It’s a Monday night and Jordan Thrane, a senior at Castleton University, is getting ready for auditions. She looks around and sees nine other boys auditioning for the role she wants; Christopher, a 15-year-old boy.
Little did she know that later that night, Harry McEnerny, the director, would cast her as the male lead of the show “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.”
She was psyched.
“Super great. I’ve never had this big of a role, but I’m very excited to take it on,” she said when asked how she reacted to seeing the cast list.
This is the first time since 2015 that they have cast the opposite sex in a lead role, but McEnerny said he believes heavily in the idea.
“Times change…The culture surrounding (the play) is going to shift and change. That has happened with gender identity and that has happened with sexual orientations. You should pay attention to that stuff and then it’s not that big of a deal if you deal with people as people first, and then you look at what people bring to the situation, or a play, or an argument or whatever,” he said. “You look at them as people, not a boy-person or a girl-person. So, I am more open to open casting because society is more open to it.”
In 2015, McEnerny chose to make Romeo in “Romeo and Juliette” a woman played by a woman. This is similar to what Thrane is doing, but Christopher is staying a boy.
Thrane has been auditioning for male roles since being here at Castleton and this is her first time stepping into what is considered a “lead” role.
“I always heard about it (the Romeo and Juliette casting) and I thought it was so cool, but then I’ve been waiting every year for something like that so I’m glad that we finally got to it,” said Thrane with excitement.
The job as an actor doesn’t change just because the sex of your character has changed. Thrane will still have to embody Christopher in a certain way.
“We (the designers) just have to be interested in costuming more than anything. Everything else applies. Jordan figuring out who this character is, coming up with the best ways for this character to move, think, behave, deal with other people. Just like any other actor in this play has to do that same thing. It’s bigger than she’s done in the past but same rules,” McEnerny explains.
McEnerny still believes that Thrane will have to physically embody a male, but that will come with her choices that she makes as an actor.
“She’s a female but the character is male…I’m not at all concerned about it,” McEnerny said.
Thrane has been cast in male ensembles since she has attended Castleton, but never in a lead role. She’s never auditioned to be in the female ensembles because she feels more comfortable in a male character.
“Do what you’re comfortable with and be open about what you’re comfortable with because that’s what people will listen to and that’ll make you enjoy your time more,” said Thrane with a comforting smile.
First-year student and theatre major Josie Gawrys, explained how Castleton is different than her high school and why she appreciates it.
“Casting was like very rigid and shows were always type-casted…so I thought that was really cool that she got cast as Christopher,” Gawrys said.
Thrane said she’s very excited and honored to be playing Christopher this Nov.7-10.
Christopher is still Christopher even if brought to life by a female actor.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s what we need,” Thrane said.