It’s important to cast talent that understands the profundity of the mental health message and can underplay what is obvious about this ‘elephant in the room’ scenario. They also need innate comedic timing to make sure the point isn’t overshadowed by entertainment. I’d suggest comic improvisers who are open and comfortable with being honest and exposed. The subtlety of the men’s reactions needs to be played with warmth. They must possess the ability to observe each other, while ignoring the real elephant on all levels. The humor will come organically from their responses to each other. The fact there truly is an immense, wild animal in the middle of this very vulnerable moment will bring the tension.
The lead performances need to be understated yet charming and full of character. As a director who loves the process of working with actors, I’ll cast people that can connect both with the audience and to each other. This will require soulful performers who aren’t worried about being funny. Something as subtle as the raising of an eyebrow, an effortless glance, or a slight smirk can say it all. The realistic quality of the performances conveys the meaningful directive of the script. The elephant doesn’t have to worry about being funny, of course. He’ll do whatever I tell him.