By Karen Lunde
Comedian Drew Carey once said, “Oh, you hate your job? … There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet regularly at the bar.”
Not everyone in Daphne’s Dive, a play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudés, hates his or her job; but everyone has a story, and those stories are what’ll bring the characters, denizens of a Philadelphia bar, vividly to life when the play arrives at Olympia Little Theatre in early June. It calls for a multicultural, largely Latinx cast.
“Obviously, diverse casting was a challenge in an area with a relatively small Latinx population,” said director Toni Holm. “This is compounded with Olympia Little Theatre being all-volunteer, which does limit the number of actors who could travel for a role.”
Holm recruited in neighboring counties and to non-theatrical groups in an attempt to round out the cast.
The casting difficulty, according to Holm, wasn’t a reason to avoid taking on Daphne’s Dive. “If we say we can’t do plays that have a diverse cast because we don’t have enough easy access to an ethnically diverse pool of actors, we all lose some great theater. Instead, if we do more plays with diverse roles, there might be more diverse actors interested in doing theater in our area and more people interested in acting if there are roles available for them.”
Holm says Hudés’s beautiful writing drew her to the play.
“Often,” Holm says, “when reading a new play for the first time, you have to re-check who is saying what line, and to really know the characters sometimes you need to see [the play] on its feet. Even at first read, with Daphne’s Dive you know which character was speaking because Hudés’s dialog defines them so well. She has created some very well-drawn, real people in this play and some great roles for actors.”
Holm says Daphne’s Dive is entertaining, fun, sad and warm. “It’s essentially about family: the family we’re born with, the family we choose and the family that we love, and who love and support us no matter what. Plus,” she adds, “you get to spend the evening in a great bar — with no hangover!”
There will be a special benefit performance for Puerto Rico at 7:55 p.m. Thursday, June 13.
7:25 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays;
1:55 p.m. Sundays, June 7-23
Olympia Little Theatre,
1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia