Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Auditioning is the worst thing in the world for an actor. You work for days (more like hours or minutes in this world of unpaid non-profit theatre), get up on an unfamiliar stage in a room that you have no idea about the acoustics of, in front of a director that you have no idea what they're looking for, act your ass of for the three minutes you're given, and then all the feedback you get is a "thank you."

Well it sucks for directors, too, as we look at the audition work of actors we're familiar AND unfamiliar with, as well as trying to figure out not just who's the best actor at a set of auditions, but who will look the best next to each other and who will make a good stage picture, who you can age/de-age with makeup, who's got feet too big to ever find shoes for, etc. etc. etc.

So after spending three nights watching actors work and playing with them in auditions and callbacks to see who takes direction and who really, really wants the part, I'm almost done casting Hamlet. It was certainly easier this time around than it was seven years ago when I first directed the play, but there will be the inevitable conflicts with rehearsals, and my first choice for one role has already had to decline because of a conflict with performance, so now we're in the nuts and bolts of trying to schedule things, which is ever so much fun.

One thing that I'm going to try to do with this production is to film it. Not the show, but the process of getting there. I'm one of the few people that found Madonna's Truth of Dare movie intriguing not becuse Madonna flashed her tits (because really, who hasn't seen Madonna's tits a dozen times?) but because of the unfettered access involved in the film. Yeah, I know, a lot of that unfettered access was really, really fettered, but I think it would be neat to shoot the rehearsal process of a play and make a documentary of it as the thing progresses from all its disparate parts into (hopefully) a cohesive piece of theatre. It's always been true that what goes on in the process of getting a play on stage has far more drama than ever appears once the curtain rises, so I'm going to endeavor to share that with folks.

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