Betsie Freeman / Omaha World Herald
The last time Eric and Corie Grant-Leanna were in a play together, she was in fifth grade and he was a high school freshman.
Now the siblings are adults — Eric is 31 and Corie is 28. He’s a chemist and she’s a construction engineer. And for the second time, they’re appearing on the same stage.
In the season premiere at SNAP Productions, they’re even playing a brother and sister.
The subject matter of the play, Cody Daigle-Orians’ “In the Bones,” is far more serious than their first outing. The play deals with a gay man who comes home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, struggles with depression and commits suicide — and the partner and family he leaves behind.
As kids, the siblings were in a musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” that tells a story from the Bible. Corie was in the chorus, and Eric was one of Joseph’s brothers.
Both are thrilled to be working side by side again — this time exchanging dialogue — even though it’s a heavy play. Eric said he and Corie had encountered experiences similar to those faced by the play’s characters with members of their real-life family.
“We really understand the importance of the issues, so I’m excited to illuminate the issues (of suicide and depression) for people,” he said.
That requires the duo to separate and compartmentalize their acting lives and their personal lives, Corie said, but they’re used to that: “Doing theater, you have to be able to turn it off on a dime.”
Because of their family ties, both also said they feel perfectly natural portraying siblings for an audience.
“Our scenes where we have arguments are so easy to do,” Eric joked.
In an interview with The World-Herald, Daigle-Orians said he hopes the play provokes thought and conversation about the effects of suicide on surviving family and friends.
Eric thinks it will: Daigle-Orians, he said, has created scenes and dialogue that present the issues in a realistic way, not romanticized or overly dramatic.
The sibs said they both would love to have another chance to act together. They give each other positive reviews.
“I’m blown away by how talented she is,” Eric said, and “she’s really awesome to work with.”
Corie said her brother’s example was one of the things that led her to acting.
“I looked up to him so much. It’s exciting to be with him onstage.”