Weddings cramp my style in more ways than I can describe, even when I adore the newlyweds. A wedding scheduled two hours before an important appointment related to Triumph67 and taking place while a snow storm raged outside proved slightly more than inconvenient. I was an hour and a half late for the latter!
I was scheduled to meet Dan and Waiel. I had met Waiel through a mutual friend a couple of months earlier, when we both had quickly learned of each otherâ€™s interest in film and on whose occasion I had mentioned that I would be contacting him to talk about a film project I had been helping develop, one which was scheduled for production the following summer. Fortunately, when the date had arrived, Dan, as ever, had shown up on time and had discussed the proposed film project with Waiel, who had turned up with two of his regular collaborators (one of whom, Chris, along with Waiel, would shoot the trailer to the most recent edition of Miznaâ€™s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, which I would curate.)
Waiel had been working on developing a short film project about urban teenagers, dubbed Backpack Boys. Realising that Dan and I, among other tasks, were looking to cast for several parts, Waiel generously offered to have us show up to his own projectâ€™s casting call. His people had advertised for it, located it, and otherwise planned for it. All we had to do was to materialise. How egalitarian!
Auditions had been scheduled for an upcoming Saturdayâ€™s morning. I showed up early, but not on time and reintroduced myself to the three principals who had unceremoniously waited for me in Dunn Bros a couple of weeks prior on that dreadful Saturday night. I tried to make myself useful, but the team had performed all necessary preparations it seemed and had filled all required posts. They asked me to sit in on the casting call session. Tens of people came through, most having had to wait for an hour or so, a few from way of town, all for a chance at a part in a short fiction film destined for Web screeningâ€”no potential to be saved from a dull existence herewith. I hadnâ€™t realized that acting held such allure for people, or was it the faint but beguiling prospect of stardom â€¦ By that point, I had already been slated to play lead in Triumph67. â€œPerhaps Iâ€™m not being grateful enough?â€ I thought.
People of all sorts poured in: native-borns and immigrants, children and seniors, mothers and their children (all trying out for parts), graceful people, talented people, witless people, drunken people, homeless peopleâ€”organic and diversified fucking theatre!
In mid-morning, I went off to get our Backpack Boys crew some grubâ€”bagels. Soon after returning, Kitty showed up and joined me in the audition room. At some point, a handsome, tall, lanky and olive skinned teenager walked in to audition. Waiel, slated to direct the film, asked the actor to state his name, among other things that all auditioners had been asked to announce to the camera before beginning their audition. â€œAdam Elsafy,â€ declared the young man nervously. Once one of the producers had proceeded to talk to Adam, Waiel glanced toward me and quickly nodded, smiling. Kitty also looked toward me and pointed to Adam with her head, while looking my way. Once Adam was done with his bit, she quickly goaded me into going outside and talking to him. And so I did and she followed.
Once I glommed him, I walked up to him and asked, â€œWhere are you from?â€ Adam responded apprehensively, â€œIâ€™m from NE Minneapolis.â€ â€œCome on kid! You know what I mean.â€ I snapped in response. â€œUhh, well, my dad is from Egypt and my mom is Greek American.â€
We looked so alike, Kitty had certainly noticed immediately. I then took his contact information. Soon enough, he and I had our first test rehearsal.Â It went well and Adam would come on board. So would Waiel and a person Iâ€™d met during the audition named Cherie. Waiel would become the filmâ€™s assistant director and Cherie would become our production designer. Passion and ambition have a way of becoming infectious!