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L.A. Beat

Playgoers of Lethbridge holding auditions for February production of “Daisy.”

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Playgoers of Lethbridge is making an ambitious departure from the usual for their Spring production.
 While  cast and crew are busy getting their October  22-26 dinner theatre of the dark comedy of Exit Laughing, Playgoers of Lethbridge are also preparing for an ambitious Spring production of Sean Devine’s “Daisy,”  and possibly longer, which will take place in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Feb. 19-22.

 But auditions for Daisy are in the casa community room, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.
Director Rita Peterson is excited to put on the play, which explores media and advertising’s role in the 1964 Johnson/ Goldwater election, particularly the role the controversial “ Daisy” ad played in the election and on public perception.

“ I read the play and something just resonated for me. It’s so timely with the American election coming up,” enthused Peterson.
“This is the most excited I’ve been about a play in quite a while,” she said.

 In addition to exploring the world of advertising in the 1960s, it explores issues of racism and women in the workplace. "Daisy" is an exciting new play that "launched the age of negative advertising and forever changed how we elect our leaders."  Serious, but not without humour, this is a timely play that will resonate with any eligible voter.

 The cast requires six men and one women ideally in their 40s or 50s, though adjustments can be made for a younger cast.
One important character, lawyer and White House liaison Clifford Lewis needs to be a person of colour.
“So we’ve reached out to Josh Williams who was in ‘Where‘s Oscar,” Peterson said.

She noted the characters are based on characters from real life including media consultant/sound designer Tony Schwartz, Doyle Dane Bernbach ad agency boss Bill Bernbach, art director Sid Myers, producer Aaron Ehrlich and copywriter Louise Brown who feels elections should be based on ideas instead of fear. She and the character of Clifford Lewis are characters Devine created. The others are based on real people.
“ She came up with the idea and Tony stole it,” Peterson said.

“ People were worried that Goldwater was a little trigger happy and would start a war with the Russians,” Peterson continued.
“ Tony Schwartz was an interesting character. He was agoraphobic and wouldn’t leave eight blocks from where he was living and he hated elevators,” Peterson said.
 Daisy is brand new, plus it also has a multi-media component.
“ There are all sorts of visuals. We’ll have video in the background of the civil rights movement and other issues in the ’60s,” she said.
 She  would like to have a read through with the cast in October and begin rehearsals in November, likely take a break over Christmas and rehearse a lot  leading up to the show in February.
“ It’s a later show,” Peterson observed.

“And it’s well suited to the Sterndale Bennett Theatre because there are two sets opposite to each other of the studio and Tony’s study.
She noted they have “the A team”   already on board to create the set, sound and multi-media components.

“ It is really ambitious,” she said.
Auditions are at 7 p.m. in the casa community room, Wednesday, Sept. 18.
Tickets for “Exit Laughing” went on sale at casa this week as well.
Tickets are $58 including dinner and the performance,  Oct. 22 - 26, 2019 at 6 p.m . at Country Kitchen Catering.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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