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The Company

September 07, 1986

Cliff Campbell, playwright, 29, Chicago. Works at an ad agency by day, writes plays at night. Tall, lean, intense. This is his fifth play. In his wallet he carries a photo of his wife Claire in the first grade.

Mark Medoff: director, 46, artistic director of theater arts department of New Mexico State University. Has written 12 plays, including the Tony-winning "Children of a Lesser God" and "The Hands of Its Enemy." Movie-star handsome. Jogs to campus almost every day, usually conducts rehearsals in his running clothes. Most of his plays were created in workshops like this one.

Susie Duff, playing Tommie, 23, attractive, vital. Drives all three men in the play crazy with longing. Duff, 32, is a confident, aggressive, uninhibited actress. Four months pregnant, usually wears sweat pants, rarely wears makeup. Had sent Medoff a fan letter, photo and resume--along with those of her actor-husband Larry Sellers "so he'd know I wasn't a groupie"--after seeing his play "The Hands of Its Enemy." Hired on an Actors Equity "guest artist contract," she is the play's only paid performer.

Bill Bower, playing Harmon, the smooth-talking owner of a small printing business. Acting since he was 7 but says he's "never played a sleaze before." He's a tennis pro at UCLA and was walking by Macgowan Hall, heard people practicing lines and auditioned in his tennis clothes. Bower, 38, and director Mark Medoff play tennis most mornings.

Mark Ringer, playing Ed, restaurant owner who employs Tommie. Ringer, 26, is stocky, slightly awkward. Received MFA in acting last year at UCLA. This is his 32nd show at UCLA, where he also directed and acted in his own translation of Euripides' "The Bacchae." He manages a Tower Records classical music department.

Suzanne Kato: playing Lin, waitress and Ed's former girlfriend. Kato, 30, is a theater-arts grad student. Has little acting experience. Always helping someone carry or move something. Hardly ever speaks.

Janet Wallis, playing Adrian, waitress. Raised in Kenya, Wallis, 26, teaches theater arts at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Bethesda, Md. A director herself, she's familiar with the workshop process and extremely articulate. Drawn to UCLA's summer program in part because of the climate, she gets more and more tan as the play evolves.

Steve Decker, playing Paul, an employee at Harmon's printing shop, rival for Tommie and later for Harmon's customers. Handsome, youthful-looking (Decker's 25), professional actor and aspiring playwright. One day Decker brought in a book for Medoff to autograph, another day his own play for Medoff to read.

Sharon Muncie, stage manager. UCLA theater-arts student, baby-faced Muncie, 21, is frequently asked to confirm playwright Campbell's instincts about how 23-year-old women think. Calls stage managing, which includes everything from retyping scripts to coordinating props, "sort of a mom-type position."

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