MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Todd Caster, 61
With the world premiere of his play about to debut, Todd Caster is nervous and elated. Just as he expected.
“When you spend time with a script in your head, it only becomes truly realized when it’s up on the stage, with your dialogue coming out of the actors’ mouths and with your story being told,” Caster said.
The West Palm Beach actor/playwright had more fun writing “Surfing the Rubicon” than all of his other plays combined, he said. It took about a month to think through the story and write the outline. But, when the writing came, “it practically wrote itself.”
The reason? He was so familiar with the characters and knew where the play was going. That’s not always the case.
“Sometimes (not often) I wing it and let the story unfold without any clear direction or end in sight,” said Caster, 61. “For me, having an outline works best. All of the research and hard work is up front, but it still allows me room to explore the story while writing the script.”
“Surfing the Rubicon,” presented by the Playgroup and set for six shows, runs Nov. 11 through Nov. 20 at the Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton.
Caster joined with Brian Reeves and Joyce Sweeney of the Playgroup since its inception, and has written and performed in many of its productions.
“Surfing the Rubicon” is about a married couple who are planning a dinner party for a wealthy client. The evening is interrupted by an unwelcome guest. The play, directed by Reeves of Wellington, is a farce, full of surprise twists and turns.
Caster’s life has been full of change in direction. He’s originally from Minnesota, but has spent an equal amount of time in New York and Florida, where he moved to in 1998. He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have four children (Seth, Sara, Casey and Siobhan).
Caster co-founded the Palm Beach PlayMakers in Delray Beach with Playwright Lisa Bruna in 2012, and they have produced 30 original short plays since then. Their productions are titled BOXer SHORTS, as they use multi-sized boxes to create sets.
He also just acted in a production of “Invasion of Privacy,” a Pigs Do Fly production at The Abyss Stage in Wilton Mansor. The play was well-received and recommended for a Carbonell Award.
“I like writing and acting equally,” Caster said. “I think that acting helps my writing. It helps me better understand the confines of the stage and embrace those limits. It’s not like a movie, where you can go anywhere and do anything. A stage play is unique and usually focuses on a specific moment in time at a specific location.”
“Surfing the Rubicon,” rated PG-13. Friday and Saturday shows are 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets: $25, groups of 4 or more are $15 each. Visit www.theplaygroupllc.com or call 561-347-3948.
Who is your hero?
My hero would be anyone who behaves selflessly. It can be as simple as a person being kind for kindness’ sake and doing it without thoughts of reward and without an agenda. My mother, Lorraine Caster, is like that, so she’s my hero.
What is your favorite movie?
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
What are your hobbies?
Writing and acting. I usually spend an hour a day with my writing. When I’m acting, I’m totally absorbed in my character for the duration of the rehearsals and the production.
What do you do to get away?
My wife and I like to travel. We are also into photography, so travel is a perfect fit. It’s so inspiring, seeing new landscapes and being exposed to different cultures. We’ve explored a lot of the United States. This summer we went outside our comfort zone and took a river cruise on the Rhine River from Switzerland to Amsterdam. Experiences like that fuel my creative spirit and make me want to write.