At one point in her introduction to her future husband, Cheryl Skafte wrapped her arms around his knees and tried to physically lift him off the ground.
It was an audition for a play; Skafte was trying to convey playfulness.
She jumped on his back. She almost tripped him. Afterward, Skafte sent Luke Moravec an email: “That was the most fun audition I’ve ever had,” she recalled writing. “We should hang out.”
Less than three years later, the Duluth theater regulars — who ended up playing siblings in “The Three Musketeers” — were married.
Skafte and Moravec are one of two married couples starring in the production of “One Man, Two Guvnors” that opened on Thursday, September 18 at the Duluth Playhouse. Jason and Louisa Scorich (formally Guggisberg) also are cast in the who’s-who-switcheroo Italian comedy from the 1700s that was given an English makeover.
The play is set in Brighton in the 1960s. Francis Henshall (played by Jody Kujawa) is hired, unknowingly, by two criminals: There is a small-time Roscoe — who is actually Roscoe’s sister Rachel (Skafte) in disguise — and Rachel’s big-time boyfriend Stanley Stubbers (Jason Scorich), who had Roscoe killed. Meanwhile, Pauline (Louisa Scorich) is supposed to marry Roscoe but plans to elope with Alan Dangle (Moravec).
Moravec and Skafte
The Moravec-Skafte twosome has been in three shows together, starting with the Playhouse’s production of “The Three Musketeers” in 2009. They were dating during a production of “Hamlet” and engaged during “Amadeus.”
Before the fateful audition, Moravec and Skafte briefly met once after she performed in a Colder by the Lake production of “The Jack Chick Plays.”
“There was something in the air,” he said. “We’d just met, but there was still a good vibe there.”
The couple married in a small ceremony at St. Micheal’s Catholic Church in July 2012 and had a reception on the trains at the Depot. They enjoy hosting friends for game night, cookie decorating and cereal parties.
Skafte and Moravec are opposite in a lot of ways, Skafte said. He reads, she watches TV. “He’s a clean person, I’m a messy person; he’s a good driver, I’m not a good driver; he doesn’t drink, I like to drink margaritas; he doesn’t swear, I like to drop an eff-bomb,” she said.
But, as artists, they have a common core.
“For me, doing community theater is a big part of how I spend my free time,” Skafte said. “Finding someone who participates in the arts of creating is important to me.”
Moravec said Skafte’s approach to the stage is similar to her approach to life.
“Her being a good actor translates to her being a passionate person about what she does in life,” Moravec said of Skafte,” I couldn’t be with someone who isn’t passionate and trying their best to have an impact on the people around them and their community. It’s Cheryl’s need to change something, her need ot put something out there — something out there of a high quality — that appeals to me.”
Before they were Mr. and Mrs. Scorish, they were the romantic leads in Hibbing Community College’s 2007 production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Louisa didn’t want to do the stage kisses until the last minute, Jason Scorich recalled. Then, before the first show, she got a cold sore and he had an allergic reaction to the makeup and suffered a breakout.
“We bonded over that as much as anything,” he said. “We were wounded warriors singing a Disney song.”
Still, the relationship didn’t extend off-stage for more than a year.
“I thought he was so talented, he’d never be interested in dating me,” Louisa Scorish said. “He’s very professional, he had great ideas, he commits 110 percent.”
Meanwhile, the first time Jason Scorich heard her sing: “I thought, ‘Why can’t I be with someone like that'” he said. “I had that specific thought about her.”
The couple married at Sacred Heart in May and had a reception on Park Point.
None of the actors went into the world’s dating pool looking to share life with another actor.
In fact: “I probably would have shied away from dating most actors,” Jason Scorich said.
But there is an advantage to the actor-actor relationships, they all agreed. “There are a lot of technical elements and lingo,” Luke Moravec said. “When you’re talking to somebody about this, you want somebody who is right there and has walked the same path, it’s fun to bounce ideas off them.”
The decision to do a show together has its good and bad sides.
“We’ve had shows we’ve been in together where it’s gone very, very well and we’ve had shows where we’ve experienced hiccups and it hasn’t been so fun,” Moravec said. “But it’s easy to get on the same schedule. I know I’m going to see her at 6 pm. I know where she’ll be and I’ll have a ride home afterward.”
“Being on stage together takes an extra effort to separate the relationship of husband and wife from cast mate. We’ve learned to walk through the theater doors and put on our theater hats on and separate that from the marriage. It’s taken a bit to find that separation. I think we’re there.”
None of the players is paired with their real-life partner in “One Man, Two Guvnors,” which might be the best scenario, Jason Scorich said.
“You’re spending time together, you’re sharing the experience, but you aren’t tied to each other,” he said. “You don’t use up all of your romantic energy on the stage with each other.”
Go See It
WHAT: Duluth Playhouse’s production of “One Man, Two Guvnors”
WHEN: Runs through this weekend (September 25-28), and shows are quickly filling up! Shows Thursday-Saturday are at 7:30pm, and the Sunday matinee is at 2:00pm.
WHERE: Duluth Playhouse, 506 West Michigan Street (See a map.)
TICKETS: $25 adults, $15 students | Call (218) 733-7555 or go online at duluthplayhouse.org
This article first appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on September 18, 2014 and was written by Christa Lawler.