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by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Forest Moon Theater Company has found a director for its new play.
Cora Hemphill of Wake Forest was chosen to direct Harvey, a comedy showing locally in October, for the community theater.
Auditions are at the end of this month and Hemphill is keen on casting a dozen people from a broad age range who have one thing in common — desire and dedication for the theater.
“I love helping people really interested in loving to learn,” said Hemphill. “If there’s that willingness to work and learn, I think we can definitely put together a good cast.”
Hemphill, 29, has been acting on and off since she graduated from Wake Forest-Rolesville High School. In June 2012, she took on a larger role, organizing the Neck of the Woods performance series in Wake Forest.
“Neck of the Woods gives artists an opportunity to do something totally on their own. It helps build performing arts from the roots up,” she said.
In December, Hemphill directed and acted in a one-scene play for Neck of the Woods called Captive Audience — a comic piece with serious undertones about television’s effect on humanity. That scene is what prompted Hemphill to apply for the position as director for Harvey.
Other experience includes a directing course at Greensboro College, where she also acted. She was involved in a traveling children’s theater troupe called Kaleidoscope and has taught at Destiny Dance Institute in Wake Forest.
“Though I’m such a performer at heart I found directing to be just as creatively energizing as performing,” Hemphill said. “I’m really excited to try on this role as a full-fledged director. I’m really excited to pick my little family for the next few months.”
The biggest challenge for the stay-at-home mom will be helping the 12-person cast develop their characters, while planning the play. She’ll spend the next few months researching the 1940s period Harvey is set in and familiarizing herself with the script, tweaking it after auditions.
“Acting can be summed up in talking, listening and having a playful spirit. I will be looking for people who have these qualities,” she said. “I like the script a lot. It’s not joke telling. The characters are, in a way, relatable people put in ridiculous or crazy situations.”
Rehearsal will begin at the end of July. Forest Moon co-founder Bob Baird, who acted in the theater company’s first production, Academia Nuts, is in charge of set design this time around. Co-founder Cathy Gouge, who directed Academia Nuts, is stage manager. They’ll need volunteers to help with production elements in the coming months.
As play time nears, Hemphill, too, will need help — in producing Neck of the Woods, bringing together singers, actors, poets and the like. She’s already secured one avenue of help from her husband, Josh, who, along with her parents, will be taking care of their two children under age 4 during the run-up to Harvey.
“It’s a sacrifice for my family. My husband’s really supportive,” she said. “I am very excited to be working with people from my community in this creative endeavor.”
Audition for Harvey
Are you a polished or budding actor? Forest Moon Theater will be casting its fall comedy, Harvey, in two weeks, a story of a man and his imaginary friend.
Audition dates: Thursday, June 27, 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 29, 3 p.m. Registration begins 30 minutes before auditions.
Location: Wake Forest Coffee Company, 156 S. White St., upstairs event room
Needed: 6 males, 6 females
No preparation necessary. Audition forms and other paperwork required. See forestmoontheater.org.