By Holly Glen Gearhart
Too many women. That’s the reason Dramatists Play Service, Inc. shut down the Sky Performing Arts’ production of Ira Levin’s play, “Deathtrap,” scheduled to run Oct. 19 through Nov. 4. Negotiations to present the play fell off because not enough men auditioned for the play.
Alexandra Clark, the director for “Deathtrap,” explained that the casting issue is not a new problem for community theaters.
“People in the community have other jobs to perform, and have little time to dedicate to theater,” she said in a telephone interview last week. Clark also said that, “Community theater has an [abundance] of women and a woeful lack of men to fulfill gender-specific roles.” This was the issue with Sky Performing Arts’ production of “Deathtrap.”
As the play is written, two men plot to kill the wife of one of them. But Clark didn’t have enough men try out for the play, so she cast two women and one man, thereby reversing the genders of the actors in the play.
Reversing the gender of the characters in a copyrighted work is sometimes allowed but not with this particular play. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. is responsible for distributing works for the stage, collecting royalties and ensuring the integrity of the original piece. Ira Levin, the author of “Deathtrap,” will not allow changing genders, so the play was cancelled.
Ticket refunds are underway and the theatrical season will go on as scheduled. Sky Performing Arts has turned their attention to the upcoming USO show “In the Mood,” which premieres Nov. 30 at their new home in the Frank Wagner Auditorium. Check their website for more information: www.skyperformingarts.com