Jaan follows a desperate scientist starved for success and drowning in criticism, discovers what might be the biggest evolutionary breakthrough of human history. A living mermaid found in Canada’s Lake Minnewanka. Or perhaps … it’s all a sadistic hoax for success driven by the obsession to have a lover that is perfect in every way, shape, and form.
JAAN: The mermaid. She is a tall slender woman with a ballerina build. She should be bald or have the appearance of bald with a tuft of hair on the soft spot of her head. She is never seen, other than as a silhouette. It is an integral part of the play that her real body is never seen by the audience, and is especially never seen from the waist down. Her hands are partially/crudely webbed.
DR. ANWIR: An ichthyologist (the study of fish). Could be played by a male or female actor. Widely discredited in his field for many of his/her published research falls under cryptozoology. The character can be cast as any ethnicity except South Asian.
REPORTER: a recent graduate newly entering the professional working world working for The Crag and Canyon newspaper in Banff.
DR. GAGNE: Geneticist (the study of genes) either male or female actor, well accomplished in their field. Apart of the Board of the Royal Society of Canada.
DR. YUEN: Paleoanthropologist (the study of human evolution) either male or female actor. Largely skeptical of Anwir’s work. Well accomplished in his/her field. Apart of the Board of the Royal Society of Canada. East Asian descent.
DR. NADAR: Either male or female actor. Apart of the Board of the Royal Society of Canada. Representing on behalf of oceanic discovery. South Asian descent.
DR. IVANOV: Either male or female actor. Apart of the Board of the Royal Society of Canada. Representing behalf of human physiology.
Scorpio Theatre, October 2017
Jaan is available through the Canadian Play Outlet.
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The gender of the casting is completely up to the director and how they envision the relationship dynamic to exist between the characters, the only gender that must remain female is Jaan and the reporter must remain male.
All jury characters are on stage for the entirety of the play. During the past tense scenes, only Dr. Ivanov is engaged and watching the past tense scenes. He/she will never react to what they are seeing but it should be visually clear, he/she is the only jury member seeing the scene. Ivanov’s presence in the past is that of a bystander. A gateway from the audience perspective, the act of actively choosing to do nothing, and their lack of caring should be concerning.
In the first production, the reporter doubled on stage as the note-taker during Anwir’s presentation. The character of Jaan and Ivanov were played by two women that switched out on alternating performances to ease the physical demand of performing in a tub. I mention these not as requirements, but as suggestions to aide in the directorial vision.