian): An agent of the state, to all characters in the play, Swanson represents the looming power and fear of the Liberty Party. Some see it as an asset. With a casual darkness, he exudes a confident air of control, and whole heartedly believes in Order above all. The stage and its inhabitants are acutely aware of the danger lurking behind his ‘business as usual’ façade. Gestapo-esque, everyone tightens when he takes notes, or nonchalantly showcases the reach of Big Brother.
Rod Korman (50, Caucasian): Production Executive. Prides himself on being able to work with people. Rod can have a temper when he needs to get the best out of his people, but is otherwise amenable and friendly. Attached to Andy’s talent and tries to persuade him to join the Party, for professional reasons.
Dick Prebel (open age, Caucasian): Production Executive. Ad Man. Member of the State Committee for the Liberty Party. Believes in Andy’s talents for selling a story, and wants to use those talents to gain stature. Has a cold, for some reason.
Connie Frager (20s-40s, Caucasian): Cocktail guest of the Neff’s. Mostly amused by the intrigue of the night, unaware to the subtext. Three months pregnant.
Steve Frager (middle-aged, Caucasian): Cocktail guest of the Neff’s. Decidedly less amused by the intrigue of the night.
Shirley Korman (middle-aged, Caucasian): Rod’s wife. Elitist, but friendly; she complains how difficult it will be to find a cab, when the army trucks roll into Manhattan.
Judge (chorus, all ages, all types): Originally written as an amplified off-stage voice, our production will feature fully visible activists and protesters within the audience space, before performance; who will then join the audience and interject as individual ‘Judge’ voices. We would very much like to showcase real world activists from the St.Louis region. In our mission to foster uncommon conversations about common concerns, we will host community discussions, after each production. Knowledge and perspective are tools in that work, and we hope to destigmatize through respectful direct contact between the themes of our production, and those of the world outside our performance space. Lines may be read from cue cards, if necessary (townhall style). Minimal rehearsal, with flexible performance scheduling. For consideration, please send us an overview of any performance experience you have, and your connection to/experience with activism.
For consideration, please send your headshot and resume, along with a short cover letter, to email@example.com
Equity members will be considered under the Members’ Project Code.
Production Associates and collaborating Creatives will also be considered.