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Men on Boats

Character Break down

A note on casting from Jaclyn Backhaus: “The characters in Men on Boats were historically cisgender white males. The cast should be made up of people who are not. I'm talking about racially diverse actors who are female-identifying, trans-identifying, genderfluid, and/or non-gender conforming.”

John Wesley POWELL – one-armed leader of the expedition. John Wesley Powell is our leader – a one-armed crazy face with a fiery temper and an excitable soul. He will throw himself and others into danger. Powell hates suits and loves adventures. He has a strong sense of duty.

William DUNN – hunter and trapper. William Dunn is a hunter with long black hair. Dunn wears beaverskin always. Dunn thinks highly of himself. He is stubborn and believes completely in his own expertise.

John Colton SUMNER – former soldier, current explorer. Sumner is widely known to be the Bear Grylls of the 1860s. Sumner will just go snowshoeing through the Rocky Mountains in winter because “no one had done it yet.” Does not like snakes.

OLD SHADY – Powell's older brother, Civil War vet. Old Shady is the oldest crew member on the mission and does not like people. Old Shady is taciturn, but a bit goofy. He makes up songs that he sings mostly to himself.

BRADLEY – lieutenant, manic with youth, adventurous and brave. Bradley is 19 and genuinely likes people. Willing to take risks to help those around him.

O.G. Howland – printer and hunter, tobacco addled. Does not have any good friends outside of his brother. Perhaps more savvy than he first appears.

SENECA Howland – O.G.'s quiet little brother, but quick to come to O.G.'s defense in any circumstance. Haunted.

Frank GOODMAN – British, so excited. Goodman is a red-faced British man. Goodman is on the expedition for fun. Excitable but easily flustered.

HALL – mapmaker, old soul. He has a clear sense of how the universe is supposed to work.

HAWKINS – the cook, a bit of a partyer, but takes his work very seriously.

TSUAWIAT – a Ute chief (Doubles with O.G. Howland). Composure and wry awareness contrasts sharply with the explorers' bumbling and stumbling. Over it.

THE BISHOP – Tsauwiat's wife (Doubles with Seneca Howland). Composure and wry awareness contrasts sharply with the explorers' bumbling and stumbling. World-weary.

MR. ASA – a dessert settler (Doubles with Frank Goodman). Mr. Asa seems, strangely, somehow, an Angel of Comfort. Unsettling.