Hopefuls vie to be the next ‘Survivor’

Last updated: October 24. 2013 11:33PM - 2932 Views
SARA POKORNY spokorny@theweekender.com

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PLAINS TWP. — What does it take to survive in remote locations in the likes of Malaysia, Africa or Thailand? Is it a vest made of nearly 2,000 dimes? A hat fashioned out of coconut? Or, perhaps, an inflatable sumo wrestler suit? If so, there are going to be plenty of happy people that attended the “Survivor” casting call Thursday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

From 10 a.m. until the line ended, approximately 500 castaway hopefuls for the popular CBS reality show were escorted from the Sky Bridge to the Seasons Ballroom, where they were allotted two minutes to tell why they were best-suited to be on “Survivor” to a video recorder.

For some, there was no complex strategy, just a reliance on what they were naturally good at.

“I can certainly ‘outwit, outlast and outplay’ everyone else,” said Joseph Parrick, 45, of Duryea, referencing the show’s tag line, which was on the design of the “Survivor” bandana that adorned his head. “I’m a poker player. I’m a good bluffer and I’m good at reading people, and picking up on tells.”

Kevin Crawford, who was also donning a similar bandana and sitting next to Parrick, had hands-on experience to back up him up.

“My family’s staged a ‘Survivor’ challenge the past couple of years,” the 18-year-old from Dalton said, “so I’ve actually played eight times.”

World travelers were also amped to get their shot.

“I have only Antarctica and Australia left as far as continents to visit,” said 24-year-old Molly Murphy, who flew in from Wisconsin for the casting call. She was fresh off a journey in South America, where she purchased the coconut hat from Máncora, Peru, she was wearing.

“I can hold a bucket full of water over my head for like six and a half hours,” Murphy said of the skills that put her a step ahead of others auditioning. “It’s just something I’ve been practicing so I can say I can do it.”

There were more telling shticks among others in line.

Louise Pardini, 51, of Pittston, was very quick to inflate her sumo wrestler costume without even being asked. The die-hard fan, who has watched all 26 installments of “Survivor” (two a year) and has being a cast member on her list of things to do before she dies, said “This time I’m going to lose weight” and be ready for the show.

“I can’t walk around naked like they do, because then nobody would watch the show; there’d always be a full moon,” she said.

Peter Weiss was also making a fashion statement, but in such a way that showed off how crafty and resourceful the 66-year-old New York City resident could be.

He wore a 12 1/2-pound vest that upon first glance resembled chain mail but was actually 1,680 dimes with four holes in each, linked together by ringlets. He also had a bronze Steampunk-style watch and a belt buckle that resembled a nose with a piercing – all made by him.

Weiss auditioned for “Survivor” when it first began and decided to give it one more try. It’s not for lack of things to do, though, as the man who also designs characters for publications is not retired – and probably never will be.

“Retirement is the closest thing to death,” he said. “There’s too much fun to be had.”

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